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2010 RPG Geek 24 Hour RPGs» Forums » General

Subject: Feedback thread rss

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Use this thread to pass any comments (both compliments and complaints are welcome) on how this contest went. I'll start some polls later in the week based on my own thoughts and any relevant posts here.

....


Personally, I was delighted by the high level of interest (I'd expected around a dozen entries) and the fantastic quality of the work (I love the amount of innovation that was shown in the submissions).

In running it, I had a few bottlenecks (submitting the data being the most obvious, not helped by being unexpectedly bereft of an internet connection). Having done this once, I can already see how to be more efficient next time (and there will definitely be a next time, I'm sure). Primarily, I would add the submissions to the database much earlier and just leave them sitting in the pending queues.

Some of the details need tidying up a little. For example, I never specified that entries had to be in English (although they all were). And there were some contentious issues (mainly around the voting) which I'll put to a public poll to gain a consensus. During the competition, the timescales didn't really allow time for consultation so I just made my own decisions (not perfect, but it at least got things going).

All in all, I think it was a marvellous success, and I am truly grateful to all of the participants for their wonderful work. Thank you!
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Michal E. Cross
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Thanks to you, Stelio, for setting this up!

I've now got a game that I'd like to playtest.
(Oh, and if anyone has any comments on And Other Stories... I would love to hear them. Oh, and be brutal - that's the best way for me to learn!)

Cheers!
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Dokter Ekwilibreum
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I really loved the contest. And I confess, I'm glad the entries were all in English. I would hate to have passed on a really good game because it wasn't in a language I spoke. Still, is requiring English unfair toward non-native speakers? A little. But considering the bulk of the site's content is in English, it's the language that would enable the most participation, so...

Off the top of my head I can't think of any major things that need changing, but if any come to mind, I'll let you know.
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The Harnish
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Unfortunately I'm getting ready to leave for our annual grade 9 trip to Switzerland so my responses and participation may be somewhat limited from about Saturday onward. However, I would very much like feedback on Retrospect. Specifically:
1) What did you like?
2) What didn't you like?
3) Did you have any chance to try it out?
4) Do the mechanics, as explained, make sense? Irregardless of whether you like them or not, I'd like to know if I explained them in a way that you could understand them.
5) What could I do to make the game better or to make the actual presentation (aside from more proofreading and better layout) better?

Please don't mistake any lack of response as disinterest - as I mentioned, I'll have very limited access to the internet from Sunday through the following Friday.

As for the other games, I am planning on providing feedback to anyone who'd like it, so please indicate if you want to hear my thoughts.

Also, once we get through the feedback phase, I'd like to have a discussion with the authors (and others) about how you went about designing your game, why you made the choices you made, etc. I don't really want to start on that though here since it may make it impossible for people to follow what's going on - I'd rather talk about that once I hear what people liked or didn't like about my game so I know what to focus on in explaining why I did what I did, and why I think it would work at the table.
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Erich Vereen
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It was a great contest, to be sure. For a first time here on RPGG, I think it was a rousing success, as the number of entries was astounding. It was also great to see the amount of variation in the RPGs created, as well as the number of similar ideas used without consultation.

I would like to recommend that next time we try to keep everyone in the same genre somehow. The variety of the entries did seem to make it harder to judge one RPG with another, simply because there was not commonality between them (other than the fact that they were all created within a 24 hour time period). Perhaps we might restrict (and I hate using that word for this) the creation to the fantasy or sci-fi genre, maybe superheroes or something similar. It would give us all a base to work from and might give us one less thing to have to compare when voting.

Just an idea to chew on though ^_^.

Very well done though. Thanks Stelio and Shanya for getting the idea up and running ^_^
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Michal E. Cross
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belirahc wrote:
Perhaps we might restrict (and I hate using that word for this) the creation to the fantasy or sci-fi genre, maybe superheroes or something similar. It would give us all a base to work from and might give us one less thing to have to compare when voting.
How about 'limit'?

I like this idea though.

Cheers!
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Ryan Shellito
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I felt the contest was quite well run. I will definitely attempt to participate in any future 24 hr rpg events.

Part of me likes the idea of perhaps applying a genre limit because it might provide a bit of direction, but another part of me really doesn't like the idea of any limits at all.


