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Make it So 2011: The Search for the Next Assistant Designer

by Charlie Plaine, Chairman

22nd August 2011

In October 2009, we started Make it So: The Search for the Next Assistant Designer, and kicked off a reality show style competition that pitted twenty (20) aspiring designers against each other in a grueling battle to join the Second Edition design team. At the end of months of work, Keith "Foreman" Morris stood victorious and started work on the expansion that eventually became Tacking Into the Wind.

Over a year later, we stand ready to invite twelve (12) more competitors into the area of Make it So 2011 as we search for another assistant designer to join our ranks and make his or her mark on the game. We learned a lot from last year's competition and have made numerous procedural changes to shorten the competition and make it more fun for everyone involved, and less intrusive for those that dislike the process.

This year, we will be limiting the competition to a total of twelve (12) contestants. Three (3) of those contestants will be returning from Make it So 2010, and will be joined by nine (9) competitors selected from this year's pool of applicants. If you want to get started on the application, you can check it out here, but make sure to check the rest of this article for important contest information.

The Competition Process

This year's competition will consist of two (2) phases and then The Final Challenge. Phase I will involve dividing the competitors into two (2) teams of six (6) players each, Team Delta and Team Gamma. These teams will work together to face the first six (6) challenges, each of which will ask the teams to design suites or cycles of cards that pertain to specific design goals or lessons.

After each week's challenge, the team's submissions will be judged both by the public at large and the panel of judges. However, there will be no weekly eliminations - the entire team will participate in each of the Phase I challenges. At the end of Phase I, the team that has the highest combined score will advance to Phase II, and the other team will no longer continue in the competition.

In Phase II, the six (6) remaining competitors will face four (4) more challenges, this time working on their own and individually creating cards specifically tailored to the modern game and the game state (i.e. meta). Again these submissions will be judged both by the public and by the panel of judges, and after four challenges the two highest scoring contestants will move on to the Final Challenge.

In the Final Challenge, the two final contestants will each recruit their own design teams and concept, design and build a fifteen (15) card boutique virtual expansion. After being put up for public review and judgement by the panel of judges, the winner will be declared and will join the design team to work on an upcoming expansion!

The Application

This year's check it out here is hosted through Google Documents, so it provides a standard interface for input. However, the application is quite a bit more involved and detailed than last year's. Please make sure to read through the entire application once before submitting your entries, and then take extra care to make sure you answer each question.

The application is designed to tell the selection committee not only about your history with the game, but also about your perceptions about the game's state, health, and direction. Finally, you will be asked to design a few cards in order to show case your skills and abilities.

All members of the community except those that have been on a past Second Edition design team, those that are on a current Second Edition design team, or those that have been invited to participate in a future Second Edition design team are eligible to apply for Make it So 2011. This means that any play tester or member of the Continuing Committee, as well as any member of the community (except those outlined above) is eligible and encouraged to apply.

Applications are due on or before Friday, September 9, 2011. Late applications may not be accepted. The announced list of participants as well as the kick off of the competition will be posted the week of September 19th.

Questions about the application can be asked on the official Make it So forum, which you can find under the Second Edition section of the forums. Likewise, participants and observers are invited to speculate and ask questions about the competition in general.

Are You Ready?

The contestants returning from 2010 are Nathan "GooeyChewie" Miracle, Conno "WeyounsLastClone" Hendriksen and Ben "bhosp" Hosp. Who from the community will dare to join these three (3) returning competitors in their quest to become the Next Assistant Game Designer? Will any of the eliminated contestants from 2010 return to seek redemption?

Stay tuned to find out answers to these questions, and more, as we seek to Make it So in 2011!

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