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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 36 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Baxil
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Posts: 84


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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2010, 08:46:09 AM »

Without directly responding to the "social contract" issue - I don't have a problem being patient; gods know that, with my track record, I'd be a flaming hypocrite to say any different.

But I'm a little concerned at JWalt's disappearance.  He hasn't posted anything to The Forge, or to the Game Chef site, or to his blogs, since his 9/28 announcement upthread.  I'd like to hear that at least he's okay.

(In a worst-case scenario, maybe we could ask a previous Head Chef to delegate an alternate judge?)
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Renee
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 693


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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2010, 12:58:21 PM »

Agreed.  I'm a little concerned too.  Missed datelines are common in the rpg community but his absence is conspicuous enough to be worrisome.
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devlin1
Member

Posts: 43


« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2010, 06:44:46 PM »

I just communicated briefly with Jonathan via Google Chat. He's been sorely beset by work and school, but he plans to post 'round the Web tomorrow and update everyone on his status. In brief: He's planning to have everything reviewed by Halloween.
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--Mike Olson
devlin1
Member

Posts: 43


« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2010, 06:55:22 PM »

(A thousand poxes upon whomever has disabled editing. Nothing against you personally, but c'mon.)

Okay, I thought I'd remembered this correctly, but hoped I'd be wrong. From the Game Chef 2010 rules:

Quote
The Game Chef Finalist that has been played the most by the end of October (Halloween!) wins Game Chef 2010.

Initially, I only had one problem with this: The number of times a submission is playtested by the public is pretty meaningless, IMO, when it comes to determining which game is the "best." Best-case scenario, we'd only have two weeks to playtest, what, let's say a dozen games. That's nearly one a day. I don't know about anyone else, but these days I don't manage a dozen RPG sessions in a year, let alone a fortnight. I have a kid -- I can't go galavanting off every night for two weeks to playtest games and leave my wife at home to deal with everything by herself. But let's say I could do that. Now I've played every finalist game once. So... that's a 12-way tie, then.

Let's say instead we fall in love with Finalist #5, and play that one another seven times instead of moving onto #6. So now #5's in the lead, but we've had no experience whatsoever with more than half of the finalists. How exactly is that a fair assessment of... anything?

Now, of course, I have another problem with this plan -- namely, that there won't be any finalists until Halloween, making this play-as-much-as-you-can-by-Halloween thing utterly meaningless. As it stands, the four current finalists have a huge lead, in that they've been declared finalists for weeks now, and therefore people have had more of an opportunity to playtest them. Say #59 gets a finalist spot -- will it even matter?

So it would seem that now we are totally without a metric by which to select a winner. Whatever happened to a panel of judges sorting this thing out? Was that so wrong?

As has been said, it's not totally about the competition, but it's at least a little about the competition. With no practical way to determine a winner, where's the competition?
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--Mike Olson
Renee
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 07:18:28 PM »

The judging was hard on people in the past, and not necessarily the most objective means either.  There isn't going to be a perfect solution.  Part of the play-test thing hinges around your ability to advocate for your own game (publicizing it, getting people excited about it, etc.), as well as just flat-out making a good game that grabs peoples' attention and makes them want to play it.

As far as the first 14 having an advantage, I presume the clock wouldn't start ticking until all of the finalists are announced.  But to a certain extent I agree; maybe no reviews should be posted until all of the finalists were determined.

All of which is a moot point because Jonathan has gone absent.
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devlin1
Member

Posts: 43


« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2010, 08:36:44 PM »

The judging was hard on people in the past, and not necessarily the most objective means either.  There isn't going to be a perfect solution. 
I dunno -- hard judging sounds pretty good to me.

Part of the play-test thing hinges around your ability to advocate for your own game (publicizing it, getting people excited about it, etc.), as well as just flat-out making a good game that grabs peoples' attention and makes them want to play it.[/quote]
Despite that, surely you see the problem with relying on sheer frequency of play alone. Convincing someone to play your game instead of someone else's is hardly a matter of game design. It really seems like it's emphasizing the wrong thing. If I'd known it'd be a marketing contest with a side helping of game design, I would've given it a pass (again).

If it were "Play these games and give them a rating from 1 to 5," you'd keep the democracy element in a way that actually makes sense. Because if I think a game is great but don't have a chance to play it five times as much as another game I don't like, then I have no way of showing my support.

Quote
As far as the first 14 having an advantage, I presume the clock wouldn't start ticking until all of the finalists are announced.   But to a certain extent I agree; maybe no reviews should be posted until all of the finalists were determined.
Well, there are two ways it can go with this clock-starts-ticking thing:

1. All sessions played before all finalists are announced don't count toward the total... but with several more games to be playtested, the odds of those first four getting X playtests again are pretty slim.

2. Everything counts, which means that the early finalists get a lot more lead time than the late finalists. And considering that the original playtest deadline was Halloween, chances are someone out there was already playing these games in anticipation of that.

So yeah, the only fair way to have done it would've been to announce the finalists at the end instead of piecemeal.

