27 June, 2015

Game Chef Review 15: Fallen by Gwen Foster

Ingredients: 6 [Abandon (3), Dragonfly (3)]
I'm giving points for "Abandon" because the children portrayed are Orphans, and I get the feeling that their environment has been abandoned by everyone as the military comes rolling in. Neither is really a strong fit, but the two interpretations build up to a fairly solid i gredient use. The points for dragonfly are  obvious on a read through, but I get the feeling that the dragonfly could be replaced by many other things, so it doesn't quite get the full points.

Theme: 3
It's a solid entrant in an existing genre of games. I'm at a bit of a struggle to see how it addresses a different audience. The contrast of light and dramatically shifting dark moods in the game, reminds me of that highly praised Train game which seems to be about rail efficiency then turns in a commentary of Jews being shipped to concentration camps in Nazi Germany... a pretentious heap of smouldering crap engulfed in a cult of personality and "art". This game doesn't quite inspire my ire as much as that game I'm referring to. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh in this score, maybe the game inspires a diffeence in the audience...but that's a bit of a stretch. I'm leaving it at 3 for the moment.

Would I Play This?: 5
I'd consider playing this, and it would get added to the list of games I'd be interested in playing at some time. It seems simple enough, but adds a bit more complexity and backstory compared to similar games in the genre (see below).

Completeness: 7
All of the cards are there for play, the rules are reasonably descriptive, but a few play examples wouldn't have gone astray, and maybe some kind of better tracking sheet to show who had been hit by bullets and who had accumulated lilies. But as a playtest kit for a new boardgame, this would be more than adequate to determine how the mechanisms of the game functioned.

Innovation: 6
This reminds me a lot of the game "Get Bit", characters determine their positions in a row, being chased by a shark...the one at the back of the row gets bitten by the shark. This definitely makes some twists on that formula, so it gets points for innovation that way. I remember thinking that Get Bit was pretty innovative when I first found out about it, and while this seems a rough duplicate of that, there are enough interesting twists to keep it fresh and interesting.

Output Quality: 7 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (2)]
The language is direct and concise, nothing to fault about that. The layout is pretty decent, generally functional, but nothing particularly noteworthy about it. As an artist, I think the i ages could be improved, but this game is far more visual than most of the other entrants I've looked at, so it gets a higher score in that regard than most other games I've looked at.

Overall: 56% Pass [18+6+5+14+6+7]
Honestly, it's not a bad game. It has come in as a decent pass, with a few decent tweaks I might like it.  It's simple enough for most people to get, it has a message. I don't expect too much more from most games, but as some entrants in this years contest have shown...sometimes games can really push the envelope in ways that don't just fall back on shock factor war-porn. 
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