Deep Water Games would like to congratulate Jeff Black on winning our 108-card game design contest with his submission Xihe and the Sun Crows. Overall, we received 26 entries into the contest and were incredibly impressed with the quality of submissions and applaud all that applied! It takes a lot of guts to submit something you worked on, and we appreciate everyone who participated.
The team at Deep Water rated the games on a scale of 1-5 in the categories “Fun Factor”, “Connection to Story”, and “Adherence to Rules”. While only one entry could win, we wanted to recognize some fantastic runners-up that we thought deserved attention. These all scored at least an average of 4.5 on our 5-point scale.
If any publishers would like the contact information for any of these games that believe would fit their line, please contact ian (AT) deepwatergaming (DOT) com.
In alphabetical order, the runners-up are:
Animal Kingdoms – Steven Aramini
We love this area control little beast. There is a TON of game in a little package. The way it blends area control with hand management would make it a valuable addition in any collection. Another huge positive note was that Steven took a lot of time crafting the look of the rulebook so that it supplemented already good rules with functional visuals.
Arcanum University – Patrick K Slagle
This one was a sleeper hit for us. At first glance it didn’t look like it had much depth, and then I took a deeper dive. DANG, this game has potential. The core mechanic is one of the coolest things we saw in this contest. We love that you just have to pick a row or column of a grid of cards, and you HAVE to take everything, even if you don’t want it. It creates tension from turn to turn, due to other players hoping the others pick a column so they can grab the row they really want. With a simple set collection mechanism setting on top of that killer mechanic, we think this game can go far.
Gladius – Victoria Cana and Alexandre Uboldi
This thematically was one of the strongest games that was submitted to the contest. I’d also like to call Victoria and Alexandre out on their rules for having a hyperlinked index. That was pretty neat. The game itself is basically the coolest part of Spartacus: Blood and Sand boiled down into a tight little card game. I love S:B&S, but it is LONG. I’m amazed that this game plays in 30 minutes! The bidding mechanic drives the game, but keeps the current leader secret, so the game stays tight throughout. We were really impressed with this one.
Until Proven Guilty – Sarah and Will Reed
This noir detective game had Nolan, our CEO, gushing about the story. (He’s a sucker for the theme.) It’s a careful tightrope that Will and Sarah have created. The deduction element in this game forces the players to infer knowledge from what others do to make the best decisions and win! Every turn, you have to make a difficult decision about whether to Testify, which gives definite information to your opponents, or Corroborate, a risky strategy which could end very badly for you! Great presentation of the rules, and it was clear that the mechanics were built into the theme in a way that felt seamless.