Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2016 Review: The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT!

Posted by Reiko on November 22, 2016

This is a review of a game from the 2016 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT!
Author: Ade McT
Format: Glulx

I was somewhat surprised to see this. It appears to be some kind of spin-off game set in the universe of the commercially published Worldsmith. I played through the demo of Worldsmith fairly recently because of Emily Short’s coverage of the game, and I may well buy the full game at some point. The interface is just like Worldsmith, which means that it’s polished and beautiful. It’s parser-based, but many objects are presented as clickable hyperlinks that trigger their examine commands.

Gameplay takes the form of a strategy card-based game (implemented in text, of course) where the object is to conquer the world and wipe out the opponent’s civilization. Cards are modeled after the Arcana, illustrated in black and white, and have various effects from reducing the opponent’s population over time, starting battles, changing characteristics of the lifeform, the world, or the star, etc. It seems that one often starts at a slight disadvantage and must use careful play to make up the difference. It’s pretty tricky, as there are a lot of factors. Becoming familiar with the cards in the deck helps a lot.

While there aren’t multiple endings, as either you win the tournament or you don’t, each match is a fresh scenario, so the game is very replayable. The entire piece consists simply of five sequential matches of the strategy game. There’s nobody to talk to, not even your opponents (it’s against the rules of the game). Well, you do talk to Diffan, but only to indicate that you’re ready for the next match. Still, I really enjoyed this one, although I would have liked to see a bit more plot or lore in the tantalizingly detailed setting.

Time: 2 hrs+
Scoring: base 7, +1 for subtle strategy, +1 for polished interface, -1 for lack of plot or conversation
Score: 8

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