What do prototypes prototype?

Our group has developed a game called Downfall: A Tale of Two Cities, where players form teams that compete to enact legislation in the other team’s city which will lead to the downfall of the city. Our current prototype will test the experience of playing the game, and the role of the game. The current implementation of the prototype does not test look and feel. 

How quickly until the users become bored of the game?

This question is crucial to the success of our game—if it’s boring, why would anyone play it? I anticipate that in this simplified version of the game, it won’t take many rounds for users to grow tired of the concept, especially if people are not submitting funny answers. I believe based on the results of our testing, we should add new mechanics to spice things up. 

Is the premise / narrative of the game interesting? Are users jumping into the city-building aspect of the game?

In our prototype, to address this question, we really focused on writing prompts that would seem like newspaper headlines for a city. The goal is to make the game as immersive as possible. This question is very important because if users do not feel attached to the premise, we could potentially still pivot the storyline behind the game easily while we are in our early stages. 

How will the flow of the game work? Will users think the game drags on, or will games finish quickly?

Right now, despite play testing our game ourselves, we are not quite sure how the game will flow from round to round. As the creators of the game, we probably have a little more tolerance for the game becoming boring than others might. We need to figure out how to make sure our users feel the game is paced well in order to have a successful game.

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