Inhuman Conditions – Nancy Hoang

For this project I played Inhumane Conditions which is a web application game based on a board game developed by Tommy Maranges and Cory O’Brien. The game is a two player, player versus player game. In the game, one player is assigned the role of the interrogator and the other person is the human or robot.

The interrogator’s objective is to correctly identify whether or not the other person is a human or robot. The second player’s goal is to convince the interrogator that they are human.  This is done through a series of questions that the interrogator is given to ask in a 5 minute round. The second player instead receives a set of rules they must abide by to answer the questions and a punishment for when they do something that does not align with the rule. For example, they could be asked to interrupt the interrogator if they do not correctly follow their rule.

If the interrogator correctly identifies what the second player is, they win. If they incorrectly answer that a robot is human, they lose. While there is no explicit story in mind, there are characters that players could build a story off on their own. If they think a human is a robot, both lose. Due to this third outcome, it is a non-zero-sum game. Given the design conflict is lying under these premises, I would say this game would be reasonably suited for people 12/13 +. This game is interesting because it works on the premise that humans inherently have certain behaviors that are supposedly detectable based on a rule the robot has to hold. The idea that players have to act in the same manner they would outside of the game’s magic circle to win, while under the game’s condition feels backwards and makes people question their own behaviors.

The only game I’ve heard about that is similar to this is Guess Who? where players are assigned characters and have to ask questions to identify each other. This is not necessarily worse, but definitely more difficult given the interpretations required by the players in order to correctly follow the rules. It is ultimately more of a  passive playing game that I would do with one friend when we are waiting for something, given the short duration. I would not break this out for a party and to some degree, I would shorten the investigation time. If I were to improve upon the game, I would most likely figure out how to increase player count and have more examples in the rule book on how to play.

Given it was my first time playing this game, the rules were quite ambiguous and not helpful. This was the major fail of the first round, but after, efforts were redeemable.

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