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View Full Version : My Contest Feedback for a 2-Page RPG



Soft Serve
07-01-2014, 09:33 AM
I've been mentioning in chat a while that I had entered a 2-page rpg contest. Just today got my feedback from the judges, which was something promised to everyone regardless of if they win or lose. Considering what I heard back, I doubt I won. There's probably a dozen better entries than mine. But either way, they did have some nice things to say.

This is a link to the game I submitted. (http://www.topsecretgames.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Rangers.pdf) Below is the judges response to it.

Judge #1:

I like the seeing and intro, it really draws the reader into the document
the layout is also nice and readable. You start with 1 food and food is
precious; eating it should probably do more than restoring 2 stamina.
The encounter generator is neat and the rules are fluid enough. I do want
to point out that a 2 pass/2 fail encounter has people failing nearly
eight of nine times with a skill level of 1; this highly incentivizes
players to never use rank 1 skills unless forced.

Overall, this is a solid and quick adventure game with fluids mechanics;
however, the mechanics don't align worth the theme or the goals very well.
The major theme is avoiding starvation and yet there are no concrete rules
for hunger or starvation.

In addition, this game has a clear winner: whoever returns with the most
food. Despite this, there are no rules for stealing food and even the
rules for gaining food are minimal: get 5, search for 1 more, up to 10,
but face an encounter if you want. The emphasis on starvation and the scarcity of food
fades into the background and becomes just another reason for adventuring
with no real impact on play and no mechanical representation.

The rules for this game are good, but to make it a great game you need to
have your theme supported in the rules: without that it becomes only
another one shot adventure game.

Judge #2:

*Playability:

This gme is pretty interesting although I think it is more of a board game
than an rpg. Mostly I see this being for folks who are experienced gamers.
I can't imagine this being someone's first role-play experience.

*Mechanics:

Why is this game competitive? This more than anything makes me feel you
should rebuild this as a board game. Actually if this game with a
pre-generated map with different missions and sceriors you could get
yourself a really interesting RPG/board hybrid game system.

*Theme:

This game has a good handle on theme. The mechanics support the survival
aspect really well. But there is little room for exploration. You have
zombies and demonic dragons running around WHAT IS GOING ON!? I feel like
if I was playing this I would want to be doing something more interesting
than hunting for canned prunes.

*Clarity:

This is mostly clear but you could offer new groups more support. If you
decide to make this a board game rather than an RPG it will be less
necessary for you to explain how to play, but if you want this to be an
RPG you should give folks a basic idea of what is going on.

*Presentation:

This game's design doesn't really reflect its themes. You could probably
find better font and colors for your section titles. It is laid out well
and printer friendly. Also art might help make your setting more clear.

Judge #3:

A really nice and surprisingly light but robust system. I could see
playing a post apocalyptic game with this. I like the mechanics where you
spend stamina to move. It models the real challenge of travel and survival
in a harsh environment. While it looked fairly generic at first, it really
pulled my brain in a different way by the end. The resolution mechanic is
very nice and I can see it going far and making for some tense rolls if
the GM/player play up the nuances of each roll in a narrative way,
describing the effects of each roll before the next one resolves.

DMMike
07-01-2014, 09:55 AM
Bravo for taking on the challenge of writing an uber-short RPG! It sounds easy, doesn't it? Yeah, I dread the idea. The uber-short game I'm trying to write is probably getting closer to 100 pages than 50. :(

Soft Serve
07-01-2014, 04:31 PM
I did it in 18 hours too. I found out about the contest the day before it closed. XD

Matt James
07-04-2014, 11:39 AM
Congrats and well done! We should totally doing something similar here on PPG!

DMMike
07-05-2014, 11:56 AM
Congrats and well done! We should totally doing something similar here on PPG!

Well, there's already a respectable One Page Dungeon contest, and it seems Soft Serve has found a good 2 Page RPG contest (judging by the response quality of the judges). So what does that leave us?

And what systems does P&PG have in place that relate to contests? Polls, obviously. Can the site run a ratings-system too? What if the user-base had the ability to rate submissions, Yelp-style?

Matt James
07-10-2014, 06:53 AM
RPG Industry Insider judges.

Soft Serve
07-14-2014, 04:58 PM
Well, there's already a respectable One Page Dungeon contest, and it seems Soft Serve has found a good 2 Page RPG contest (judging by the response quality of the judges). So what does that leave us?

And what systems does P&PG have in place that relate to contests? Polls, obviously. Can the site run a ratings-system too? What if the user-base had the ability to rate submissions, Yelp-style?

We have the ability to put up files for download. And yeah, user votes and polls can be used. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out. I assumed the only reason we weren't already talking about / working on one is because of the P&PG con coming up taking a lot of focus.

