Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More on Yoggity and kids

The judges at Gamecon Memphis thought my game Yoggity was suited for 6-8 year old kids.  I certainly need to listen to that feedback and figure out what it means.  However, I think they're wrong, for a couple reasons.  As I said yesterday, they left out a major part of the strategy of the game, and that part of the strategy is the part that requires higher-order strategic thinking.  But a second reason might be that the game looks relatively simple on the surface, but the strategy is quite a bit deeper.

Think of chess for example - an eight-year-old could learn the rules, but a grown-up would always win.  Ditto for checkers, go, Othello - lots of games with simple rules have more complex strategy.  I think Yoggity (while admittedly not as strategically deep as chess or go) falls in the same boat - it's easy enough to learn how to play, but playing well requires some careful thinking.  I've lost a number of games of Yoggity because I made deals that ended up being bad, but I was convinced at the time that I was being very clever and helping myself out more than my opponents.

If I can get people to recognize that complexity while still appreciating the simplicity of the rules, then I think I've got a game that's a winner for a bigger audience.  People justifiably don't like games that are too simplistic, but they also don't generally like games that are byzantine, particularly if they're non-gamers.  I don't know for sure, but I suspect the Memphis judges were pretty hard-core gamers (which you'd expect for convention goers who volunteered to judge a contest).  So, maybe they were looking for something they could really sink their teeth into, rather than a lighter game like Yoggity.

A real commercial success, like Settlers of Catan, has simple rules but complex interactions, which makes it both accessible and deep.  That's what I was shooting for with Yoggity, but the Memphis judges only saw the accessible part.  So, I have to figure out how to showcase the depth, too.

1 comment:

  1. So have you decided how to tackle the judges "ruling" (or maby input should be a better word)? I am thinking you can go three ways ither add more strategy to the game, accept the rulings and maby re-theem it as a kids game or ignor them becaus they are woring and do not know better. But then comes the funny part if you choose door number three.

    Why do you think the judges left out a big part of the strategy in the game? Did they miss it or did they not play the whole game? Or do they not think what you refer to as strategy is some mundane thing a 3 year old can do?

    I would love to hear what you plan on doing with the judges feedback and whats youre next stepp.

    Best regards