Your First Critical Play!

  • Name of game, creator, platform

Inhuman Conditions,  Tommy Maranges and Cory O’Brien, typically an analog game but adapted for online play (called Robot Interrogation)

  • Target audience (as best you can discover from research or the games messaging)

Ages 13+, as the game description mentions interrogation, “a chilling bureaucracy,” etc. Moreover, the game requires manipulation and careful word choice (bluffing) while speaking: something that younger individuals might struggle with.

  • Notable elements of the game: how many players? What actions can players take? How do rounds work? Do they do anything interesting with player relationships/objectives/resources? (refer to Formal Elements for this!)

# players: 2 (something that I find really interesting, since most analog/communication-related games are more fun with more individuals).

Possible actions: Robots are allowed to speak and guide the conversation with the human in ways that allow them to avoid being caught. On the other hand, humans are allowed to speak freely. However, if they accidentally enact the penalty while speaking, they could easily label themselves as robots.

Player relationships: player vs. player OR player vs. game. Essentially, the game is complicated by the fact that if the suspect is actually human, both the interviewer and the suspect.

Player Resources: The resources in the game are extremely limited: you’re only really given instructions about how to play the game and what questions to ask, but there are no resources such as money, cards, points (to an extent), etc.

Game time: Only 5 minutes are allocated per round, an interesting mechanic given that the entire game is predicated on conversation. 

  • Compare the game you chose to other games in its genre. What differentiates it from the other games? Is it better/worse? How so?

Among Us, Mafia, Werewolf, etc. However, this game only contains two players (where one person is simply the interrogator and the other player is the liar). I personally prefer this game because I do not enjoy lying/bluffing in Mafia games.

  • Was the game fun? Why or why not? 

The game was really fun! I really enjoyed being able to have deep conversations with my friends under the guise of a game. Even though I was initially concentrating on winning the game, I began to ask deeper questions and dive deeper into the story of the person I was conversing with.

  • Moments of particular success or epic fails (in your opinion)

My friend and I decided to play with the small talk deck, but instead of simply asking the questions given, we ended up diving into a deeper conversation about my friends’ strained relationship with their older brother. We ended up talking about what he would say if he were to make up with his older brother, and I began to play the role of his older brother while he attempted to frame his words. What I found even more interesting is that we were only using the small talk deck, again, and that this all occurred during a 5-min conversation.

  • Things you would change to make the game better 

I think the instructions were particularly confusing. Even though the round itself lasted around 5 minutes, it took us much longer (probably around 15 minutes) to figure out what we were supposed to do. However, the game was much easier to figure out when we began playing. I think the instructions could be really improved if they were shortened significantly and more instructions were given in the beginning (before gameplay). Moreover, the game mentioned that we should read the instructions (a photocopy of the original instructions), but they were unfortunately around 50 pages long.


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