------Beguine quote -----

Also, once we get through the feedback phase, I'd like to have a discussion with the authors (and others) about how you went about designing your game, why you made the choices you made, etc. I don't really want to start on that though here since it may make it impossible for people to follow what's going on - I'd rather talk about that once I hear what people liked or didn't like about my game so I know what to focus on in explaining why I did what I did, and why I think it would work at the table.

------ End Quote --------

This would definitely be interesting. I would love to hear why people did what they did in their games.
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Anders Gabrielsson
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Edited to add the relevant part: Considering the time limits and Internet-related problems I'm very impressed with how smoothly everything worked. Big kudos to Stelio!

Like the other posters, I'm also impressed with the variety and, considering the time limit, very high quality of the entries.

Regarding limits on themes etc in future contests, I hope there will be a mix: some contests with restrictions, some without. I very much enjoyed the variety of ideas in this contest.

I will try to write short reviews of all the entries over the next few weeks, and I'd love to hear any comments on my own game. I already know things I want to change, but brutal feedback can only make it better.
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Jan
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Stelio wrote:
For example, I never specified that entries had to be in English (although they all were).
If we had put it in on another language I don't think there would have been a lot of votes on it anyway. No let's rotate the languages, next year all in Dutch, the next in German, Chinese, Russian, ...
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Erich Vereen
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A consideration I would like looked at is how often these things would happen. At current view, it looks like a once a year thing. being atht it was a month of time given to create and submit a game, review and vote and then present the results, maybe we could have 2 a year, like a winter and summer 24 RPG contest? Or am I asking for too much headache for everyone here?
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Michal E. Cross
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Barad_the_dwarf wrote:
If we had put it in on another language I don't think there would have been a lot of votes on it anyway. No let's rotate the languages, next year all in Dutch, the next in German, Chinese, Russian, ...
Yay! I can enter next year too!

Cheers!
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From an outsider's perspective it seemed like the contest went really smoothly. The only thing I would have changed is make it easier for people to download all the games at once...going through thirty-two different pages to get them was sort of painful. Though maybe there was a better way and I just missed it.

As far as fixing a genre, I think that changes the goals of the contest a little bit (though not for the better or worse, just different). The free-form way this one went led me to vote mostly based on what game I would actually want to play. So some that seemed to have tight designs but didn't match my own biases got passed up. If you restrict the genre, that focuses the question more on innovations in design/setting, in my opinion, and less on personal genre bias. On the downside, you get less variety and (my guess) fewer entries.

You could also go the other way and specify some element of the design. Like: every game must involve a deck of cards, or be GM-less, or what-not. I think that's an equally good way to provide some continuities between entries.

Personally I'd favor two a year, with one free-form and one limited in some way.

And I hope to enter next time!
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Michal E. Cross
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We could have 2 per year: one free-form, and the other restricted?

Cheers!
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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I shared a little of my GG winnings with my favorite three games I voted for: Familiars, Monster Hunters' Club, and Naked in Space.

For your sakes I'm actually sorry I liked these games so much, because my taste is so different from the norm that it's like the kiss of death to a game. But now you know that at least one person thought they should be in the top three!
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Matthew Parmeter
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MJ Harnish wrote:

1) What did you like?
2) What didn't you like?
3) Did you have any chance to try it out?
4) Do the mechanics, as explained, make sense? Irregardless of whether you like them or not, I'd like to know if I explained them in a way that you could understand them.
5) What could I do to make the game better or to make the actual presentation (aside from more proofreading and better layout) better?
This should be the standard feedback on all of the games to start.

As for limiting the genre in future, I don't know that I'd partake at that point. For myself, part of why I chose what I did was to break out of the sorts of genres I've been playing all my life. To broaden my horizons and see if I could capture the essence of something outside my usual cultural experience. Saying that I'd have to stick to yet another fantasy or scifi would have...I dunno, dull. There is only so much variation in mechanics to be had. Had that been the original remit for this contest, I don't think we'd have the beautiful variety in results.
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Michal E. Cross
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I'd like to run or be a part of an adventure writing contest...

Cheers!
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Steffan O'Sullivan
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I would *almost* like to see contests split between "traditional" rpgs and "story" rpgs. I say almost, because not every game can be clearly put into one category or the other. But I found that if I arranged the games from "very traditional" to "middle of the road" to "very story-oriented", the ones I voted for were all traditional RPGs or at least middle of the road. I'm just not much into the story style of gaming, and my voting reflected that. It's not that they're bad games, they're just not to my taste.
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Shanya Almafeta
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I'd like the current format - 24 hours, all your own work, any RPG you want - to be the "regular", once a year contest.

