What Do Prototypes Prototype?

How much time should players have to craft their responses?  

As the sole timed portion of the game, it’s crucial to get this right—enough time for players to give quality answers, but not so much that they overthink things or finish wildly early. To answer the question, we can prototype using timers of different lengths, or even no timer at all (which would functionally give everyone until the final player finishes)—these would be implementation prototypes. My hunch would be that it’s better to time things than to not, with around 5 minutes or so being an appropriate duration. 

How should scoring work? 

People want to win any competitive game, so… scoring is obviously important. Like with timing, the most natural way to see if the scoring system is achieving what it aims to achieve is to use an implementation prototype, and experiment with different numbers. A quicker approach than playing repeatedly with different totals would also be to track results from a slew of games, plug in different scoring systems, and see what format generates winners closest to what feels right. Ex ante, I might say something such as 1 point for every vote and an additional 3 points for unanimous win in voting, but that may depend on the number of players. The challenge here will be keeping things simple enough to score quickly while also ensuring that the tabulation feels authentic. 

Should we have multiple rounds? 

Yes, I’m in favor of exploring every single one of these key levers around the game. The number of rounds is pivotal in that it informs/is informed by the prior questions, and ties into more philosophical components of the game as a whole (e.g. how long do we want it to take to play?) The solutions could work in tandem, since a shorter timer might allow for more rounds, for example, but we wouldn’t want it to come at the expense of the quality of play. It’d be another implementation prototype here, and I think we might want 2 or 3 rounds to be considered one “full game,” but it may not matter that much in the end (nothing would be preventing players from doing a single round ad hoc if desired).

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