Look, let me make something clear: I don't expect to be a finalist myself, so I don't really have a dog in this fight. I just have a problem with the mechanics, as it were, of the contest. And I find it especially ironic that the voting method is this time-intensive when Jonathan himself is so swamped with RL concerns that he's had no online presence for the past 2+ weeks.

Quote
All of which is a moot point because Jonathan has gone absent.
Like I said, I expect we'll hear from him one way or the other tomorrow.
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--Mike Olson
Renee
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 693


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« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2010, 09:12:17 PM »

Will he be around tomorrow?  He hasn't been here for weeks, but I hope he does show up.  I was/am a little worried.

As for the judging and all the rest...*shrugs*...it's not like the rules weren't posted.  They could have been a little more precise, and it's all been disrupted by Jonathan's hiatus, but I knew from the beginning it was going to be a bit of a popularity contest/marketing contest.

But seriously, they've tried a bunch of different judging techniques over the years.  It's always been pretty subjective and when you're drawing 59 contestants and you're one person trying to make it all work, you basically have to either choose to discontinue Game Chef entirely or let it be the imperfect mess that it is and hope people still enjoy the creative challenge. 
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Jonathan Walton
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Posts: 1424


« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2010, 12:02:11 PM »

Hey folks,

Everything's fine.  Life is just being overwhelming right now.  I did 5 reviews on Thurs and plan to do at least 5 more today before posting them and some other GC-related content tonight.  I've set myself a plan so I can have them all reviewed by Halloween.

I appreciate the frustration of folks who put a lot of time into the contest and don't have a review yet.  I'm just trying to make sure I put a near-equivalent amount of time and energy into the reviews as people put into their designs.

I assume from Mike Holmes' smiley face that overwhelmed Game Chef judges is a tradition nearly as old as Game Chef itself.  But rest assured!  All will be well in the end and next year I'm already planning on having a bunch of other judges announced before the contest begins to help out.  Both here and in the Murderland contest I ran a couple years back, I was naive in expecting merely modest participation (22 games last year, remember, but 60 this time around).  That's my fault and I will endeavor to do better in the future.

Both last year and this year I also had scheduling problems where Game Chef had to be run right before grad school started back, which hasn't helped.  In 2009, I didn't get named Master Chef until very late in the year.  And this year I was driving my girlfriend and our dog from Boston to Seattle for most of the middle of the summer, so I couldn't really run the contest in its classic July slot.  Again, that's something else that we'll fix for next year.

Plus, if you're already sick of me, don't forget that the standard Master Chef term limit is 3-4 years, as established by Mike and Andy.  So someone else will be in charge soon enough, if you want to hold out hope for that :)

These aren't meant to be excuses.  All problems with the contest rules and judging are my responsibility.  But remember that the experience you have with Game Chef, no matter what happens, is not up to me, it's up to you.

Best,
Jonathan
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Tamara
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2010, 12:38:27 PM »

I'm glad you're all right. And I'm sure no one wants to replace you or anything. I was just getting a little anxious. Sharing the responsibility with other judges next year is definitely a good idea. It is a lot of work, everyone understands that.
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devlin1
Member

Posts: 43


« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2010, 01:33:22 PM »

I was naive in expecting merely modest participation (22 games last year, remember, but 60 this time around). 
If I had to guess, I'd say that this year's contest had so much more interest because it actually had rules. The reason I enter contests (and I doubt I'm the only one) is because the artificial constraints breed creativity and inspire me in directions I wouldn't have thought of before. Last year's contest -- "Do whatever you want and take as long as you like -- and you're all winners!" -- was... well, less than inspiring, so I didn't enter. I know that was the case with at least a few other people, as well.
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--Mike Olson
Jonathan Walton
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Posts: 1424


« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2010, 09:50:14 PM »

I've posted the next 5.  I have more done but I need to re-read them again before posting and didn't want to make everyone wait.
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Revontuli
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« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2010, 01:48:05 AM »

Great to hear you're okay, Jonathan! I just read your review of Gulliver, and will go on to the other ones! Your work is much appreciated!
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10465


« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2010, 02:08:32 PM »

:-)
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2010, 09:56:45 PM »

Posted the next five.  Got more on their way.  Should be at least past the halfway mark by the end of this weekend.
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Mathew E. Reuther
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Posts: 114

I came, I saw, I ordered the burrito . . .


« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2010, 10:03:47 AM »

My two cents as someone not involved at all is that I think that you're probably expecting too much. Which is not to say you have no valid points.

Suggestion, if I may?

Stop worrying about it, because the outcome of this competition means approximately nothing but the acquisition of a rather insignificant set of bragging rights.

Would it be nice to win? Be a finalist? Yeah, sure.

Will those things functionally help you in any way?

Unlikely.

Stick to worrying out the design of your games, and not about what prizes you might win. I'd love to win a Hugo or Nebula for my writing one day. I'm not going to concern myself with that however, as I'm busy doing things that are requisite to ever realizing something like that result.

Best of luck with the contest. I hope you get some good feedback from it. Far more valuable than winning.

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