What Do Prototypes Prototype? — Anooshree Sengupta

Are the look and feel of the game’s elements intuitive?

A key part of any social game is ensuring that it’s easy and straightforward to learn and play, as we want players to focus on becoming more familiar with each other instead of struggling to understand how each piece works. In order to try to intuitively combine Twister and truth or dare, we built a spinner corresponding to the person/object you have to touch in Twister, and a deck of cards that specifies the exact body part to be touched, or a truth or dare. While I don’t think that drawing cards and occasionally using the spinner will be overwhelming for players, I can see it initially taking some time for them to connect the body part on the card with the section on the spinner.

Are players comfortable with the game’s role in their social lives?

While the goal of this (and most) social games is to encourage a group of people to engage with each other and enter a “magic circle,” we want to make sure that we don’t force players to reveal information or be interacted with in a way that makes them uncomfortable. We hand-wrote the truths and dares, and gave players the option to touch an object in the room if a certain player isn’t comfortable being touched. Hopefully, play-testing will reveal if players will answer a truth/dare (as refusing to answer results in elimination and means that the game will be shortened) or opt out of being touched; in either case, we will have to adjust the contents of our cards. I think that some of the truths may make people uncomfortable but still believe the majority of our cards are reasonable for an age range of 16+.

Are people entertained by the prototype’s role?

In section, Eugene warned us to look out for people checking their phones during the game, as it indicates that they are bored or feel irrelevant during their turn. Because our prototype involves interacting with other players during your turn (remaining in a Twister position, telling a truth, or completing a dare), it is built to measure engagement amongst players; if we notice a lack of interest in completing each card or listening to other players, we will know that it is boring. I think that the fast pace of our prototype will eliminate boredom, but I also think that some of the truths/dares may cause period of silence as players decide to complete them.

About the author

Hi! I'm Anooshree (she/her), a senior from San Jose, CA! My favorite game of all time is probably an escape room I did in Portland, OR, but I have and continue to love playing Settlers of Catan :)

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