Monthly Archives: November 2008

Misreading the Player Feedback Loop

Hello, everyone! I present a case study on the dangers of misreading the player feedback loop.

Zilch: The name of the game and the amount of respect its developers have for the players

Recently a game made its way onto Kongregate called Zilch. Zilch is a simple dice rolling game similar to Yahtzee. Players take turns rolling 6 dice trying to find dice sets that score them points. They can then put these dice sets to the side and roll the remaining ones. As long as another scoring set can be found in those remaining dice, the player can score more points. They continue rolling less and less dice until one of two things happen. Either they score with all 6 dice, which lets them start the whole process over and rack up even more points, or they roll their remaining dice and are unable to find anything to score with. The latter case is called Zilch, and you lose all your points for the round. Strategy becomes similar to Pass the Pigs, where as you continue to roll on your turn and rack up points, it becomes more likely that you will roll a Zilch and lose all those points. The player must balance risk and reward and stop before he loses all his points.

Hopefully that was an ample description of the game. If it wasn’t, here’s a link to Zilch so that you can play yourself. This kind of game isn’t for me, because of how much luck is involved, but it may be your thing. In any case, this is all side talk. What I want to talk about today is the most common player feedback Zilch’s developer has received, and their inadequate response to it.
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