Welcome to Game Chef 2012

Started by Jonathan Walton, April 02, 2012, 03:43:20 PM

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David Berg

Hi Jonathan,

I have a question about the Theme.  In years past, it's generally been something that wound up most heavily reflected in the game's content and fictional topics.

This year it sounds like the ingredients are intended for that purpose, with the Theme being a practical constraint on the form of play.

Is that correct?

Also, what does "only played once" mean?
a) one session per group
b) any number of sessions, as long as it ends and is then not played again by that group
c) one group ever

I can design a one-shot game, but I'd have no idea how to include (b) and (c) as relevant, key features of a game.

(I tried to post this on the WordPress site and nothing happened.  Not an error message; nothing.)

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Eero Tuovinen

You have to interpret the theme boldly, David. Any of your options can work, as long as you as the designer believe in it. It is true that traditionally Theme has usually pertained more to content than structure, but ultimately it is just the topic of discourse, and there have been very structure-oriented challenges. I am myself inclined to interpret that Theme strictly simply because it's more challenging that way: design the game as if it were only going to be played once. I don't think this is particularly impossible, they do this all the time with larps.
Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.


Just throwing this out there for anyone as technology-illiterate as myself: OpenOffice allows you to make your doc a pdf, but it isn't under the "save as" menu, it's lower down, under "Export as PDF." Just discovered this two minutes ago and thought I'd share, just in case I'm not the only one. ;-)


The Theme interpreted as a strict restriction for the duration of the game reminds me of Game Chef 2006. The Theme back then was Time, and there was also another mechanical restriction: the game had to be playable in a set amount of time or sessions. This year the Theme seems more vague, which leads me to believe that it doesn't necessarily imply those restrictions.

But then again, the Theme is to be interpreted by the designer, so I can imagine some people going for the more stricter and some others to the more vaguer ideas.

Jonathan Walton

Hi David,

I have to approve comments from people who haven't had their comments approved before. It limits the chance for spam.

As everybody's saying above, the theme is always pretty vague (in the past: Simulationism, Fantasy, Journey, etc.) to keep it from being yet another "ingredient" that you have to include, so you're free to interpret it however you want.  "One-shot" is a relatively straightforward way to interpret it and that's totally fine. I was talking with Nathan Paoletta earlier and we agreed that a lot of one-shots would probably come out of this contest, which is great and a good way to focus things for people relatively new to game design.  But there could be other valid interpretations and I don't really have any intention of clarifying it much more, since part of Game Chef is being open to where the theme and ingredients lead you, not closing off potential options.

So: do as thou wilt!


Quote from: David Berg on April 06, 2012, 05:36:05 AM
Also, what does "only played once" mean?
a) one session per group
b) any number of sessions, as long as it ends and is then not played again by that group
c) one group ever

I can design a one-shot game, but I'd have no idea how to include (b) and (c) as relevant, key features of a game.

That means that Game Chef is a perfect time to figure out how to make a game that falls into categories B or C.  Part of the point of Game Chef is to experiment and to make games that you never would make otherwise. 

I can imagine ways to fulfill type B or C games.  Perhaps you make an alternate reality game with no end point, so the rest of human civilization becomes part of the game, thereby being a type C game.  Perhaps the game has lots of predefined secrets that would spoil play if revealed ahead of time, necessitating a type B game (larps and predefined campaign often do this).  Perhaps you try to fulfill what appear to be impossible requirements, and you fail.  No big loss.  Just a couple afternoons of thinking and typing wasted.  Perhaps, though, you try to fulfill impossible requirements and succeed: then you have something amazing.

Jonathan Walton

Ingredients are up. Good luck, folks!  Also, let's hope Vincent's script doesn't crash!

David Berg

Okay, gotcha. 

Good call on the "reveal secrets once", Nick.  I actually have some game projects that could have worked like that.

Jonathan, the idea to use 4 random Forge threads as ingredients is brilliant!
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Thomas Lawrence

Hey, can we enter several games? How about one as a sol effort, and one as part of a team?

Jonathan Walton

Yup. Multiple games are cool. Eero submitted three in 2004.

Jonathan Walton

I've updated the submissions guidelines to make it clear that you can submit games anonymously.


Hello there Mr. Walton, I have a question for you:

I'm italian, I want to participate to "Pummarola Ediscion", still I'd love to go for the English version of the Game Chef competition, too.

1. May I submit a game in Italian and another, different game in English?
2. May I submit a game both in English and Italian, definining immediately which version is eligible for voting and which one is just for reviewing?

Thank you ^^

Jonathan Walton

You can submit multiple games if you want, in any combination of English + Italian, and all of them are eligible to win.


I don't know if they're done processing but I count 75 games in the submission thread.  That's pretty damn impressive.  I look forward to reading them all.


Not sure how you're counting. I got an even more impressive 93 (which would be a new record)!