Team members: Annie Nguyen, Charlotte Yi Feng, Jasmine Steele (collaborated with Miranda and Ember to share participants)
Link to our modded rules: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DLSGeF950Mt_3h_t9nCSSwIC8rmUykJQ_cX84j_AUdc/edit?usp=sharing
Our main mod involved merging Cruel 2 B Kind with a rock-paper-scissors tournament for a fast-paced and delightfully chaotic experience. To incorporate everyone in the giving-and-recieving of the game, teams had appointed “attackers” who would dish out the attack and also recieve the other team’s attack. These attackers had to rotate with every encounter, so that everyone could participate. The game didn’t require the same kind of “anonymous surprise” as the original game (where you have to guess who might be playing). Instead, players knew who they were up against at the start of the game. We wanted to incorporate some element of a “random, anonymous compliment” by adding taboo words/topics for each player. If the complimenter happened to mention the word or topic, the receiver would be safe from the interaction, and receive a free compliment!
After the playtest, this idea could use refinement, as not many players ran into applying that mechanic. The words/prompts could be more specific to the weapons we use during the game, in order to better anticipate common topics (say, if one weapon was to compliment a feature of the other person, “eyes” or “hair” could be taboo words). In addition, the rotation of attackers could be more organized. In our game, we had the players choose or volunteer themselves, but there was hesitation since teammates didn’t know each other well. Perhaps having a written list of new teammates would have helped keep track of the rotation, and also encourage participants to know each other’s names.
Another mod we made was not incorporating the point system. Instead, booty was saved for the end of the game, where players would reward their booty to the player that gave them the most memorable compliment. This aspect went surprisingly well, as players laughed over the fun things they had to share. While it was difficult for some to remember a specific compliment, it did make players think back to the experience and discuss it. Removing the point system made the game have a less overly competitive feel, and encouraged players to be more relaxed at the end.
Overall, the game still provided the core experience of Cruel 2 B Kind, bringing laughter and strangely nice gestures to absolute strangers. There could be more organization to the experience to smooth out the gameplay. The main issue to iterate on is lessening the cognitive overload of the players; ideally they don’t have to think too much, they should simply enjoy the fast-paced flow of the game.