Dexterity Challenge Winners!
Back in the spring of 2015 we put out a very important call – we wanted your best dexterity game designs! 58 of you answered the call and none of you disappointed; we had an incredibly diverse and interesting group of entries that we somehow had to pare down. When the dust settled we ended up with 11 wonderful games to test out and somehow select the winners. Believe me, it wasn’t easy. Each and every one of the final games sent to us were charming, fun, delightful and, above all, incredibly dexterous! Without further ado, here are the top four designs that took home the prizes.
Valley of the Mammoths – James Meyers
This top entry could only be easily described as Stone Age meets Cube Quest, but even then it would be doing it an injustice. In Valley of the Mammoths, players take control of an early tribe of humans that seek to hunt, gather, and generally survive during the Ice Age. Each tribe starts with a few cubes that represent the tribesmen and take turns flicking them onto the gameboard in various areas representing an early village, hunting grounds, and food gathering fields. The village grants opportunities to upgrade weapons, food sources, or expand the tribe, while the hunting grounds offer tribesmen the chance to take down the famed mammoths for food and glory – ultimately the only way to express superiority and win the game.
BattleHawk – Matthew O’Malley
This space combat battle simulator is really just the core of what could be a whole open-ended system of an expandable, dexterity universe. Players draft spaceships of various designs that grant them several different upgrade options, ship shapes, and shield types, and then use that fleet to carry out a wide variety of mission objectives. Flicking ships around and then subsequently careening missiles, dropping bombs, or using grabby bits to remove hull parts from enemy ships may seem like a fairly straightforward idea, but the overwhelming charm and fun of BattleHawk is a testament to how well Matthew O’Malley has made it all come together.
Pike Place – Steven Aramini
For a contest that subtly proposes a winner that could be a prospective Dice Hate Me Games title, Pike Place is absolutely a home run. However, theme alone will not grant you instant success in the ranks. Luckily, this little card-flinging game’s mechanics integrated effortlessly with the theme. Each round, players start with a hand of cards, each representing types of fish, and take turns hurling those cards toward market orders in the center of the table. If you’re able to complete an order you get money equal to the value of the fish that are currently on the ever-shifting market board. Pike Place was definitely one of the entries that produced the most laughs, and it didn’t seem to matter how ridiculously good – or hilariously bad – each player was at flinging cards.
The Unfortunate Demise of Dr. Chester – Tim Roediger and Richard Vickerey
This particular entry is difficult to categorize, and it’s almost as difficult to explain. In the game, players take on the roles of crime scene investigators who must recreate the scene as best they can from eyewitness accounts. Each round, an investigator selects an odd object – ranging from scissors, to a suitcase, to an upright bass – and places it somewhere on the rug with a chalk outline that simulates where the titular Dr. Chester expired on the scene. Because there are multiple witnesses, some accounts may contradict, overlap, or just skew totally chaotic. Investigators score points by making sure their objects, and their object placements, match the most requirements of each eyewitness account. It’s a bit of brain-burning puzzler and a bit about the balancing, but overall it’s mostly about having a ton of fun.
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