Game Chef 2014!

edited May 2014 in Directed Promotion
Friends, strangers, game-loving folks,

Game Chef 2014 starts this Saturday.


Since our planet has a couple dozen time zones, it may well start on your Friday evening.

Game Chef is an annual tabletop game design competition. It's multilingual and global. On day one, a theme and four 'ingredients' are revealed. By day nine, you'll have submitted a finished game. This year's theme is a doozy. A befuddling challenge. And call me biased, but this year's ingredient list is absolutely my favourite yet (narrowly beating out 2006's "A" set).

The competition runs in eight languages this year, each with a separate coordinating team: English, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Russian, French, and sites for Polish, Slovenian, and Italian to come soon.

English Game Chef is making use of a Google+ Community to share design ideas in motion.

My hope for this year is that lots of people will create weird hot messes that are more ground-breaking than they are polished. And that people will have fun.


  • *anticipation intensifies*
  • It sounds fun but I am going to probably pass on this year, due to a bunch of other projects. Good luck to everyone!
  • Depending on the ignredients I might well join. I have time at least.
  • Trying desperately to finish other projects before Game Chef begins...
  • Um, I might have taken the whole week off from work just in case the GC bug bites me. :-)
  • Also, I'd like to take a moment to mention that submitting a finished game isn't the only way to get involved. You can join the Google+ community and be a thoughtful supporter and idea-sharer for people who are designing stuff. You can sign up (soon!) to be a replacement reviewer, should anyone submit a game but then be unable to fulfil their reviewing requirements.

    Just keep those options in mind, if you don't have the time to complete your own entry but do want to feel like you're a part of the Game Chef flurry of activity.
  • About idea-sharers, how much could a competitor rely on this kind of community kibitzing or is it meant to be very much The Cheese Stands Alone here?

  • Semi-informed opinion: I would not expect to rely on it, but it also depends what you want to rely on it for. You definitely should not expect to get any sort of extended, quality feedback or developmental support -- though you totally might get such a thing, randomly, if the stars align -- but you can probably expect at least some general enthusiasm and moral support. Relying on the kibitzing for motivational help seems to me far more likely to turn out okay than relying on the community for specific help with your specific game.

    A lot of it also depends on whether the community reaches a critical mass of participants.

    (This is based on past GC experiences, but it has been a few years. Still, generally speaking the only year GC came close to having this sort of reliable community support was the year the organizers specifically grouped people into 'teams' and set up forums for each team, etc. And even then some groups were a lot more supportive than others.)
  • Not long to go now. You could cut the tension with a knife.

    This will be my first Game Chef. I've a couple of ideas fizzing round my brain that I sort of hope will work with the ingredients. Another part of me hopes they won't, so that I have to think of something else.
  • About idea-sharers, how much could a competitor rely on this kind of community kibitzing or is it meant to be very much The Cheese Stands Alone here?
    I think IceCreamEmperor's comments are realistic.

    You can rely on a spirit of mutual excitement, with some kibitzing. Beyond that, the quality of feedback and critique you experience is likely a product of: the grabbiness of your ideas, the brevity with which you present those ideas (accessibility!), the amount of feedback and critique you give to others (reciprocity!), and random luck.
  • Ok, that makes sense. Conferring is allowed but not guaranteed. I'll just have to make sure my ideas are extra grabby. :)
  • I think this'll be my second Game Chef. I participated in the earlier Shakespeare one, and got a game that was sorta interesting and in much need of revisal. Here's hoping I've learned a lot in the years since!
  • Game Chef starts this weekend... Camp Nerdly is next weekend... Game Chef ends midnight Sunday (EST, which is where Nerdly is).

    I suspect that some folks in camp will find themselves playtesting! ;)
    And some folks running games in camp will be up VERY late Sunday finishing up....
  • Mee too, last time I only managed to make a lite version of paranoia XP with an elevator that changed PCs randomly. As hilarious as it was to playtest, it wasn't nearly original enough as it should be. Kinda learned my lesson there, there are a few things I'll try again an a lot more I'd like to improve. But again, it's all about having fun and creating a cool sorta playable game, not a perfect one.
  • Czech and Slovak version of the contest, inspired by Gamechef and called "RPG Kuchyně" (RPG Kitchen) was this year already held and it really was fun (we were organizers and coordinators for this year).


    So, we wish all participants of Gamechef to have at least that much fun and good luck!
  • a game that was sorta interesting and in much need of revisal.
    That is, realistically, about the best result that you can hope to get out of Game Chef.
  • edited May 2014
  • I'll just have to make sure my ideas are extra grabby. :)
    Really, the much bigger thing is to make sure you've giving others thoughtful feedback. Reciprocity!

  • I wrote a blog post on the Game Chef site about getting the most out of the competition:

    Try to Make a Mess.
  • The ingredients get revealed at 00:01am Saturday, Seoul time (UTC+9). I don't mean to hype your brains too hard, but, like, we're about twelve hours away from showtime.

    I wrote up posting guidelines for the Google+ Game Chef Community, viewable here.
  • TWELVE HOURS?????!?!?!?!?!?!

    Oh snap that's way sooner than I thought. Wahoo!
  • Yeah, it's the most cheater definition of "Saturday" that I've ever heard.

    I mean, when the ingredients go live, it will technically be Saturday somewhere in the world, y'know?
  • We could go a step further and work with the International Date Line. It comes 3 hours faster! (And may actually be useful if Game Chef spreads further next year, but that's for a later time.)

    Now that I made this post, I will return to dying with anticipation.
  • (And may actually be useful if Game Chef spreads further next year, but that's for a later time.)
    Awesome thought.

