The “Themed Rummy Design Contest” over at BGG just completed. There were 24 designs entered by the Dec 7, 2009 deadline, including three from me (Wu Xing Rummy, Nobles of Venice, and Cold War Rummy) and one from Brian (WW2 in Europe Rummy). Preliminary judges graded the games and chose nine finalists, announced in January, including CWR and WW2. These finalists were then sent to Mike Fitzgerald, a well-known and respected game designer (in gaming circles, anyway) of many card and board games, as the final judge.
Yesterday, the contest sponsor, Cate108 on BGG, announced the results. Mike (and his playtest team?) graded the games on four criteria — rules (10 points), concept (10 points), creative elements (40 points) and gameplay (40 points). Brian’s WW2 game finished ninth overall and my CWR game finished second overall. The top three were actually very close in points:
WILD KINGDOM = 70 points total
- Rules = 7, Concept = 8, Creative elements = 30, Game play = 25
COLD WAR RUMMY = 68 points total
- Rules = 8, Concept = 10, Creative elements = 25, Game play = 25
GASTON GAME = 66 points total
- Rules = 8, Concept = 8, Creative elements = 30, Game play = 20*
- * GASTON GAME would get more points as a game to be played with small children, which is its target audience. This ranking is as a game between adults
I emailed Mike just to say thanks for judging the contest and got a nice reply back from him:
Thank you for letting me see one of your designs. Very creative and playable. I love Twilight Struggle as well but would never have been able to come up with a card game like you did.
I also received very good feedback on all three of my games from my first round judge, Sean Ross (of the Game Artisans of Canada). I will probably tweak all of them eventually, but for now I’m focusing on CWR as it is my favorite game of the bunch and had the best feedback from multiple sources. In fact, I already took some suggestions from Sean and have ordered 21 replacement cards from Artscow for updated cards in the next version. I plan to playtest them here and then send them to Dan’s gang down in Austin for more external playtesting.
Oh, this contest also had awards. My second place finish was worth $30 and 70 GG (geekgold, a virtual currency on BGG). This brings my lifetime design income to $280:
- 4GxG Project = $100 for a winning mechanic.
- Small World contest = $150 for a winning special power.
- Rummy contest = $30 for second place.
Not that I’ll ever make much at this, but I like to think this offsets some of the costs of paper, cardstock, ink, blades, bits and components, etc. I’m excited about working CWR up to the point of publication, be that via a publisher or a POD/self-published route (being ideal for that as a card game).