As I said yesterday, I've been plugging away, reading the Game Chef Entries. A long slow train trip to my parent's house gave me time to take some notes as I read. I figured that I'd try to be pretty transparent in my review criteria and my reasons for liking some games and not liking others. As a result I've come up with a general scoring system based on the things I think are important in a game and the things that I think should be sources of challenge in a contest like Game Chef.
Game Chef Review Criteria:
0-5pts: Use of Ingredients and theme in an appropriate manner
+0.5: per ingredient used in a cursory manner (either a flavour addition or a throwaway mechanism name)
+1.0: per ingredient integrated into the game through flavour and mechanism
+0.5: if the game has a cursory connection to the theme.
+1.0: if the game resonates with the theme at a deeper level.
0-5pts: Clarity of Rules
0.0: The rules are an absolute disgrace; I can’t even fill in the gaps through intuition.
1.0: The rules are pretty sparse, and they don’t seem to address the actual methods of playing the game.
2.0: The rules seem pretty solid but there seem to be a couple of pieces left out (or just not explained clearly).
3.0: The rules carefully explain the methods of play, either through elegant terminology, or careful play examples.
4.0: The rules are at about the quality you’d expect from a good game entry; easy to read and clear to understand.
5.0: The rules are very good, at least of the quality to expect to find in a professional game from one of the “big” companies.
0-5pts: Completeness of Rules
0.0: There aren’t any rules at all.
1.0: There aren’t enough rules to play any part of the game in any meaningful way.
2.0: There are rules enough to handle the basics, but I can foresee a lot of situations that just aren’t covered by them.
3.0: The rules are a solid set; they may not tie in with the themes and there might be a few disjoints, but reasonably complete.
4.0: The rules cover pretty much everything; and they do so in a way that gives a sense of uniqueness to the game.
5.0: The rules are extensive and well flavoured; anything you could want to do is easily covered by their depth and scope.
0-5pts: Originality of Rules and Concept
0.0: It might as well have been copied verbatim from a book pulled off the shelf in my local game store.
1.0: Nothing overly original about it, but at least the author changed some of the names or added their own touches.
2.0: It fits squarely into an existing genre, or game system; but there are some intriguing elements thrown into the mix.
3.0: It combines a few systems or setting I’ve seen before, but in a way that makes it a bit different or original.
4.0: I’m unable to remember where I’ve seen some of the elements, either it masks them well or adapts them effectively.
5.0: This has simply blown my mind with its originality.
0.0: No Attempt at formatting
0.5: Minimal formatting (maybe a font befitting the game or a two column layout)
1.0: Decent formatting (different fonts for headers and text, maybe some text boxes)
1.5: Good formatting in a style suiting the game (maybe with text boxes for rule clarity/actual play)
2.0: Well formatted in a style suiting the game (with decent indexing/table of contents)
0.0: No images what-so-ever
0.5: One or two images, or some kind of play aid of basic quality
1.0: A title image, and a map or other play aid of good quality
1.5: A scattering of images through the text to evoke mood or theme.
2.0: Fully illustrated with evocative pieces (whether hand drawn or otherwise)
0-1pt: Title Page
0.0: No title page
0.5: Simple title page, maybe a list of contents
1.0: Elaborate title page.
Multiply total result by 4 to gain a percentage score.