15 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 55: Dreams of Dragonflies by D. X. Logan

Dreams of Dragonflies

Ingredients: 8 [Dragonfly (4), Dream (4)]
The use of dragonflies in this game is clearly evident, through the images of the insects, the world through which they fly and the name of the game. The dream is similarly in the title and integrated with the mechanisms since the game is about interpreting symbolism. It's a clever use of the ingredients and actually works better than a lot of the other games where I've seen these ingredients used.

Theme: 7 [6 +1 Bonus for specifically addressing the different audience]
This game has been specifically designed for a target audience that I haven't seen too many games address, and the design builds on this concept through versatility. It is capable of addressing a variety of "different audiences".

Would I Play This?: 6
I like the ideas in this, but after all my work on geomorphs and map design over the last couple of years, there are a few things about the tile placement that I would have to change before I could sit down to play this. There are some great concepts here that I'd be happy to incorporate into other games, or slight modifications that I'd make to this design. It feels so close, and I'd definitely be interested in playtesting this to get it to the next level, but I don't feel it's quite there yet.

Completeness: 8
I really like the way the game is presented diagrammatically, the whole process is explained beyond words. It has simple cards iconically depicting locations and things encountered, and it provides a variety of ways to play the game. I think the biggest things missing here are some examples of how the rules work, and a full play example. These would have helped to clarify certain concept in the rules.

Innovation: 7
There are a few concepts in this game that really intrigue me, a lot of them have been seen in earlier games (the symbolism on the collected cards reminds me of 'Everway' in it's method of telling story through archetypal icons). The tile laying I've used in plenty of games myself. The idea of moving through the drawing of cards is something I'm currently toying with for another project. The configuration of the various components works in this design.

Output Quality: 7 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (2)]
The language in this game is simple and direct, and thus highly appropriate to the target audience. The layout is better than most, but leaves a bit to be desired... nothing that couldn't be fixed up with a bit more time or focus. The imagery is better than most entries, and arguably suits the audience to whom the game is addressed, but if this game were to be refined for a new version that's where I'd start.

Overall: 74% Credit [24+14+6+16+7+7]
I can see why a few people have commented on the similarities between this game and my own, superficially they are quite similar...both employ tile laying strategies to form a map, both are targeted at an audience who identifies more strongly with symbolism than words. Beyond these superficial similarities, the games are quite different though, with one focusing on large groups (mine) and one focused on small (Logan's), one focused on more concrete numbers and quantified systems of social integration (mine) and the other focused more toward psychological symbolism (Logan's). I think this is a great entry, and it probably would have made an easy distinction level if it weren't for the image quality (and that's just a personal irk of mine as an artist and graphic designer).

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