A few weeks ago we conducted a survey about our contests. Here are the results of that survey. There were 77 responses.
Have you ever entered a game design contest at The Game Crafter?
No = 31
Yes = 46
If you do not participate, why not?
Not interested in the contest themes. = 4
Too new. = 4
There isn’t enough time given to make a good game. = 8
I don’t have tame. = 9
Didn’t know about contest in time. = 1
I’m not a fan of contests. = 1
Don’t like the way they are judged. = 1
Prizes aren’t good enough. = 1
Don’t like community voting. = 1
Don’t like the cost limitation. = 1
Do you feel our judges do a good job of narrowing the list of finalists?
No = 7
Yes = 70
Do you feel our judges do a good job of providing feedback about the entries?
No = 10
Yes = 67
Do you feel our judges do a good job of selecting the ultimate winner?
No = 7
Yes = 70
How do you feel about the community voting to narrow to a list of 20 semi-finalists?
I like it! = 36
I’m not a fan, but it’s got to be done. = 24
I don’t like it one bit. = 8
Comments about voting:
I don’t know how the community would judge a game for anything other than artwork. Unless they have a copy of the game to play, it’s hard to judge a game just by reading through the rule book.
It’s ok..rather have voter score over 3-5
Narrowing down finalists is usually fine, but not a ‘GET ALL YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS TO VOTE’ rush. That’s just annoying.
I like the voting, but not the “paying” with points to vote. That is an equity issue.
It is not a perfect system, and can fall victim to “American Idol” popularity-contest-ism but it seems to be the most effective tool currently available (and I can’t presently think of a better way)
While I like contest themes and how their restrictions spur creativity it would be good to have more open themed contests as well, maybe once a year. You could also let people vote on the next contest theme.
The price limits add an interesting challenge. Are there ever contests with no price limit?
I honestly hate the fact that if I take more time to create a game for a contest I can be punished for it. My time is limited so I cannot constantly work on a game.
Some of the contests appeal to me, but others do not. It might be nice to either have multiple contests running at the same time so I didn’t have to wait so long to enter another, or shorten the timeline a bit.
More minis contests, please.
I put my game in mainly to see how the thing works and the feedback has helped immensely! Thanks!
I think that games that have already been created but not published should be allowed to enter
I know a lot of the contest topics are driven by new products and features that TGC offers, but it would be nice to see something of a topic suggestion discussion every now and then, or a vote on potential future contest topics. Also, the cost limitations can be very challenging, even another $5 could make a big difference in a lot of entries, or a way to submit entries without a box to save that small additional cost for a components-only entry.
Just to reiterate, I don’t mind the voting, but I think there are some equity issues and community members have the same time constraints that judges have. Maybe even more so. I didn’t vote in the last one due to the paying with points. I am trying to save up points for an ad campaign for our game.
I saw the table made by the last judge, with the breakdown for each of the participating games, and while at a momentary glance it looked like a good thing to do, when I saw the points given I was very puzzled. The games were clearly not judged on the same basis (very loose for some, very tight for others). With this premise, the judge looks like an amateur trying to impersonate a professional (and failing miserably), and most of all he looks very partial and lazy.Sorry for that. I do think that your contests are a very good idea. But as long as the judges will be like this one, they look like a sorry mess. Also, a single judge is never a good thing.
Nothing against the guest judges, but I dislike the idea of a single person picking the winner, especially when it’s a different person each time. Also, I don’t feel that that someone that created a good game in one genre is necessarily the best qualified to judge a completely different genre. I’d much rather see a group of community leaders each pick a list of their top choices, and pick a winner or finalists based on which game(s) was consistently highest. If it’s going to be a single person that chooses a winner, I’d like it to be the same person each time.
Keep some contests that are for new, never-before-published games. With those, you can even use some interesting prompts: games inspired by a concept (time-traveling), a song (Over the Rainbow), or even a word (garbage). A new judging category, creativity with prompt, could arise.But open some contests up to games that already are published. A game cannot be entered into more than one contest, of course.Just because someone published their collaborative game before the contest was announced shouldn’t disqualify them from entering.Keep up the good work - we appreciate you.
good fun, may enter in the future….
I would enter more contests if I wasn’t so busy with my other projects. I think the themes of the contests have been very inspirational to many designers creativity.
