What Do Prototypes Prototype: Questions – Eunji Lee

1. Are the prompts relatable enough for the players to understand and be entertained by?

Prompts are key to choosing games, and ours is no different! We want our prompts to be general enough that they could apply to 18+ players of many backgrounds, but specific enough that players will find them funny when given to certain people over others. This is an important question that can likely only be answered by getting various people to playtest our game in different settings, and if the answer to this answer isn’t “yes” by the time we build our final product, the game will not be a success ­čÖü

This question is likely best answered using a lo-fi role prototype, because essentially, what we want to know is “are the players having fun”? We want to see how the players interact with the prompts, and what kinds of atmosphere they create in their groups as they’re reading and choosing them. This doesn’t require a super polished game, but we do need some basic mechanics solidified and examples of good prompt cards. I predict that if we have a group of close-knit friends play our game, they will spend a lot of time picking and choosing card combinations tailored for whoever’s judging that round, especially knowing what they do/don’t want in their lives (based on my experience playing choosing games). However, if strangers or people that don’t really know each other play, then the card combinations may not be as funny to individual players.

2. How does team formation affect gameplay? Will it slow down the process and confuse players, or will it give players the chance to be social with different people? How many rounds should there be before players switch teams? 

It is very important for a game to not take too long and to captivate the players’ attention long enough for them to still be learning something – whether that is about themselves or about others. We saw in last week’s readings that if a game takes too long and gets boring, the players are not learning, and therefore not having fun! The thing we anticipate taking some time (and not be as fun) in this game is the setup between each round, where players have to pick their new teams and shuffle around the table to get with their teams.

This question is best answered by a lo-fi or med-fi implementation prototype, since we want to see the details of what it will look like when players have to switch teams and form new ones each round. I am anticipating that players may get bored / annoyed by the process of splitting up teams randomly, which is our initial idea, and depending on the size of the playing space, they might get too lazy to move to join their team, so they just stick with the same teams minus the chooser every round. To remedy this, we may need to think of a creative idea for picking teams (something like a lighthearted version of Crossing the Line prompts – “the X players that want the most children on the left, and X players that want the least on the right” for example) to pick teams between each round, and have a couple rounds go before switching up teams.

3. How do players feel about a cutesy theme about the Fates and the title “C’est La Vie”? Do they generally ignore the theme? Does it encourage lighthearted play, etc.?

This game is similar to Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples, the Trolley Problem, or any other choosing game in that players alternate to choose the funniest combination of cards picked out by other players. However, what differentiates this game is the vibe that we create based on this theme of manipulating life – it allows players to think about their own values and explore a fantasy of what their life could be, while also just messing with their friends and having a good time. It’s important that the theme is mystical yet lighthearted enough to convey that, which is a tricky balance to strike.

This question is best answered using a hi-fi look-and-feel prototype, because we would want most of the artwork on the cards / board done and the instruction manual written to get a good sense of how players feel about the theme. We would also want most of the mechanics hammered out at this point so an integration prototype may be helpful too. I anticipate that some users may ignore the mystical aspect of the theme in order to maximize on the humor (or maybe not even pay attention to the theme altogether) – as long as the players are having fun, this is okay, but if they get bored, we may have to think about alternative themes / things we can add to our designs.

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