What Prototypes Prototype

1. Are players affected by their opponents’ actions?

A core part of the social/party game is that there is lots of interaction between players. Players should care about the status of other players and be acutely aware of their own position in the group at any point. We will make a prototype with various action cards that allow interaction between players, and determine which fulfill/don’t fulfill this goal. My guess is that the more interaction an action card promotes, the more “fun” it will feel, in particular, the “stack steal” card feels very interactive (less important: “draw two” and “hand steal” which don’t promote interaction between players as well).

2. Are players able to quickly identify who is ahead/behind at any point?

Our game features multilateral competition in which one player emerges victorious, so players need to be able to identify who is currently leading in order to target them with various sabotage cards. We will make a prototype with cards with striking visual indicators of strength (graphics, color coding) to help players identify clear leaders based on the cards in front of them. My guess is that as-is the glance value will be weak with just graphics, but color-coding might help greatly.

3. Are all players engaged at every point in the game?

It’s important that no player falls too behind/gets too ahead that some players feel locked out of the game before it finishes. We will prototype various catch-up mechanisms such as powerful “swing” cards that allow you to greatly sabotage another player or boost your own status. Perhaps these will scale in power based on your relative weakness. I imagine this will increase engagement, but I suspect the variance that “swing” cards introduce might feel a bit unfair.

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