03 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 30:White Light by Andrew Montgomery-Hurrell

White Light

Ingredients: 8 [Dream (4), Dragonfly (3), Abandon (1)]
Dreams and Dragonflies linked in the context of death seem to be a common thread running through many of the games this year (they other way they tend to be linked is in the realm of faerie). In this offering, we see dreams as points in a mortal's life and dragonflies as judges (another notion that has cropped up a few times). Abandon get a mention and a link to certain game mechanisms, so it clearly gets a bonus point.

Theme: 4
Like many of the games reviewed so far, the connection to "a different audience" seems pretty vague. Once again, I don't know the kind of game that this designer typically produces, but this particular games squarely fits into what I'd call the "Microscope niche", it also fits into the "writing emotional things on index cards" school of indie gaming designs . It's an interesting area to be playing in, and I'm starting to get inspired to doing something else along these lines, but it's not really anything for a new or different audience as far as I can see.

Would I Play This?: 6
I would play this, and it's something that I'd want to look at sooner rather than later. There are a few designs around like this, but there are flavour elements in this particular design that I find intriguing.

Completeness: 7
There is certainly enough to play a whole game here, and there is the addition of a completed play example in the game text, but to make it complete I'd like to have seen a few more of the steps that would lead to that completed play example. A bit more focus on some of the steps along the way would be appreciated just to clarify things a bit more. But it's more complete in this regard than many of the designs I've read.

Innovation: 5 [4 +1 Bonus for a reasonably innovative use of colour (not the full +2)]
A lot of the elements in this game I've seen before, they feel familiar and there's nothing particularly exotic about the way they've been assembled. The thing I do like in the rules is the use of colour, I've only seen this a few times in games of this type, and I've toyed with it a couple of times and struggled to get it working. This game doesn't particularly do anything amazing with colour (simply assigning different colours of pen to different players to make scoring easier at the end), but it's a functional and beneficial technique to add into the mix.

Output Quality: 5 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (0)]
Good clear writing for the most part, so there's no complaints there. Decent heading and bullet points (like many of the games this year), I also like the fact that the play example uses different colours for the different players as indicated in the rules (despite me being colour blind, I appreciate the intention). No images what-so-ever, so nothing there.

Overall: 62% Pass [24+8+6+14+5+5]
A solid but generally pedestrian entry. I think there are definitely some interesting ideas in it, cleverly put together, but nothing that I haven't seen in existing game designs. It wouldn't take a lot of work to format this, clarify certain elements of the rules a bit, or even explain a bit more clearly how it relates to "a different audience" to push it up to a credit.

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