I'd also like contests other than the "big event" where we can experiment with the format. Team play? Giving people one week to begin designs, or even one month to design? Contests that are themed around settings and genres (the horror contest, the superhero contest, the magical real-world contest) or mechanics (the universal contest, the d20 contest, the Fudge die contest, the d30 contest, the buckets of dice contest) are possible, as well as Iron Chef-like contests where you are given a list of "ingredients" to include in your game, in any way you see fit.

The STV algorithm works well enough, although I don't think enough people understood that while voting someone in last was still a vote for a game, not voting for a game was a vote against the game. I don't think it would have altered the voting very much, especially in the top 10, but that should be more explicit next time.

I'd rather not have a restriction on language, considering I was going back and forth about whether or not to write Monster Manuel in English... People should have the choice to enter in non-English languages, if they're willing to accept the consequence that most people won't be able to read it and thus won't be able to vote for it.

Also, next time, we should have a vote on how much of the rankings to reveal. #1 through #3 is a given, considering they're the prizes awarded (should we have more winners next time?); we should be able to vote for the top ten, top 50%, and a full ranking from top to bottom.

Speaking of more prizes... should we have "categories" to vote in? It might be easier to vote for the Most Original, Most Complete, Most Playable, Best Read, Best Organization, and *then* Best Overall. Perhaps with small prizes for each of the smaller categories.
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I'd like to see a tag team format, maybe pairing people in different time zones so you could go for the full 24 hours. So someone in one timezone writes for 12 hours, then passes the file to someone who is on a different timezone.

I think it would probably need a little effort to find teams, but it could be fun to try.
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Lowell Francis
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For a couple of years on a board I used to frequent we ran an "Iron GM" writing contest. It ws borrowed in part from something I'd read on Pyramid about an event they'd do at origins where they gave participants three GURPS sourcebooks and a set time period to put together an adventure based on those...and then run it. In any case, here's what we did on the board:

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Once again we will be doing the IRON GM competition. For those of you not familiar with it, contestants are given a set of words and use those to write up an rpg idea.

Anyone on the board can enter. Entries need to be submitted by XXX.

The basics are as follows:

This is open to people on the board, or other people generally invited. If you know someone who might be interested- tell me. y.

Each participant will get a set of five randomly chosen key-words like: Ronin, Tyranny, Fairies, China, Berserk, Revolutionary War, Mamlukes, Cyborg, Libraries, Golem, Low-Orbit, Vizers, Wrestling, Anchors, Lulliputian, Sewers, and so on. Everyone’s keywords will be different. If you hate your first set of keywords, you may ask for a second, but you must take the second set. There will be no duplication of keywords between participants. Keywords will be sent out individually.

Participants will then have until XXh to come up with a setting, campaign outline or adventure that incorporates at least three of those keywords as central or crucial elements. Entries should be between 2000 and 3000 words long. All entries will remain the intellectual property of their author, or optionally the author may chosen to place under something like the Creative Commons license. No stats or mechanics are necessary.

Entries will be submitted to me and I will then post them on the Board- this will keep the entries relatively anonymous. You should note the keywords you’ve used at the start of your entry. Voting will be open through the XXX with everyone able to vote for a first and second place entry. First place votes will get two points and second will get one point. Highest total points will win; in the event of a tie we can do a run off.

The winner of the contest will receive a $50 gift certificate to the online store of their choice (within reason).

If you'd like to participate, just send me a pm or e-mail and I will send you a list of words. Even if you only have a slight interest, go ahead and ask for a set of words in case it sparks your creative juices (or whatnot).
It was pretty successful both times-- I think on a board with a pretty small number of users we got like a half-dozen entries. We had rules for being able to take a mulligan on your words and get a second set. In any case, it was interesting to see what people came up with from the different combinations-- a contest with some limits, but still pretty open-eneded.
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Anders Gabrielsson
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I would definitely like having categories to vote for. As it was, I selected my criteria without thinking much about it, and afterwards felt I discarded some games that were written, designed and presented very well because they didn't fit with what I was looking for. Having multiple categories would make it possible to vote more games as being good at something, which I would like.
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Brian Leet
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I liked that it was just 24 hours and just a single author. Team design would be a great alternate event, but I'd love to see something close to this format at least annually.

