What do Prototypes Prototype?: Pantomania Prototype

What types of words allow players to effectively communicate, but are also not “too easy” for players to act out and guess?

First, figuring out the appropriate level of difficulty will help us create our final word bank for our game. Because this is a speed game, we have to find a balance between words being a “fun” challenging and being “too-hard.” We will create sets of index cards that have different types of words – nouns, verbs, idioms, and/or proper nouns. We will also have decks of cards in different categories, such as “Animals,” “Sports,” or “Celebrities.” Different types of words will be harder to act out (i.e. acting out Europe will be much harder than acting out swimming), and I anticipate longer and more abstract concepts that are fun for the speaking versions of this game might have to be pruned, while simpler and shorter phrases/words will be more suited to charades. By having these two methods of classifying cards, we will ideally be able to pinpoint the cards players have the most fun interacting with.


How long should rounds be/how much longer do we need to extend the timer from the word version to the charades version?

Because guessing charades is a bit harder than having to guess a word based on verbal descriptions, we want to see how long rounds should be compared to the original Phrase Frenzy. We will start out with using the original timer pacing, and if during play testing people express frustration that it is moving too fast, we will modify the timer by using our phones to test out longer durations of game play. I think we will likely need about 1.5x more time for a round.


Do we need to have separate categories of words? Do people like having different categories, or is it more fun to mix all the words together?

The original Phrase Frenzy does not have categories. However, again because we are using a more difficult communication style (charades), we want to test if having game play sectioned into categories would make the game more achievable than having our entire word bank cycled through during a round. We will have flash cards at the ready that are in categories that we can play separately, and then together to see which people like more during play testing. Depending on the answers to the previous two questions, players could enjoy having all the words mixed together provided enough time and a reasonable level of difficulty of all the words. Or, if we find that charades is more difficult than expected, implementing categories could be very helpful so that gameplay is still fun, with victory remaining achievable.

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