What do Prototypes Prototype?

  1. How many players can the game accommodate?
    This question is important because it’s a prerequisite to procedure, hardware and mechanics design. We will need to know the number of the players to know how many cards/boards are needed in one game set! We can prototype this by making a sufficient number of cards/board for single player, recruiting a sufficient number of play testers, and play test with different number of players included. I predict the number would be 3-5.
  2. Is the procedure easy to execute? How to make one?
    This question is important because a complicated/error-prone procedure puts more burden to the host and may ruin the whole game because of any mistakes. On the other hand, an easy-to-execute procedure may not need a host at all, and a group can bring one more player into the game if it doesn’t need a host. For our particular game settings, we can prototype by playing with variation of procedure (e.g. with/without card pile in the middle), and additional device that we think may help with the procedure execution (e.g. a timer, a board for each player, or a helper web-app). I predict that while the vanilla procedure is playable, some of those adjustment will make the procedure easier and let players focus more on the fun of the game itself.
  3. How long do we want the game to last?
    This question is important because it affects the dynamics of the game and also the target audience (how much time the players have?). We can prototype it by varying the number of types of cards given to each player, which in our experience greatly impact the length of the game. We would need to search through different combination of parameters and see in what range of parameters/game length the game is still playable and fun. I predict a good game typically lasts for ~10min.

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