08 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 44: Dragonfly Yoga Studio by Shawn Roske

Dragonfly Yoga Studio

Ingredients: 8 [Stillness (4), Dragonfly (2), Dream (1), Abandon (1)]
Stillness is one of those concepts intrinsically linked with yoga in my mind, so this feels like a natural fit. Dragonfly feels less so, it's a name applied to the game, and feels like it could have been replaced by almost anything else. The terms "dream" and "abandon" appear in the ritual phrases, so they contribute an extra point each.

Theme: 8
The closest game to this, that I've seen in the contest so far is "Tea Ceremony"  which is my best scoring game so far. This ritualised experience fits in that general category of game, but isn't as personal or soul-baring as that game. It also feels more scripted than ritual, with a single choice that makes a difference to the outcome, while everything else feels superfluous. As a game it hits a few of the same marks as "Tea Ceremony", but it doesn't connect quite as well.

Would I Play This?: 7
As a warm up exercise to focus players before a game, I'd definitely consider playing this (or a variant of it). The game doesn't take too long, and as a prelude to something it would be great. But as a game in itself, it's missing something.

Completeness: 7
This is definitely a complete game, it sets a mood, plays through it, and leads to a conclusion, but not much happens. A single choice leads to a change in the climactic turn of phrase. I feel like there should be something more to it. It's also a single script, and could probably benefit from a simple introduction sheet for the players/"students", and/or a separated script for the "teacher".

Innovation: 7 (6 +1 bonus for an unusual medium)
I would really call this more of a roleplaying exercise than a roleplaying game. It's a stylistic exercise at that, getting people into the mood, then ending. I feel like I should mark harsher in some areas because I'm not getting aspects of it, or because I'm getting too much of it and I'm just not happy with it... I'm also wondering how I'd be marking this is I had read this game before I'd had my mind blown by "Tea Ceremony".

Output Quality: 7 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (2)]
Like many of the games entered, the language used in this entry is descriptive and appropriate to the piece. The layout is functional and perhaps better than a lot of the others I've rated at a similar level, but nothing particularly spectacular. The front cover image is great and earns the two points.

Overall: 75% Distinction [24+16+7+14+7+7]
I knew about this game before the entries were due to be submitted, so I had been wondering what form it might finally take. It's good for what it is, but when I look at it I really want more. As I've said, I don't know what score this game would have achieved, if I hadn't read "Tea Ceremony" first.


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