Thriondel Half-Elven
07-15-2014, 01:52 AM
I also entered the same contest after Soft Serve told me about it on the final day. And with my natural skill in procrastination I waited until 45 minutes before the deadline to start. Granted I didn't have a few notes. I sadly didn't get to finish like I would have liked to and left out key elements. But it was fun!

Soft, I realized I never sent you the feedback I got which I meant to do. So I saw this and figured I'd put it here!

Here is the link to my game. (http://www.topsecretgames.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Dead-World.pdf)

Judge #1:

I like the use of Hold spaces for an inventory system and that is a nice
way to represent the limits that a searcher in a zombie infested world
would have. It also makes it easier to handle inventory in a generic way.
The system feels very similar to Numenera's target numbers, which isn't
bad. I think for a 2 page RPG, this is decent, but not enough time is
spent on presentation or drawing the reader in. There is a lot of space
used for things that don't really matter in an RPG like this. I can't see
“buying” anything in a post apoc world, trading maybe. I'd take a look at
other short RPGs and see what they do that draws you in, then try to
rework yours using those concepts.

Judge #2:

*Playability:
This game is functional but I think a bit over complicated. As is I think
new players would be scared off and experienced gamers would move on
because the game is messy. I'd invite you to look at some of the core
systems used by other games in this competition. You can still have a
tactical game with a simple system.

*Mechanics:
There are a lot of issues here. The set up is complicated to the point of
being convoluted. Why do you take challenge ratings and multiply them by
3? Is there no way to make this game work without that extra step? IT is
fine to make a complex game. Shadowrun is complex, but that complexity
needs to be justified, otherwise you are just making your game hard to
play for no reason.

*Theme:
Zombie games are everywhere right now. Seriously, every videogame on the
market has a zombie version of it as DLC. You have taken probably the
second most popular genre in all of tabletop and added nothing to it. To
make your game work you need to investigate your world and find a way to
give your zombie apocalypse a unique voice. That will make more people
want to play and it will give you greater direction for your game's
mechanics.

*Clarity:
I think some of the ideas in here might be good, but just badly explained.
Read a bunch of short RP systems and take note of how they are structured.
The more games you consume the better you will be at writing new ones.

*Presentation:
This game is actually really well formatted. It also has readable front
and it is printer friendly. Once you have taken a stab at the system
issues you can address this up further by finding a nice font for your
section headers.

Judge #3:

The setup is generic post zombie plague; it's nice writing but hasn't have
anything to really draw me in. The three stat system makes for quick
setup. FOr the most part this entry is well laid out and readable; however
when I get to the paragraph under the "Stat Rank Bonus" table, you've
completely lost me. The Zombie is rating 3 and the difficulty is 9? the
stat rank bonus reduces the rating of the zombie? 1 reduction in rating
reduces the difficulty by 3?

It's not hard to figure out what you mean for the most part, but it is
rather off putting to the reader and the rules are considerably
non-intuitive at this part. Just explaining what a rating is and how it
works prior to your example would go miles toward improving the flow of
information. YOu should also consider making the stat rank bonus an actual
bonus to the roll rather than a penalty to the target; they may be
mathematically equivalent, but people are not computers and it is much
less intuitive to deal in subtraction as a "bonus" rather than a simple
bonus to a roll.

Lastly, with all the empty space there was more than enough room for level
up rules, more examples, or additional content. This entry seems to start
in the right place with the simplified stats and easy character creation,
but it never quite seems to finish, With some additional work, this could
be a good game: all the basics are there, you just need to flesh out the
rest and make the rules a little bit more intuitive to keep the game
moving fast.

Thriondel Half-Elven
07-15-2014, 02:40 AM
As far as something similar we could always change the length requirement. Like a 5 page RPG. Would still be a challenge but give more room for stuff. Add different requirements. The 2 page contest had 2 rules. Be playable to someone unfamiliar with it and have a setting.

Maybe have different categories for winners. Like: Overall design, Layout, Character sheets, etc. etc.

DMMike
07-15-2014, 10:54 AM
Well, if P&PG runs a "rules-light" or "rules-heavy" game contest, we might make some strides toward making their definitions concrete.

I really see one of P&PG's strengths as the chatroom. So we should probably be running the "Chat-friendly Adventure" contest.

Thriondel Half-Elven
07-15-2014, 04:01 PM
We could have monthly contests even. Starting the 1st and ending the last day of the month. Then the first week of the next month is used to judge that contest. And on the 1st of the second month starts the new contest!

Soft Serve
07-17-2014, 03:44 PM
Well, if P&PG runs a "rules-light" or "rules-heavy" game contest, we might make some strides toward making their definitions concrete.

I really see one of P&PG's strengths as the chatroom. So we should probably be running the "Chat-friendly Adventure" contest.

Agreed about the chat-friendly bit. If the judges here want to try to test one of the games submitted, the chat is the only way we could do that.