I'll preface this review by saying that it was a game designed in this house, I helped contribute to it a bit by offering some support and working through some general concepts with the designer. This review is more of an attempt to see how well the marking system works with regard to a design that I'm pretty close to.
Get Well Soon
Ingredients: 9 [Dream (4), Stillness (4), +1 Bonus for Abandon]
Other games about coma sufferers have been awarded at least 6 points for the Dream and Stillness association (see The Last Hour), so it's only fair to offer at least the same points here, the bonus point for each ingredient comes through the specific mentioning of these elements. Since this game specifically adds in the term "Abandon" as a concept that grounds the flavour
Like many of the freeformy games, this one seems catered to a specific audience, but I know that it;s the kind of audience that the designer wouldn't normally design for (the designer loves minutiae and crunchy systems). Given that I know the context behind the stuff normally produced by the designer, and I don't know this for many other designers in the contest (as it is their first entries), I could score this higher but it wouldn't seem fair to others... hence an "average" score.
Would I play this?: 6
I could cheat here and give the game a 10, because I did run through some of the concepts before I finished writing this review. But to answer the question in regard to the final product, I would probably run this as a brief interlude in an existing campaign, an introductory session for a new campaign, or even as a one-shot at a convention with the right people.
It feels like almost everything is here to play a game, even given it's short word count. There is a premise, vague context, a core mechanism, an end sequence... but there are a few elements that generally feel missing. An experienced roleplayer should have no trouble sorting out a game from the elements presented, but a few more pointers could have enhanced the rule set, and some idea prompts might make it more inclusive for players new to the "loose rules" genre.
The way cards are used is a bit different, but similar to several games I've seen over the years. If I was to rewrite the game, I might add in something where each player starts off their story by drawing a random card from the deck which has a meaning used to prompt the story being told about the comatose girl. Given my current kick, I might even use a tarot deck to set the tone of the story. Again, nothing that hasn't been done before, but it might make things a bit more interesting and focused.
Output Quality: 7 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (1), +1 Bonus for presentation]
The language of the entrant is fine, generally. I can see that the font choice was done to give the impression of a "Get Well Soon" card, such as you might find in a typical hospital where the story unfolds, but it does make reading the entry a bit hard. The layout is simple and fairly direct, the imagery on the front page is a nice touch. As a single sheet game with a low word count, it does pretty well, unlike some of the other games of this type that just present a wordprocessed document. It feels like a greeting card.
Overall: 66% Credit [27+10+6+12+4+7]
In comparison to the other games I've been seeing in the contest, it's a reasonable entry but certainly not at the calibre of some entrants. It has some nice ideas in it that I might incorporate in later designs, and I'm sure with more time and a bit more refinement it could have been a very good game.
3 weeks ago