Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable…

  • Name:
  • Creator: @ticedev
  • Platform: Web App is a drawing game targeted at anyone with a computer in groups up to 12. It seems to tailor towards artistically minded/creative people who want to improve their ability to sketch concepts quickly. While multiple people can join together and join a “private room”, the game makes it easy to play with strangers in a public room where people can come and go freely.

There are up to 12 players per game. Players take turns. On a player’s turn, they choose one word out of three and draw that concept digitally within a time period. Everyone not drawing has to guess the word from the drawing, number of characters, and hints revealing characters from the word over time. The drawer receives points based on how many people guess the word and the guesser receive points based on what order they were able to guess the word. Additional mechanics include “like” and “dislike” emoticon buttons and the ability to kick out players for any reason as long as a certain threshold of players vote to kick. After each player draws three times, the player with the highest score wins the game.

The ability to like/dislike and kick are interesting mechanics because it forces people to play the game the way the majority of players want. If the group wants to play in the “intended” way they can, and if people want to get silly and draw things unrelated to the prompt, that is allowed as well if the majority of players agree.

This game provided expressive fun as well as competitive fun. The drawing allows for a lot of freedom of expression with many tools such as colors, pen sizes, fill buckets, and erasors. The competitive aspsect is not intense but rewards players for doing well and getting first place.

The game works because of its simplicity, the ability for anyone to join, and the expressive toolkit for artists. Many things can be improved. The ability to join a game at any time allows the rooms to be more full but hampers the ability to create relationships and fully experience the game. If you are randomly placed into a game in session, there is little incentive to be competitive as everyone else already has more points. As a result, people joining later often drew random unrelated things and gave up.

Additionally, many people got frustrated throughout the game and opted to instead write the word instead of drawing. For friend groups, social pressure to not do this may be enough to prevent this practice, but for random people the pressure does not exist. More emphasis on not writing the word, or a button that people can press saying the drawer wrote the word that does not kick them but cancels the current round may be a good remedy for this problem.

I also felt that giving people more choices for the categories that others would have to draw could add more freedom of expression to the game for the people waiting for their turn instead of completely randomly chosen categories.

This game was very similar to Drawful by Jackbox Games. I liked this game better for the online component and better drawing tools such as colors and a fill bucket. I preferred Drawful better for its structure (everyone gets to draw at once), and for its better communication of rules and point distributions.

You do not need to get vulnerable for this game unless you are self conscious about  your drawing skills. It is entirely up to the player to make their drawings as generic or personal as they desire. I believe that people playing as a group who already know each other could be more personal with their drawings including stuff like inside jokes or past situations into their illustrations.

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