Sylvia – Best Games Fest

3:10 To Nashville

In this game, there were two teams assigned by red and black cards (outlaws and law enforcement). The goal was to wander around a predetermined game space made up of several blocks of the city, and to find members of the opposing team and duel with them. Each player was given a hand of 6 cards which they could use to duel by drawing one card. The card with the highest value would win the duel and capture one of the loser’s cards. At the end of the game, players would report back to their team leader with the cards they captured, and the team leaders would face off in a final duel with these captured cards.

Interestingly enough, what I found was the most fun part of the game was the “roleplaying” aspect of it. To initiate a duel with someone you encountered on the streets, you would have to say “Are you from Nashville?” and they would have to respond “Dem’s fightin’ words!” and the duel would only commence after this exchange. This increased the Western cowboy theme of the game, which was fun. It’s interesting to me that what I viewed as funnest part of the game was just a small ritual which didn’t really have any affect on the core game mechanics themselves. This shows that even the smallest thematic elements of a game can have a huge impact on the game experience.

To make Nashville better, I would suggest giving players larger hands of cards, since I ran out of cards really quickly and would have enjoyed having more time to wander around and duel with people. Also, duels were decided basically on chance (i.e. who was lucky enough to get a higher value card) so it would have been more interesting with more complex rules (maybe making the different suites have different power-ups, maybe letting the teammates you were walking around with be able to help you in the duel, etc.)

Turtle Wushu

This game was basically Joust. The core differences were that in Joust there are cool electronics involved (accelerometer in the playstation move controller, cool lights/atmosphere etc.) whereas in Turtle Wushu you have to balance a plastic turtle on your hand and try to knock off turtles from other players’ hands. I think Joust definitely has a stronger play atmosphere, but Turtle Wushu did add an interesting element to the game, which is the concept of protecting this turtle figure. By having a cute object to protect rather than just a glowing sphere, it made the object you have to protect more precious and adds more sentimental value to the game.

Time Squares

Each participant in the festival got a card with some sort of instructions on it. You had to trade cards with other players based on the rules of the card, and if certain rules were fulfilled, you could add things to a sheet of paper.

It was kind of hard to find people to trade with, since there were specific rules for trading, and people kept entering or leaving the festival. I only traded one or two cards I think. Also, people were adding things to the sheet of paper in a random way, by just writing the date and some event that occurred in that date. The sheet of paper was kind of unorganized. It probably would have been more successful if it was more of a timeline, so people could see what is happening in each year. It was an interesting idea to keep a kind of passive game going on in the background in the form of Time Squares, but I think in this case Time Squares was a bit too passive. There was no motivation to look back at the sheet of paper and see what kinds of things people were adding to it.

Ladder Toss Thing

This game isn’t listed on the website, but basically it consisted of two orange ladder-like objects facing each other. You have to throw objects which are two balls connected by a string at the ladder and try to make them land on the rungs of the ladder, with each of the three rungs of the ladder being worth different amounts of points. It was a lot harder than it sounds. The game points you earned would be reset to 11 if you got more than 21 points (so you had to get exactly 21 points to win). This meant that you had to be really precise in getting the exact points you need to win, which was hard to do. Overall it was a fun skill-based game.