MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

A game I love is Avalon, a hidden identity social deduction party game. A key mechanic I will be analyzing is how the outcome of a “mission” is determined. Each round, a team is selected to go on a “mission”. Each member receives a “pass” and a “fail” card and has to pick one to play without showing it to others. (Bad guys usually want to fail the mission, and good guys want it to pass). The main mechanic here is the two cards themselves, and the “anonymous” voting. This creates a dynamic where bluffing, and deception predominates. When a mission fails (because there was at least one fail card played) bad guys have to act like they are upset and surprised so as to not reveal that they played that card. The fact that all voting is anonymous, and determined by just two cards allows players to lie and be deceptive. This is what makes the game fit the “fellowship” category (which in my opinion is what makes the game so fun). Because of the specific mechanism mentioned, players have to constantly talk to others (socialize) and hide their identity or expose the bad guys. 


Another mechanic that helps create this type of fun is having certain characters know more about others at the beginning of the game. For example, when the game starts, everyone closes their eyes and Percival is able to see one member of the bad team (Morgana) and one member of the good team (Merlin), however, they do not know which is which. Once again this allows for characters to lie about their identity. By having some additional knowledge, but not being certain which player is bad or good, Percival must navigate the rounds trying to distinguish who is who, while not revealing themselves. And the way this is done is by talking to everyone asking questions and bluffing.

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