What Prototypes Prototype

How can we limit the level of communication between players?

This is an important question to answer because the premise of our game is that players can’t communicate the pieces of tetrominoes they have with each other to affect the current decision of other players. We are going to make a paper prototype that has cards with images of tetromino blocks so that players can draw blocks that they are going to have without the other players knowing. Then we are gonna try various levels of communication (complete silence, can say certain words, can gesture, etc) to see what works well (makes the game not too hard or not too easy). I think the communication level will need a lot of fine-tune but I think it will be somewhere in the realm of silence and gesture-only.

How do we ensure that players don’t always win or lose?

This question is important because players will lose interest if they feel like they can never win the game (no sense of accomplishment) or they can always win the game (mastery). I think this question will need a paper prototype with which we test a lot of trivial rules to limit or expand players’ actions. For instance, we might include some cards with joker blocks, meaning that players can use any type of block they want for that turn. We might also allow players to redraw their entire hand as in Scrabble.

How do we ensure that players don’t outgrow our game quickly?

This is a very crucial question to answer. As we saw in our reading “What Games Are and Aren’t”, we saw that games stop being fun and become boring once players master everything and there is no more to learn. I think to answer this question, we are going to need paper prototypes that we can add narrative or more complete objectives to on top of completing the board. I think the prototype will turn out so that each block might have a part of map on it and players have to complete it by maximizing the number of farms, etc.

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