They are amazing and you should never stop doing them (at least until I win one).
I’ll participate… someday… Keep doing them!
Jt is sexy.
A bit biased, as a contest winner and guest judge!
I understand the need for guest judges, but I wish they weren’t chosen by being a contest winner…. mainly because if I were to win a contest I would not want to be a judge. I don’t think I have to time or resources to dedicate to properly judging a contest… I don’t even have enough time or resources to playtest my own games. Plus, if you’re judging, you can’t participate in the next contest. I think a better prize would be to allow a previous winner to have a say (if not out right chose) the theme of the next contest.
Even though I’ve never submitted a game into a contest, the contests that you have created have at least got me to sit down and think of game ideas that I am currently working on, so I would like to say thank you for creating the contests. Since I’ve never submitted a game for a contest I did not feel it was appropriate to respond to all of the questions and perhaps potentially skew the results.One last item I would like to bring up is that I sometimes find the price limit of game components too restricting. However, I also understand that setting price limits and having somewhat short deadlines is part of the challenge of a contest.
The weight on the market aspect is very high - it has to pass this before the game is played, I would like to see it judged more on the game
I am so grateful this site exists and the contests are a wonderful part of the experience. I may have never finished designing a game without the contest to motivate me. Thanks TGC!
I like the contest because it gives me something to challenge myself with. I am a fan more of the theme based, as it doesn’t stop me from making a certain type of game.
Having the community voting to narrow the field would give people active in the community a much better chance of making the finals since they would pick designs by people they know or who actively campaign for votes. Being a not known member of the community I would feel that any entry I would come up with would have no chance of making the finals no matter how good it was.
Personally, I feel that the value of the game’s seller’s page should have less of an impact to the overall score for the determination of finalists; it seems like there are a few games each contest that don’t make the chance for the finals because they got dinged one point on their site page for not having a tutorial video. While I understand that the sales site is telling about the effort put into a game (and what it will be judged on by consumers), and that video tutorials can help a lot with the understanding of how a game is played, it seems unfair to me that a contest about game design should partially be determined by whether the designer has video recording/uploading capabilities.
First off, I should say that I was one of the people cut in the semi-finals in this last contest. You can decide if that makes me biased in my comments below or not.Second, This is my first contest and the contest isn’t over so I can’t really say much on guest judges giving good feedback or not since I haven’t seen it first hand.Regarding Guest Judges:1) I like that you include the previous winner and give them a chance to judge the next contest. I like that very much and I hope you continue to do it.2) I don’t really like how much power that one person has. No, I’m not suggesting that there is anything shady going on with it but having only one judge will bias the contest toward certain types of games depending on what games that specific judge likes to play.Example: Lets say Guest Judge #1 doesn’t like playing space themed games (just an example, could be anything the judge doesn’t like). He will be less likely to vote for a space themed game regardless of how good the game is. This situation has the possibility of having the best overall game in the contest being cut during the semi-finals just because the one judge doesn’t like that theme/genre/mechanic.This situation could be fixed by having 2 or 3 judges (from TGC/other past winners). Having 2 or 3 people making decisions on the cuts from 20 down to 3-7 games makes this situation much less likely.It’s similar to choosing which reviewer a game designer should send their game to. You want to make sure that the reviewer you send your game to likes to play the type of game you’re sending. It is less likely that you’ll get a positive review back if you choose the wrong reviewer. I think this was mentioned on TGC news page a while back.Voting to narrow down the list to 20 games:1) I, personally don’t like to spam up the chat all the time with “vote for my game because it’s awesome.” If I had done more of that I don’t know if that would have got me additional votes in the contest or not.This specific contest only needed to cut 4 games to get it down to 20 so voting wasn’t as big a deal but if there were more games, say 50+, then voting would be a HUGE deal. You’d see people posting in the chat all day everyday with “vote for my game.” People would have to do this since I don’t know of many people that took the time to go through the 24 games for this contest let alone 50+ games.The bottom line is that I wouldn’t want the chat to turn into a big game advertisement. I use the chat to learn/teach about game design. The chat is the primary reason why I come here and not one of the other print on demand websites. On the other hand, the voting process only lasts for a week so maybe it’s not as big a deal as I’ve made it out to be.2) With that said, I don’t know of a better way of doing it so I’d suggest continuing with the voting process you currently have. :)Lock Store Pages During Contests:Something else I’d suggest you do if it is possible is locking the shop page of game entries so that they can’t be changed if it’s not suppose to be allowed after the contest due date. The reason I mention this is that I did accidentally changed my shop during the time I shouldn’t have thinking it was a second version of my game and not my contest entry. Luckily someone pointed it out to me so I was able to removed the changes I had just made.That’s all I can think of. Sorry for the wall of text.
