Project 3 Reflection

I found this game to be the most difficult project of the quarter. Thinking in terms of game mechanics is simple in premise but difficult to execute adequately and even more difficult to execute in a fun manner. Ultimately, in my game, I found that the mechanics worked well together. In the playtest, the players found themselves debating the efficacy of different solutions that they thought were sustainable. The discussions were thought-provoking and got to the goal of the game. The mechanics of the game also worked well, drawing random cards initially helped users get into the groove of things and mimicked how initial city planning may be influenced by others and later more independent decisions. Perhaps some of the difficulty came from trying to design the game on my own or without a wide array of playtesters. But, perhaps it is because the ecosystem that I am modeling was quite complex. Building a sustainable city is hardly easily demonstrated and understood in the real world, let alone in a game. From the experience, I learned that no amount of in-your-head planning is sufficient when it comes to making mechanics-driven games. You may think that things will work well together or go smoothly and ultimately be very clunky when carried through. Going forward, I think that more testing and iteration is the solution to building a systems game. Systems are not easy to understand and games that wish to educate on them have to simplify to help the players, not further confuse them. If I were to do this again, I think I would start by trying to model a simpler system. I wish I had also tried harder to break from the paradigm in my head that games have to look like those I’ve played before, with strict rules and boards, etc. Sometimes the best games are new and make you think about things differently. A game I played recently that made me think about this is Secret Hitler. 

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