skribbl.io is a judging game where one player gets assigned a secret word from one of 3 options that they then have to illustrate and have other players guess what it is. It’s a really fun drawing-focused game where players earn points for either drawing really well (measured by the number of players who guess your drawing correctly) or by guessing/judging other people’s drawing correctly (the earlier you guess correctly relative to other players, the higher your points) .
At its core, skribbl.io espouses a kind of fun primarily centered around social fellowship. The game encourages players to connect with each other and take part in a competition that helps them bond better through a light (and oftentimes) funny activity. Other kinds of fun that the game creates are expression (players can only use their artistic prowess to illustrate or identify objects accurately) and challenge (players have to draw or guess the object in limited time in order to earn points and rank high).
THE FORMAL ELEMENTS
In terms of formal elements, the game pitches 2-8 players in a multilateral competition with the objective of earning the most number of points after 3 full rounds. For the procedure, each round has all players draw an object once within a 80 second individual time-limit. The rules prohibit the player from using words, or any textual hints to clue other players about their word.
For resources, players get to use an assortment of brushes/pencils, colors and a drawing canvas to illustrate their word. Non-drawing players are provided with a chat box to type their guesses in (other players can see their guesses). These players also get hints in this chat-box as time runs out. This chat-box and drawing canvas establish the boundary between the game and outside world. At the end of 3 rounds, the player with the most points wins the game as the final outcome.
RESOURCES CREATE FELLOWSHIP
While I do think the game has a fairly simple collection of elements, I think what really nails the social fellowship fun of skribbl is its rich set of resources. Not only are players provided with an expansive set of easy-to-use tools to illustrate their word, the chat-box feature in skribbl really helps in creating a community amongst players all focused on the same goal. Wrong guesses in the chat box add to the humor of the game, while almost right guesses have players scrambling to find the exact word. These collection of resources aid the development of bonds between players engaging in a light and friendly competition, and are at the core of skribbl’s fun.
AN IMPROVEMENT TO MINIMIZE RULE-BREAKING
In terms of improvement, I think skribbl is generally a really fun game already. For me, the only thing that minimizes the fun is when players abuse the rules of the game, such as drawing letters to type their object name. This takes away from the challenge of the game, and prevents the sort of bonding and fellowship that would’ve occurred had the players legitimately focused on guessing the word. I think one interesting addition that could be explored is some sort of automatic penalty that could be imposed on a player for drawing letters (maybe a points reduction). This could disincentivize players from skirting the rules, and ensure that the game’s fun is not disrupted.