What do Prototypes Prototype?

  1. How do we balance the enjoyable roleplay segment with the functional murder mystery debate segment?
    1. This is an important question to answer because currently, the main piece of our game revolves around the roleplay segment, when players get to use their imagination and craft stories around an identity. We also heard that this is the most enjoyable part of the game. However, it serves little to no purpose for the overall objective of the game, which is to solve the murder mystery.
    2. We will create another prototype, a board game that puts together the roleplay and murder mystery actions, alongside our existing card-only prototype. We will playtest and observe how the responses to these two variations differ.
    3. My guess is that the board game will feel more cohesive than the card-only game, though I think it will still be quite apparent that the roleplay is not incredibly relevant to solving the murder mystery.
  2. How do we ensure that the roleplay segment encourages maximal imagination?
    1. This is an important question because we have identified the roleplay segment of our game to be the most potentially enjoyable and exciting part. We want to make sure that the constraints we impose will positively encourage the player to play their role in an imaginative way. We want to give them freedom to fill in their stories, and we also don’t want to give them too much leeway at the same time.
    2. For our card-only prototype, we will playtest giving the player two options for alibis; this means that the player can choose between two times and two locations to make up a story. We will also playtest giving the player only one option.
    3. My guess is that giving only one option for the alibi might make the game more challenging and actually force the players to be even more imaginative and creative. For instance, if the player unfortunately receives a suspicious alibi or even just an extremely random alibi, it could be quite a hilarious situation for all.
  3. Are we giving the moderator a meaningful and manageable role?
    1. This is an important question to answer because the moderator is actually quite a significant part of the gameplay. Though they are not able to roleplay and engage using player actions, they are the one who must strategically reveal items left at and information about the crime scene, thereby making them the main influence on the flow of the game. It is important that this role feels engaging for the player as well as appropriate in terms of burden.
    2. In our prototype, we will include a reference manual that the moderator can refer to in order to successfully guide the players through the game and selectively choose how much and what to reveal when giving details about the crime scene. During playtesting, someone who is not in our team will play the moderator role.
    3. My guess is that the moderator will indeed feel a meaningful presence in the game, because of the fact that the onus is on them to strategically lead the players in the right direction at the right place. I also presume that since our target audience does have familiarity with this genre, the moderator will also feel okay with their responsibility.

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