    I will put out a survey a week after Game Chef, asking for exactly this sort of feedback.

    Some things about Game Chef have been meticulously planned since January. Other things... have been a bit more haphazard.

  • D'oh! I was just planning to work on the play materials for a game, for testing at Camp Nerdly... but I'd hate to miss Game Chef... but I don't have time to do both... tough call! Maybe the GC theme & ingredients will inspire me with something I can finish quickly...
  • That's what I'm hoping for, Dave Berg! I'm in the same Nerdly boat.
  • Quick question, can a person submit more than one game if all their games are in different languages?

    The wording in the rules is not 100% clear (at least for me):
    "You may only submit one game to one of the participant language competitions."

    I think it is only 1 game per whole game chef, no matter the language. But if I have the option of submitting two (I am looking at Polish Game Chef) I might be tempted to do so ;)
  • One game total.

    If you have the ability to participate in Polish Game Chef over English, I heartily suggest doing that. They're just starting out, and that extra participant will probably be a huge boon to the energy of the community. Furthermore, with a smaller number of competitors, you're more likely to see your game become a finalist!
  • edited May 2014
    I've said it before, but it bears repeating...


    Fill in the blanks however you desire. xD

    You've thrown quite the gauntlet. This is gonna be an interesting challenge.
  • You've thrown quite the gauntlet. This is gonna be an interesting challenge.
    *cackles with nefarious glee*

    I've created a monnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnster!
  • Nefarious doesn't even begin to cover it.

    *rips up preconceptions, stares at pure blank page.*

    Now to write... without writing.
  • Maybe if I can perfect my method of communicating with the Collective Unconsciousness.......
  • Now to write... without writing.
    Well, the theme is "there is no book," not necessarily "there are no words."

    Have words, by all means! Just think about how they are gathered, presented, and digested. Challenge the primacy of the book.
  • edited May 2014
    Woooooow. That's a fantastic challenge. Well done.

    Not officially participating this year, just doing it for myself as an exercise, but man this broke my brain.

  • Well, the theme is "there is no book," not necessarily "there are no words."
    "There are no words" is not necessarily "there is no writing." ;)

    But message received. Any examples of Audio RPGs out there? Just for... reference..
  • Cool. Cool.
  • Serial Homicide Unit is an audio RPG.
  • Thanks Graham. Oh man, Game Chef is blowing my mind.
  • Now that you've said "no words", I kinda dig that idea...
  • no words
  • I'm gonna write a game about Gary Glitter, the Grim Reaper, the Sham Wow guy, and Oscar Wilde working as a team to track down a missing book. Probably the Necronomicon. Because if there is no book in the case that Miskatonic University has designated for the Necronomicon, you know somebody's up to sumpin bad.

    Actually, no, fuck that, how boring. Those four guys are trapped inside the Voynich Manuscript, but all the other inhabitants (the illustrations) are convinced that there is no book, and everything is normal. You play the fabulous four as they try to escape and/or convince illustrations that they are part of a book.

    What you need to play:
    1. 666 dice.
    2. A copy of the Voynich Manuscript.
    3. Scissors.
  • So I probably can't throw fully into the ring now that I'm stuck in finals prep, but this is a super cool idea.

    I was curious about one thing. The section of the site talking about accessibility mentions being able to make the game accessible to the blind, such as those using screen readers. I wanted to know what kind of steps help with this, especially given a theme that challenges the sort of text-writing that text-to-speech readers can easily interpret. I'm sure there are ways, but I don't know enough about technology for blind accessibility or how to work with the blind to understand what options are available to me.
  • This is my brain on Game Chef 2014:

  • Hey horn_head, if you have text in a format a screen reader can parse a blind or visually impaired person can hear it. If you have the equivalent of an instruction manual (like most games) it could be converted into a DAISY-compatible audio format and parsed like an audio book. I think the bigger challenge will be avoiding design elements that require visual identification, like a game that physically lays out cards. This isn't an insurmountable problem (you could make each card with Braille dymo tape perhaps) but it is an impediment.

    Honestly I suspect about 80% of what emerges from Game Chef will be functionally inaccessible, but hopefully people (like you!) will at least have thought about it for half a moment.
  • I haven't tried doing this for a long time (nearly 10 years!), but I happened to chance upon it this year and was inspired, so I've put my application in for the Google Group.

    I'm struggling a bit with the "no book" concept - mainly because of the time constraint, so I'm going with something where each player gets their own "dossier"/envelope with the rules that they are allowed to know at the start of the game.

    Current concept is a game for exactly 5 players set in a gulag/sharashka somewhere in the Soviet wilderness. Mechanics are diceless, and based on bidding tokens for the right to ask questions, expose secrets and other specific outcomes. Each player has their own hidden agenda and whoever completes theirs first gets the right to read their "special ending", which is in a sealed envelope in the document.

    I actually have the main rules and roles sort of done already, but there's a lot of detail to add still. And I have no idea yet how to make it fully accessible, which is a bummer.
  • I had the braille idea too, Jason. At least as something that I could mention. It would be needed if my game uses tiles. You mentioning it makes me think it might be worth including in whatever document I hand in as a mention.
  • I'd like to present the setting of my game through an audio drama, with people reading different parts and including sound effects and music :-) If anyone is willing to read a part (you can just record an mp3 and send it to me), please let me know!
  • edited May 2014
    Excellent, I've got two kind people volunteering their voice talents already!
  • Heya,

    I know someone used to have a list of all the Game Chef games that made it to print and the ones still for sale. Anyone know where that is? And if so, could it be uploaded or linked on the official Game Chef site too? :)


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