Tuesday, October 4, 2016

IF Comp '16: The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT!

The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT!, by Ade

The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT! is a parser game where you play an indentured worker in a dystopic future where the only means to freedom is by participating in a card game. There's little story to the proceedings: you either play and win your freedom, or you lose and don't. The story is an excuse for the card game, which is fine with me because the game is fun and engaging.

Int the Game of Worlds two players use cards to manipulate civilizations of creatures living on tiny worlds orbiting miniature suns. It's an evocative image that can only work in a digital environment. Not only because of the impossibility of the premise, but also because the game is keeping track of changes in populations of hundreds of thousands. The goal of the game is to wipe out the other player's civilization or dominate it so completely there's no chance of recovery. This is tracked along several different lines such as population growth, expansion, size of army, or social evolutionary level. The cards themselves either influence your own civilization, impede your opponent's, or change the conditions of the world itself (which in turn changes how the civilizations make due). Additionally, each player gets five "counter tokens" to block a card (and a counter can be countered, and that counter countered, and so on). What impressed me the most is that while the mechanics of how populations growth and evolutionary changes occur are obscured, they never felt arbitrary.

On top of the very cool game itself are very polished aesthetics. I didn't encounter any parser problems, implementation issues, or grammar mistakes. There's also a graphic border that displays the planet for each game and representations of every card as well. It's all very slick.

"The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT!" isn't easily classified. It doesn't fit in well with either the story-based or as a puzzle parser game. It feels closer to a toy. But it's a fun and engaging toy that I enjoyed immensely. I played a dozen or so matches and never lost interests. The Game of Worlds is a neat idea, actualized well, and with style. I don't know how it will do against more traditional entries, but I hope it does well.

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