I like the contests a lot. It is great to see folks try to make the same type of game. We will enter a game one day, but only when we see a topic that interests us, or that know we’d do good at.
I’m glad you’re asking for feedback from your customers but I think the survey would benefit from a choice of “sometimes” (with a comment window) instead of just yes or no responses.
Please, puts more than 3 judges. And the guest can only vote in the finals.
More prizes! I like entering contests that at least have 5th place consolation prizes.
This was my first contest and no winner has been selected, yet. “I am looking forward to trying these games out, congratulations to the Final Five!” This gave me the distinct impression the judge chose the finalists based on nothing more than the game’s shop page and rules PDF. I can accept that for narrowing down the entries to semi-finalists but it makes no sense for choosing finalists. I was also under the impression that the guest judge role was supportive of some sort of committee or pair of consistent judges. I feel a quality game would be easily tossed aside if it doesn’t appeal to the guest judge’s interests. Averaging out the opinion of 3 judges would be more fair and accurate. I am not strongly motivated to participate in the next contest.
Sometimes judges have to think more outside the box in terms of what qualifies and what doesn’t. Designers try to create something new. Just because it doesn’t fit the mold, doesn’t mean it doesn’t qualify.
I think they’re fantastic and quite well run.
If there’s going to be voting to narrow down the list, it would be good to go through first and eliminate any games that don’t meet the contest criteria. It would kind of suck to lose the vote and then have one of the games that pushed you out be disqualified.Some of the checking could probably be done programmatically (e.g. checking that a Miniatures game has at least 12 miniatures) while other criteria might be harder to check.As was suggested in the chat, maybe sorting the games differently for the voting would be good — either by order of submission or in a random order. Having the games with the most votes at the top encourages people to check them out first, which makes them more likely to get more votes.
it’s a shame all the games can’t be played. Narrowing down the games without playing them isn’t fair to the designers since games are meant to be played, but it’s simply unreasonable to ask the judges to play every single game.
Designate some of your veteran TGC designers who are not going to enter the contest as preliminary judges and maybe give them a copy of the winning game for their work. This way you don’t have a bunch of votes spread out (because everyone is voting for themselves or close friends) and the judges would feel that they have a responsibility to thoroughly look at each game.
Maybe overlap the next contest a bit more so we can be working on the next one while the current one is ending?
If the voting thing continues, I think that the list of entries should be presented in a different random order with each page view. This would help give every game get an equal amount of attention which I think is really important for this kind of elimination voting.Another idea would be to require participants with submissions to rate some number of other game submissions (and normalize their ratings so they can’t just give all of the competitors negative scores). I think this would be much better than encouraging designers to solicit votes from friends or others in the community. In fact, non-participation in this reviewing process could negatively impact a participant’s submissions (I think bgdf.com does this with their contests). There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of incentive for third parties to come in and pay (even a penny) to do the kind of work that is already overwhelming the judges.I can definitely see the need to narrow down what games each judge should consider (even 20 game is a lot). I think 10-12 would be a good number to select from all of the entrants in this communal way. And then the judge could pick maybe five finalists from that group to play, and from those finalists “one to rule them all”.
Maybe a vote system with a score component to help diversify ties? (3-5 areas 1-4)Maybe send an e-mail to all crafters with a entry when voting starts so they can remember to vote and rally support? Some of the bottom ones got had no votes. Which may be from the crafters not being aware of voting.
I know they already spend a lot of time on the contests but I wish the judges could give even more information about the games and why they picked them etc. Over all though I think it works pretty well.
Just becoming a finalist requires a lot of hard work. I’m wondering if between the time the finalists are chosen and the winner announced, each of the 5 (or however many) could be highlighted in that time period in the news feed or something.
The price limits really hinder creativity and sometimes force people to release lite versions of their games, which I could personally, never be proud of.
It’s a great way to inspire people to design something out of their comfort zone. Keep it up!