Game Design Contests
The Game Crafter holds Game Design Contests, or as we like to call them: Challenges, roughly four times per year. Prizes vary from things like getting your game reviewed, to cash, to crafter points, and more. Sometimes the contests have a theme, other times they require specific component types to be used. Sometimes they're judged by experts from the game industry, while other times they're judged by members of The Game Crafter community who have themselves won a previous contest. No matter what, the entire purpose of the contests is to provide inspiration. Judging by the results of all of our previous contests, it works very well as nearly every one of our previous contest winners have gone on to have a successful Kickstarter or were picked up by a publisher.
When the contest is announced the rules for the contest will be announced at the same time. The rules about theme and components vary from contest to contest, but several things are consistent:
- A rules document must be downloadable from the game's shop page.
- The game must be publish ready, meaning it has a logo, backdrop, shop ad, action shots, description, and cool factors. It must also have all images proofed, and have packaging.
- This must be a new game created for this contest. It cannot have existed on TGC prior to the contest. This means that the physical game object in our system must be new, and that no variation of the game could have existed on TGC prior to the start of the contest. You can, however, have had the idea for the game prior to the contest, so long as it didn't exist on TGC before the start of the contest.
- All artwork must be your own, commissioned by you, licensed to you, or in the public domain.
- All entries must be submitted through TGC's game editor, by clicking on the "Contests" button.
- Contestants may submit multiple entries to this contest. Each entry will be judged separately.
All games must be submitted through The Game Crafter's contest submission system. It can be found under the "contests" button when you're editing your game. Your game must be created after the creation date of the contest or it won't be allowed to be submitted. Likewise, your game must be submitted before the countdown timer reaches zero. None of the games will be revealed to the public during this process.
You may edit your game and the shop page for the game up to the submission deadline for the contest. You should not edit the game or the shop page after the submission deadline, until the finalists have been chosen.
Once the contest submission period has ended, we move into the community voting phase where semi-finalists will be chosen. At this point all submitted games are revealed to the world. Each person is presented the games in a random order to prevent voter bias.
Some contests get over 100 submissions, which are simply too many for any judge to review thoroughly. For this reason we open the judging up to our community. Anyone in our community can vote for a game they like in the list. Each vote costs 10 crafter points (or 20 if you are a community curator; 20 means curator votes have more weight). By using crafter points in this way it ensures that there will be little to no vote spamming by fake accounts. Each person in the community can vote once per game that they like. Community voters will judge the games on their shop page and their downloadable rule book.
At the end of the voting period the top 20 games will become semi-finalists and move on to the next phase. If there is a tie for the 20th spot, then the game that was submitted to the contest first, will win the tie.
NOTE: This phase will be skipped if there are 20 or fewer entries.
The semi-finalists are awarded a Contest Semi-Finalist accolade. And they can use this larger version on their promotional materials and packaging.
Once we have 20 semi-finalists the judge or judges for the contest will visit the shop page of each semi-finalist game. There the judge will rate the artwork, the action shots, the description of the game, and how closely the game respresents the spirit, intent, and rules of the contest. This is meant to simulate how likely a buyer would be to add this game to their cart. They'll also download the rules and read them for clarity, beauty, style, and fun. Like the semi-finals, this round will be judged on the shop page and downloadable rule book for a game.
If they feel it necessary, judges are permitted to add extra games to the finalist list from those that were not selected as semi-finalists by the community. To date, this has only happened once.
Each judge typically produces a spreadsheet of their scoring system of the 20 finalists along with some brief comments about each game. From this the judge or judges will select 3 to 7 finalists. The finalists are awarded a Contest Finalist accolade. And they can use this larger version on their promotional materials and packaging.
Determining A Winner
After the judge or judges have selected a list of finalists, the games are produced and shipped to the judges. The judges will now take a few weeks to play and evaluate each of the games, usually playing each game several times. The judges have traditionally either created a more detailed scoring spreadsheet for this stage, or written evaluations of each finalist, or both.
Once the judge or judges have determined a winner, they report their findings to The Game Crafter, and then TGC announces the winner on news.thegamecrafter.com and awards the contest prizes, including a Contest Winner accolade. And they can use this larger version on their promotional materials and packaging.