What Do Prototypes Prototype?

Will players still be engaged when it’s not their turn?

This is an important question to answer since Jenga players don’t have much to do in between turns, so it is easy for them to zone out. For our prototype, we’re trying to create challenges for each player to do to make it harder and more fun to pull out the block. This will also make it more fun for other players to watch. We are also including collaborative challenges that involve working together with or dueling other players. Splitting players into teams may also lead to stronger rivalries and more engagement. We predict that team-based Jenga, along with funny and collaborative challenges, will make the game fun for all players.

Will the game get boring after just a few rounds?

Jenga is a pretty straightforward game and can get repetitive after a while. We’d like to address this issue so that users will continue to want to play our game. We’re experimenting with a couple prototype variations (dueling Jenga, challenge card-based Jenga, team-based Jenga) to see which one leads to the most engagement. Having all these challenges will probably make it much easier to knock down the tower. We wonder if it would make games end quickly. We also wonder if the process of rebuilding the tower would be too tedious for players to continue doing multiple times. We’re trying to address this by taking off points for knocking down the tower, but not ending the game when it happens. This may incentivize users to continue playing. Even with these additions, I still predict that the game by nature will lose some a lot of excitement after the first couple rounds.

What kind of points system would be most fun and rewarding for players?

This is an important question because the rewards decide the winners and losers of the game, and we want to make it fair but not boring and predictable. For our prototype we will divide the different challenges in categories worth 1, 2, or 3 points depending on the difficulty level. Players can get points on their turn by successfully completing the challenge on their card. They can also receive or lose some points on other people’s turns if they are targeted for the dueling/collaborative challenge cards. This adds some uncertainty to the points system so it is not just a linear process. By losing points when someone knocks over the tower, the hierarchy of players can also change at any point. My guess is that the dueling/collaborative challenges will be the most fun for players, and that this can lead to more strategizing. Top players may lose their place more easily which will make it fun for other players to steal the lead.


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