Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable…

Name of game:

Creator: @ticedev

Platform: online

Target audience: anyone who likes to draw or guess what other people (friends or strangers) are drawing

Formal elements:

  • Number of players: 2-12
  • Actions people can take: choose a word to draw, draw a word, guess a word
  • Rounds: There can be 2-10 rounds. In each round, each player gets to draw a word while all other players guess the word. Move on to the next round when all players have drawn.
  • Mechanics:
Players Multilateral competition (everyone’s against each other)
Objective Race (to guess the word as quickly as possible)
Outcome Non zero-sum game (everybody gets points whoever has the most wins)
Procedures You can join a game with strangers, or create a private game and invite your friends to join. In the game, players take turns being the drawer once in each round.

  • When it’s your turn to draw, you can choose a word from 3 options, and draw that word in 80 seconds, while other people try to guess the word. The number of letters in the word is indicated above the drawing.
  • When somebody else is drawing, you try to guess the word and type your guesses into the chat to gain points. Time matters – the earlier you guess it correctly the more points you earn.

The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

  • Each word has a time limit of 80 seconds by default, but can adjust (between 30-180 seconds).
  • When drawing, you can use different colors, brush sizes, and tools such as fill, line, rectangle, etc.
Resources The online platform, consisting of a list of players + current rankings, a chat, a panel for the drawing, a round indicator, and a timer.
Boundaries The boundary of the game is the online virtual room. When you’re drawing the boundary is the rectangular canvas.

Types of fun

  • Competition: Try to dominate by guessing faster than other players. The timer makes it even more competitive.
  • Expression: Show off your artistic skills! There are a bunch of colors and paint tools that you can use to create your masterpiece.
  • Challenging: Visualizing a word can be hard. Guessing a word (especially from a bad drawing) can be hard too.
  • Fellowship: People also play this game to socialize. You can meet strangers or get closer with your friends. The chat system makes it easy to not only guess words but also just talk about whatever you want.

Why does this game work? How could it be improved?

  • This game works because it is very simple. The rules are so simple to understand, and the learning curve is not steep at all. Therefore, almost everyone, from kids to the elderly, can learn the game easily, giving it a broad appeal. It also does well in creating and balancing the four types of fun mentioned above.
  • This game can be improved by regulating offensive behavior. For example, if people draw sexually explicit things or type offensive words in the chat, they should be kicked immediately. Right now, other players can vote to kick someone out of the game, but in my opinion, such bad behavior cannot be tolerated, and the game should incorporate a detection and automatic kick system. Also, sometimes the drawer just writes the word out instead of drawing it, that should not happen as well because it ruins the fun. Instead of making it a norm, maybe the game designer can consider making it an enforced rule.

Comparison to other games in its genre

  • This game falls under the genre of judging games. But unlike typical judging games, players do not judge cards; rather, they judge each other’s drawings.
  • I think it is better than card judging games such as Cards Against Humanity because there’s more freedom of expression (you’re drawing something completely from scratch rather than completing partial sentences).

How vulnerable do you need to get?

  • You’ll need to show your drawing abilities to other people in the game. If you’re playing with strangers, you don’t really need to get vulnerable because they don’t know you anyway. But if you’re playing with friends, they know who you are and can judge you based on your drawings. Sometimes if they can’t guess your words, they might accidentally say things that offend you such as “you should have drawn ___” or “that was so bad,” so you need to be able to handle these interactions.
  • If you’re playing with strangers, though, you’ll be way more vulnerable to verbal attacks. There are always those players who mess around, join random rooms, and sabotage the game by typing crazy words in all caps in the chat, or draw crazy things on the canvas.




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