After several iterations of prototyping, we hope to answer the following questions:
1. How engaging is the game to ALL players at any one time?
This is important because we do not want any one player to simply zone out, be able to tune the game out, or even feel left behind. The prototype we are building is one that aims to engage all players at once — each player hiding an item must focus on keeping their body language, while each “guesser” player constantly surveils each of the “stealer” players. Thus, my guess is that the game will do fairly well in engaging all players, but risks a chance of losing a guesser’s attention if there are too many guessers involved. Thus, finding a good balance of number of stealers to guessers is vital when prototyping.
2. How much conversation, player-to-player interaction, and strategizing with the game inspire?
This is important to answer because a silent game would not be conducive to people socializing, as the point of the game is to be a social deception game. Because players must command other players to act, however, we hope that our game is high in player-to-player interaction.
3. How balanced is the game in terms of difficulty — are there any exploits that players can use to guarantee a fast and easy strategy to always come out on top?
This ties back to what makes games fun and engaging — forcing players to identify patterns to solve the game by finding the most efficient strategy. It’s important to make sure the game’s action cards and rules are well-balanced so that players aren’t able to simply spam use the same strategy every time the game starts. We plan to make prototypes with many different action cards and iterate through play-testing to see how it turns out. My guess is that our initial action cards may have some rather exploitive cards (“jump”, “copy me”), but after editing and introducing an element of randomness will be much more balanced.