I also appreciated that it was freeform, although I am swayed by two thoughts:
* Having some sort of thematic guideline would allow everyone to take it and explore in their own direction
* I did have trouble figuring out how to rate a 'story' versus 'traditional' game relative to each other. I think two self-selecting categories may not be a bad thing.

Related to this, my biggest problem with the contest is that I wanted to participate as a judge, but just couldn't get through all the entries. That left me with not voting, which was a disappointment.

One solution may be to rate the games in 'flights'. For example, of the 32 games you could have 4 groups of 8, randomly determined and in a shorter time frame people could read the eight and vote within that group, with the top half advancing. Repeat with the next two sets of 8, and do a final time for the top ranking. I figure this could be done in 9 days or so.

The advantage is that folks like me who knew getting to 32 would be a challenge could at least focus on 8 or 16 and vote only in those sets. By definition, the next set would have only 6 or 12 new games, again an easier task, and the final set might have 4 more to read. I'm not sure if this is perfect, but if the next contest gets 50 entries and allows longer time or teamwork (as I see suggested above) then I think a new method will be needed, because all that reading and review is time consuming.

My $0.02 for now. Maybe more thoughts when I've read the rest of the files.
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Anders Gabrielsson
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I would prefer not to have a division based on mechanics (like the "story" vs. "traditional" mentioned a couple of times above). IMO it creates an artificial demarkation line that will require arbitrary decisions on which group some games belong to and hamper creativity.

However, I think a similar effect could be achieved through voting categories. If the games are rated both as traditional RPG's and "story RPG's" (or whatever that category would be called; I'm not sure what the term is supposed to cover) then you won't need to rate them against each other on pure quality.
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Jaime Lawrence
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I think what I'd like to see is a different challenge every year (or 6 months - but no more frequent than that). We could have Iron RPG, Team RPG, Build-around-these-mechanics RPG, Scifi RPG etc.

Failing that, my overwhelming preference is to have it open and freeform. I can think of many genres that I wouldn't be interested in writing for.
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Joe Mucchiello
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How about an Iron Ref contest? Several websites run these kinds of contests. Iron Ref was the name used in Pyramid magazine. But I've seen this in several formats. The Pyramid version followed the TV show (Iron Chef from Japan not America) more closely since the writers were paid. Each participant had a genre: Iron Ref Horror, Iron Ref Fantasy, Iron Ref SciFi, etc. They were given 3 secret ingredients (a small girl crying, a red boot, sunset) and 3 days to create a systemless adventure in their genre featuring the secret ingredient in 900 words or less.

Other websites do it in single elimination format where you sign up to do the contest and are paired randomly with another writer. You are both given a few ingredients and the better entry goes on to the next round. Each pair of contestants get different ingredients.

I think the elimination format version is better for several reasons. It takes longer. It means judging only requires reading 2 entries so you can jump in and out of the judging.

OTOH, what I like about the other version is how it mirrors the cuisines of the Japanese Iron Chef. So I'd like it to be an annual contest that has qualifying events that runs most of the year. Here's my pitch:

Iron Ref Contest

From November to February, qualifying heats. Participants are randomly paired based on their cuisine of preference (Fantasy, Horror, Science, etc) and based on their availability. At a certain time, the two Refs are sent the secret ingredients via Geekmail. They have 72 hours from the time the Geekmail is sent to submit an adventure that incorporates the secret ingredients. After the 72 hours are up, the two entries are posted and voted on in the forums for another 72 hours. These qualifiers can overlap depending on the level of enthusiasm for the event.

From March to April, semi finals. These battles take place between winners of the qualifying heats. Here pairing are strictly by genre (and availability). Events still take place of 72 hours and there might be an extra ingredient just to ratchet it up a notch. At the end is crowned an Iron Ref Fantasy 2011, an Iron Ref Horror 2011, an Iron Ref Science 2011. (Hopefully this involves microbadges as well.)

May, the three Iron Refs battle each other one last time. The judging is done in Iron Chef style with each judge scoring the entries in 3-4 categories.

June 2012, hopefully there is a friendly contest between the Iron Ref 2011 and Iron Ref 2012.

August-September 2011, The Annual 24-hour RPG contest takes place.
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