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Game Non-Design: Sumana pointed out the other day that scifi.com has the same lame web TV show tie-ins as any other basic cable channel, featuring games that are rebranded versions of games you've played elsewhere. For instance, there's Frakjack, which you may know as blackjack. Seriously, it's exactly the same. The game blurb says: "It's a friendly game of 21... until Starbuck hits the hooch", but although I heroically played several good-faith rounds for review purposes, Starbuck never hit the hooch, or me, or anything for that matter. Nobody even told me that I had no choice or ordered me to do my job.

Big deal, they subcontracted with some company that's got a bunch of prewritten Flash games and skins them for whatever the client is plugging. I don't really understand the point of these games but it's doubly stupid here, because there already is a card game in the Battlestar Galactica universe, and it's not frakjack. It's Triad. Unlike blackjack, Triad is "a friendly game" instead of a game of one person against a dealer. It's played with cool hexagonal cards instead of standard rectangular cards with the players' own faces on them. And it makes a nonzero amount of sense to do it as a tie-in game on the scifi.com website.

I'm well aware of the reasons why this didn't happen, but all those reasons just throw into stark relief the stupidity of what did happen, and what happens whenever you do a tie-in game without doing any game design.

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