What do prototypes prototype?

In our team’s game (Three Night Alibi), players must play townsperson roles in a murder mystery, and provide alibis given random locations and times assigned to them. We have card and board game prototypes we want to test, and some of these questions came out of some playtesting we already did.

What is the most enjoyable part of the game?

  • Important because: we want to design on the assumption players will enjoy being more imaginative, allowing people to roleplay/escape.
  • Answer question by: creating a card game prototype where there is a debate round where people can get into character.
  • My guess: It will be fun, but currently in the card game version there is no connection between the debate and actual consequential information surrounding the murder, which is revealed in special abilities rounds.

How do we make the murder mystery more relevant to the debate round?

  • Important because: the debate round doesn’t have any relation to the real info related to the murder (done through a separate special ability round).
  • Answer question by: Integrating the debate and special ability rounds through a board game. Map and alibis of the debate round turn into the playboard with action tiles that can be randomized per gameplay.
  • My guess: the board will successfully integrate both, but I think the satisfaction of gameplay will become heavily based on the weighting/prevalence of different action tiles or the severity of special abilities per character.

What qualities of map/character/world-building allow players to feel most engaged?

  • Important because: we want maximum immersion in the world, but we currently have both Palo Alto and rural French town vibes going on.
  • Answer question by: testing different versions of the board/card game that have a high-tech or medieval theme. Or, just have playtesters not test the game, but read the story and look at illustrations for the map.
  • My guess: It will be completely up to player preference, and we just have to align the roles and story as well as we can.

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