MDA of Go Fish

A game that I love is the card game called “Go Fish.” I played this game during winter quarter, and there are a certain set of mechanics that create a dynamic that makes the game fun for me in a certain way.


In the way that I learned how to play this game, the mechanics of the game include the fact that the game is won by the player who obtains the most sets of four of a kind. A player does this by asking (when it is their turn) another player whether they have a certain card number (ex: “do you have a six?” or “do you have a king?”). The player who asks the question must have at least one card of that number already in their hand in order to ask for that card number. If the player who was asked the question has at least one type of that card number, they must give all the cards of that number to the player who asked them. Otherwise, the player who was asked says “Go Fish” and the player who asked the question must draw another card from the pile (each player starts with seven cards). If a player has four of a kind, they lay those cards down face-up for everyone to see. At the end of the game, player with the most sets of four of a kind wins the game.


As a result of the mechanics of each player asking (when it is their turn) another player if they have a certain card number, certain dynamics are created; the dynamic is that players will oftentimes memorize who has asked what card number in order to try to keep track of where the cards are; players also know that other players are also trying to memorize where the card numbers are, so they might try to strategize in certain ways to try to throw other players off or not give out too much information regarding their own cards.


The aforementioned dynamic creates a certain kind of fun for me, which is categorized as “Challenge,” or a “game as obstacle course.” For me, this type of “challenging” or “obstacle course” fun (which is created by the dynamic of trying to memorize who has asked for what card numbers, which is in turn created by the mechanics of players being required to ask out loud for a card number) is an engaging way to spend time with friends on trips.

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