Monday, May 20

The Joys of Critical Feedback

And I'm not being sarcastic!

So last weekend as I mentioned last week, my mate Tim was up for a long weekend with his family. During the day we all hung out together and entertained the kids, but once the sun had set and the kids were in bed it was gaming time. We played a few games with our wives and then, later on, just Tim and I burnt the candle at both ends. Included in that were a couple of games of Codename: Vacuum.

We discussed the game and how it was taking shape, but by that point it was very late and some beer had been consumed, so I asked Tim to let his plays sink in and send me some feedback via email in a few days once he'd had a chance to pause and reflect.

I've known Tim since we were fifteen, we were best men at each other's weddings. He knows me well enough to let rip without fear of offending me, so it was great when an email arrived on Wednesday lunchtime with a brief note about how he liked the game, it had some novel elements that made it interesting and then two or three pages of criticism of the bits he didn't like and some ideas of how to address them :).

The current version of Vacuum has been un-changed for over a month, I've played it ten or fifteen times, it works, it's reasonably good and I was beginning to get stuck in a rut. It seemed reasonable, there were no glaring problems or imbalances and I had no idea what I could do to help it progress from reasonably good game to frickin' awesome game of legendary-ness (that's a word right?). Nothing. I was drawing blanks.

Tim's email fixed all that. He sent me some ideas and his criticism has given me some more. I've spent the two train journeys to and from Burton on Trent for Beer and Pretzels doing the next version of Vacuum that will encorporate some of those ideas. I'm firing on all cylinders again. Thanks, Tim!

On the subject of Beer and Pretzels, it was a great weekend. My friend Terry from down south made it at the last minute so it was great to catch up with him, plus all the other people I knew there: Steve, Neil, Paul, Nick and Patrick. It was also nice to meet some new faces: Barry, Nick, Richard and Jo. I think I'll post a proper convention report next week...

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