24 June, 2015

Game Chef Review 2: Dragonfly 3RR0R by Daniel Violato

Dragonfly 3RROR

Ingredients: 8 [Dragonfly (4), Stillness (3), Bonus +1 Abandon]
I'd be teetering between adding an extra point to "Stillness", or giving extra points for using "Abandon/Abandonment" in two ways (the game's central cryogenic starships are abandoning the earth and the characters are abandoning) so these balance out.
Theme: 7 [6 +1 bonus from the author's description of how the different audience applies]
Daniel Violato state in this game's text that English is not his first language, and therefore he is writing to a "different audience" to his normal fare by writing in English. The game text also describes how the game addresses a different audience by simulating machine code instructions. This thing is dense, it might be the issues of overcoming the language barrier, but I think it's more due to the various interlocking parts in the system...I'll get to that.

Would I play this?: 6
This reminds me a bit of Roborally, and that has seen all sorts of fun in this part of the world, so that gives it a positive. I also know a few programmers who might really get into the idea of using a pseudo-programming code to succeed in a co-op game, so that gives it a positive too. I'm torn between "5" (I'll add it to the must play list) and "8" (I should get the guys around to run through this a couple of times). So I'll give it an average between the two, round down because I could strugge getting the guys to actually give it a go.

Completeness: 9 [8 +1 Character sheets, tokens are all present]
There's definitely enough to play the game, all in their own files. For a playtest kit, I really couldn't expect much more. The game includes examples through the text describing how the various components work together, and while it could do with some playtesting to get the numbers right (the author admits this) there are enough pieces to get that playtesting happening.

Innovation: 6
The idea of a co-op board game isn't new (there are plenty of existing games that do this), the idea of programming robots isn't new (case in point mentioned earlier... Roborally). But I haven't really seen anything that attempts to combine these ideas. It's clever and feels like an evolution in an interesting direction, but it also feels like some of the crunchy board game designs I've seen in a few boardgame design testing sessions lately. Maybe some tweaking of the rules might see something really clever and innovative manifest from this design.

Output Quality: 7 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (1) +1 Bonus for title pages]
I'm not going to fault the language, it's generally coherent. It took a bit to grok on the first pass, but as examples were included it started to make more sense. The layout is good, nothing particularly noteworthy about it, but it structures the rules adequately. Like the last entry, a couple of images might have broken up the text, but at least the planet cards had different coloured circles. The use of a "machine code" looking font adds to the atmosphere of the game.

Overall: 75% Distinction [24+14+6+18+6+7]
I think with a bit of testing, this could be a great game. A bit complicated and certainly not for everyone due to that complexity, but it's trying to do some thing that are either new, or not very common.
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