Critical Analysis: Competitive Analysis – What?

I played a game called “What?” which is a who-said-what party game where players submit responses to funny questions and then everyone tries to guess who submitted each answer. This game has a similar mechanic to the “Fall” round in our game as well as a similar objective: getting people to know each other better and have some laughs.

Objective of the Analysis

We wanted to learn about what types of questions are best to 1) allow the space for people to be creative in their responses (funny & hard to guess) 2) not make people uncomfortable if they don’t know anyone 3) help people get to know each other better. We wanted to take a look at their dynamics as well, especially how they deal with revealing answers and voting for who they belong to, to avoid handwriting being an issue and to avoid the game being super slow as answers are revealed.

Notable Elements of The Game

There were some great mechanics in the game that were better than expected and extremely informative for our game. For starters, the questions were divided into three different categories, which allowed the question picker to decide whether they wanted to go for a deep question or stay superficial. The second possible question for each card also usually has a blank with allows the question picker to “input” a name of a person. Depending on whether the group is tight-knit or weakly connected, the question picker can decide to write in someone who is present in the group to make it spicy or some famous person to keep it general. We should definitely consider adding different levels of comfort to our cards and making them customizable.

The other cool mechanic I saw was the way in which they revealed answers to the group. They basically have one question master per round to pick which answer they liked the most and that answer is revealed for people to vote. All other answers are revealed for comedic effect but not voted on. This mechanic made the voting less common and therefore less of a burden. Additionally, since only one person reads the answers out loud there is no “handwriting effect” in play (nobody can guess the answer by looking at the handwriting). Sadly, this also meant that a lot of responses were never voted on, which could be frustrating if your answer never gets picked. Moreover, the way the voting works, it is almost better to not be picked as the best response which probably does not present the best incentives for the players. All in all, I really liked the game and there is definitely a lot to learn from it.

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