Screenshot of Skribble

Critical Play: (Wilmer Zuna)


Creator: TiceDev

Platform: Web

Target Audience: Groups of people looking to participate in guessing games with others (friends or strangers).

Formal Elements of the Game:

  • No. of Players: 2-12 Players
  • Actions: Players draws a word they choose for a given round, participants must make guesses about the word in order to gain points. Player with the most points at the end of game wins.
  • Rounds work based on timer (30 seconds). Player must first choose a word to draw. After a word is chose, drawer is in charge of providing hints to participants via their drawings. Players that make correct, or close to correct, guesses earn points.
  • Player relationships are strongly moderated and limited in The reasoning behind this logic is due to the trolls and abuses of the platform that some players use on the platform. For instances, users tend to misuse their drawing time to draw obscene messages, which cannot be easily interpreted by the software platform, and thus is presented to players. One measure that the platform has taken to address this is player-reported bans. One particular example is of players reporting a kick-request: if 3 players choose to kick out a player, then that player will be removed from the game.
  • This game is fun when in context of groups. The timer, along with the restrictions on the users who haven’t guessed the word, and boundaries in the “magic circle” help to make this game entertaining for users.

This games “works” due to the variability in players’ experience – i.e. each game is most likely to feel different. Players’ drawing abilities play a big factor into the gaming view, and no player is likely to encounter the exact drawings, providing diversity in the experiences that the players go through.

Screenshot of Anonymized Player Abusing Technology

On the other hand, there are components of the game that can be improved. For instance, there are still users on the site that abuse the platform and present triggering content during games. One measure that can be added/improved are flag-content detection from the users’ input. For instance, image recognition in text can be added to the platform to allow for obscene content detection. In regards to game mechanics, this game experience can improve further if the platform, during game play, made updates clearer to the user. For instance, when users make guesses that are closer to what is expected, the word template containing the hidden word updates without cues shown to the player. This is unintuitive and prevents other players from improving their guesses accordingly.

Compared to similar games, such as Cards Against Humanity, this game distances players further from interaction outside of text. This is done in order to limit the intensity of potentially unwelcome comments or related. Additionally, this game is timed, which allows for the flow of the game to move further in a manageable pace. Overall, given the limitation on interaction with other players and the lack of unwelcome content moderation, Skribbl is worse than its similar games.

End game state of Skribbl

In regards to vulnerability, users are able to shield from sharing their entire identity. Due to the design in interaction and content moderation, users are anonymized and prevented from chatting with individual players, preventing the change of revealing oneself to others and become vulnerable.

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