06 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 39: Sweeps Week by Rose Docherty

Ingredients: 4 [Dream (2), Abandon (2)]
Unlike the other games where abandon and dream have been combined together to form tales of sleeping people caught adrift in a world of nocturnal fantasies,this game is about the dreams of actors abandoned to the whims of popularity. These notions aren't really central to the game, but they are there.

Theme: 6
This game really addresses the concept of audience in an interesting way, maybe not through the audience to whom the designer is writing, but definitely through the audience within the game.

Would I Play This?: 4
There are some great ideas in this. It really reminds me of a variant of Primetime Adventures, and I think a mash-up of the two games might be a really interesting experience (though how that might be achieved, I'm not completely sure at this point in time.) As it stands at the moment, there are plenty of good ideas to strip from it, but I don't think I could play it directly.

Completeness: 5
I'm guessing that you roll a single die when doing stuff in this game, unless your actor type gives you a bonus die, or you character role on the "show" gives you an extra die, but this isn't indicated despite seeming a fundamental aspect of the game. Some of the numbers seem a bit off as well, regarding chances of "successes", "actor defining moments", and "screw ups". I'm sure a bit of playtesting will sort that out. It also feels like a few more TV show types will round out and complete the end of the game. To make it fully complete, I'd make some modular "character sheet" cards (like I've done for a lot of my recent games), so that characters can quickly be created by a pair of templates. Maybe throw together a few cards defining certain plot twists and sweeps week cliches (and an mechanical effects generated by these). At the moment, it feels mostly done, but not quite enough for a complete game.

Innovation: 6
There are a few really clever ideas in this, and I'd love to see them fleshed out, playtested and refined. It's a clever premise (even if it is similar to Primetime Adventures).

Output Quality: 6 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (1)]
The language is fine, it's descriptive and covers genre tropes pretty well. The two column layout is a bit odd, but generally passable, it has all the titles, and uses boldness and italics well enough. A few orphan lines and mysterious blank gaps, maybe the author simply ran out of time to fix up the formatting. Great cover image, but a few more images wouldn't have gone astray.

Overall: 50% Pass (12+12+5+10+6+6)
It's a great idea, and I'd love to see it developed further, but for the scope of the contest, it's current form barely scrapes through as a pass.
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