The finalists of the 200 word RPGs have been released.
I'm not among the entrants that made it to this level, but that's not really important. It a fun challenge to participate in, and as I've said previously, I try to participate in contests like this to see where the cutting edge of game design is, to see what other designers known and unknown are currently pushing with their designs.
I will have a look at all the finalists, and offer my own critique on them. A few people have already started doing this, a few with rating systems of their own. 200 words is tough, I could easily write more about the entries than the length of the entries themselves... and since there are hundreds of entries, it could be a mammoth undertaking.
I think I'll generate a quick rating system based on a couple of criteria, a score out of 10, and a sentence or two on each.This will start by alternating between finalists and random entries, then progress through chunks of the remainder. If I stay motivated, I might even start digging through some entries from previous years.
Criteria ideas so far... (these aren't designed to be judgement calls regarding the quality of the entry, merely indicators about how I perceive the direction the entry has gone)
Setting - (0) No Setting / (1) Implied / (2) Explicit
How well is a setting for the game described in the rules?
Game Mechanism - (0) None / (1) Crude / (2) Detailed
How well described are the mechanisms for character interactions?
Metagame - (0) None / (1) Vague / (2) Clear
How well described are the mechanisms for player/GM interactions?
Style of Game (Keywords)
Parlour - Doesn't particularly have players portraying character roles, but instead might weave a collective narrative between the players.
Freeform - Minimalist rules (if any)
Targeted - Uses target numbers to define success/failure
AW - Has links to the Apocalypse Engine
Cards (X) - Game uses cards, where X might indicate standard, tarot, or custom deck
Dice (X) - Game uses dice, where X might indicate the specific dice rolled eg (2d6), (d20)
(Note that these are my definitions for the purposes of this exercise, they might not match the way others use this terminology)
I'm sure I'll think of more as I develop this further.