Game Chef Review 53: Dragon, Fly by Paul Beakley

Dragon, Fly

Ingredients: 8 [Abandon (4), Stillness (3), +1 Bonus for Dragonfly]
Despite the name, dragonflies don't really play a part in this, but I can't particularly fault this when my interpretation of "stillness" was so unconventional.

Theme: 8
While many of the games in this contest have focused on a specific audience, this game circumvents that by offering variants that can be played as multiplayer narrative, solo narrative, or solo procedural. While each of those game forms are existing niches of play style, that's a really clever way to address the theme and I wish I'd thought of it.

Would I Play This?: 8
This seems like it could be a good game to play, in any of it's incarnations (single or multiplayer). I'd be interested in trying it in any of these configurations, I'd be interested in trying it in more than one of these incarnations to see how well it plays under different contexts.

Completeness: 9
Pretty much everything is here to play the game in it's various configurations. But a few aspects feel like they could be made a bit clearer. Maybe it's just that I'm reading through the game after midnight, and I'm tired.

Innovation: 7
There's a clever manipulation of cards that integrates with the narrative elements used in this game, I haven't fully worked out how the mechanisms of card manipulation work, based on a cursory look at the game, but different characters seem to focus on different ares of village defense and different types of tales that they tell in the impending arrival of the dragon. I've seen a few games that are remotely similar, but nothing exactly like this. It has me intrigued enough that I'd like to explore it further.  

Output Quality: 10 [Language (3), Layout (3), Imagery (3), +1 Bonus for professionalism]
This is a well put together game. I can't fault anything in it's presentation, from the language to the layout or the imagery. The designer has even gone out of his way to produce varying accesible versions of the files for use in the game.

Overall: 83% [24+16+8+18+7+10]
I can clearly see why this game was nominated as a finalist, and could easily see this winning the contest, it's a clever game that can be played multiple ways. The connection to the ingredients may not have been as strong as it could have been, but there really aren't too many other issues I can see with it. I'd be surprised if I didn't see a revised version of this game available for sale soon.


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