09 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 46: Folie à deux by Abstract Machine


Ingredients: 10 [Dragonfly (4), Abandon (4), Dream (1), Stillness (1)]
Regardless of how I distribute the points, this game elegantly weaves together all of the ingredients and deserves the full points here. If my marking system allowed it, I'd possibly even push the points higher for this entry die to how well everything is integrated into the game.

Theme: 6 [4 +1 bonus for noting a different audience +1 bonus for being appropriate to a non-gamer space]
This game is clever in the way it draws on different decisions for different outcomes. The choices of the two different players each influence the final outcome of the game. It plays with physical space and psychological boundaries that might be uncomfortable for some, and sits squarely in a niche of games that I don't usually appreciate, but it brings dynamic elements of interest to that space. I could see this being twisted slightly for use in psychotherapy.

Would I Play This?: 5
This wanders really closely into "Angsty-Catharsis" spaces that I've often had trouble running games with in the past. That doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the game, it's far more developed than a lot of designs that play in spaces like those. 

Completeness: 8
This game is more complete than most games in it's genre. It gives structure to something that might otherwise be a freeform shambles. The game even makes reference to this aspect of play, and that's appreciated as well, rather than just leaving players drifting.

Innovation: 6
This game uses a few interesting ideas and combines them into something clever. There's nothing particularly new, but each of the ideas is presented in an interesting way to build an intricate whole. The most innovative thing is probably the origami dragonfly at the end of the rules. But throwing something like this into the rules is surely worth a couple of points.

Output Quality: 8 [Language (3), Layout (2), Imagery (2), +1 Bonus for overall presentation]
The language in this document is clear and informative, giving exactly what is needed. The use of the Bagua to break up the text is an interesting design choice and really adds to the overall document. This pictorial element, and the dragonfly instructions at the end have contributed to the imagery points. 

Overall: 77% Distinction [30+12+5+16+6+8]
I appreciate the design work that has gone into this, and the way different character choices affect the outcome. So even though it isn't the kind of game I'd typically play, I think it's a good design. If I were to design something like this, I'd probably try to introduce too many mechanisms and detract from the simple purity of the concept.



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