I have a simple structure for reviewing Game Chef games,
First, I record my stream-of-consciousness, reading-it-for-the-first-time impressions.
During that first read, I take notes and divide them into sections that match Edward De Bono's Six Hats process:
- Structural thoughts: What do I think the designer's 'vision of play' is? What will a
session of the game look and feel like when the game is working
- Information: What don't I know? What do I have questions about?
- Feelings: I tend to find I write this section last, as it ve synthesises my other thoughts.
- Insights or Ideas: What would I like to see next from this game? What would I suggest in order to achieve the vision of play?
- Positives: What is the game doing that I find fun, worthy, well-executed, interesting, or unique?
- Structural thoughts: What do I think the designer's 'vision of play' is? What will a session of the game look and feel like when the game is working perfectly?
- Issues: Is there anything that I'm unsure about? Perhaps I don't think it fits with the game or that it won't work.
How does it apply the theme: A Different Audience?
What ingredients are used? How effectively are they integrated into the game? Personally, I don't give this much weight: I see the benefit of Game Chef as encouraging people to write a game. Sticking too closely to the ingredients may inhibit developing the game further.
Am I inspired to run the game? Is there anything missing that I need in order to feel like I can run it? If I don't want to run it, is that because I'm not the target audience for the designer's vision of play, or is there another reason?
I then take a few hours break from the game. I let it settle, before coming back to it.