28 June, 2015

Game Chef Review 16: Being Freud by Crews, Shelton and Thornton

Being Freud

Ingredients: 6 [Dream (4), Dragonfly (1), Abandonment (1)]
The core ingredient here has got to be Dream, though I would have thought Jung would have been a better match for psychoanalysing dreams. Either way, it's about taking fragmented images with archetypal concepts associated with them and playing a guessing game. Dragonfly and Abandonment appear in a couple of the dream fragments, but not really enough to make a significant difference to the overall product.

Theme: 4
We seem to have plenty of designs stuck in a niche gaming space, which is a little disappointing given the theme of "a different audience". Without enough reference to understand how designers have picked their different audience, it can be hard to tell what was aimed for, and how this difference applies. This sort of game does exist and I know people who have played this sort of game in the past, so once again I find myself offering 4 out of a possible 10 for this category.  

Would I Play This?: 5
I'd lay this as a one off, maybe a couple of times over the course of a night. I don't know how well the replayability would work, because once everyone had seen the majority of the dream cards in play, they'd know the archetypal concepts linked to them and beyond this point it would basically become a game of memory. I can certainly see the enjoyment of hamming it up as pioneer psychiatrists at the dawn of psychotherapy.

Completeness: 8
Everything is here. A concise description of the rules, cards for play, a play example.

Innovation: 4
I've seen a lot of this before, maybe not in this particular configuration but certainly there are familiar components. The core premise of the game reminds me of the core mechanism in the X-Files collectible card game released over 15 years ago (and I've seen it in a few other places), ad almost following a lineage back to boardgames like "Mastermind". A bunch of cards have a few options linked to them, the other player tries to guess a specific element among them. It's a seasoned mechanism, it works, but it's been done (and therefore it's not particularly innovative).

Output Quality: 7 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (1) +1 bonus for overall package]
Language is descriptive and about what I'd expect for a professional game (certainly what I'd expect for a game that had 3 people working on it compared to the many solo entries), Layout is standard, nothing much to complain about, and it has a title page so that contributes to the bonus point. Imagery consists of a great public-domain/photostock cover, and that's about it... but it doesn't particularly need more.  

Overall: 58% Pass [18+8+5+16+4+7]
Don't get me wrong, this is a pretty solid parlor game, and actually apretty good example of the genre in my opinion. The only things setting it down in the marks are an adherence to only one of the ingredients (with others as cursory things that seem thrown in just to meet the requirements), and a general feeling that I've seen this sort of thing before (which hampered the theme and innovation).
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