Hi! For today’s critical play I chose to play and write about We’re Not Really Strangers!
The theme of the game is to get to know the other players and develop deeper intimacy between the players. This game is playable for both players who already know each other or players who don’t know each other. WNRS has various expansion packs (eg. an honest dating expansion pack) which changes the theme of the game a bit to specify it for specific audiences/intentions. The game promises that players will learn more about each other which is fun as it helps build deeper connections and may ask players to consider prompts they’ve never thought of before.
The first impression that I got from the game was that it felt pretty similar to our game (which is expected as we used WNRS to brainstorm what we wanted our game to achieve). In WNRS the game operates in different levels which increase in intimacy level 1 (perception), level 2 (connection), level 3 (reflection), and then the final card. In order to navigate the levels players pull a card from whatever level they’re on which is similar to the mechanic we use (drawing a card from the round’s specific deck). This idea of drawing a card from the deck adds an element of randomness which I found a bit fun because I never knew what prompt I was going to get. Although in some cases I will say it became a bit nerve wracking as I was pulling cards from the higher intimacy levels because I never knew if the question I pulled would be comfortable for me to answer.
I’m sure people play WNRS with different rules about whether or not someone can re-draw a card, but I think this may be one way to avoid abuse or sensitive topics if the player is truly not comfortable with answering a prompt. It seems like WNRS sets most of the cases to handle abuse to the users. I assume that the main demographic of players are playing WNRS to learn more about each other so I’d hope they would not be aiming to harm each other.
Overall, I really enjoyed WNRS and playing it again after my first time playing it in the section helped me consider various aspects about how to build intimacy over the course of the game properly. As well as getting me to think about what makes an intimate question “work” versus what doesn’t.