As a former food service worker, there have been many instances where customers would be very rude and harass the workers if their orders did not come out fast enough. Therefore, for P3, I worked with two classmates to build Chipot-play, a systems game that models a typical Chipotle establishment. We felt that this game would be a good opportunity to show what fast food workers go through on a regular basis behind the counter so that players would have more empathy towards workers and better understand how a fast-casual restaurant, specifically a Chipotle establishment, operates. In this game, players will be working at a newly opened Chipotle establishment, where they will encounter a variety of customers with complicated orders, real-life scenarios, and financial decisions that could affect the fate of the fast-casual restaurant. This game is supposed to elicit both “challenge” and “fellowship” types of fun, as players encounter many obstacles throughout the game (e.g. time pressure, difficult customers, spoiled ingredients) while working together to accomplish a singular goal.
In my opinion, the game mechanics worked seamlessly to mimic our intended system model, a Chipotle establishment. In a fast-casual restaurant, every worker has a role and certain skills that others are not capable of—this is reflected in the different powers that the Manager, Kitchen, and Cashier possess. Since managers are usually given to workers who have the most experience, Chipot-play’s Manager has the most skills/abilities in turn while the other two roles are more niche. Additionally, since Chipotle processes orders in a factory-line process at the kitchen counter, in which every worker contributes to one order, we modeled that process by having every Crew member take turns to play action when serving customers. With this, players have to learn how to work together to balance the ingredients, and orders under time constraints. Similarly, since Chipotle prides itself on having fresh ingredients if Crew buys too many ingredients, those ingredients go bad and they have to count it as a loss. This happens in a lot of restaurants—restaurants tend to overproduce and have to throw out the leftover at the end of the day.
Throughout this project, I learned that building systems games can be very difficult, especially when writing the rules. There are so many moving parts to these ecosystems that it can be hard to keep track of. When our group revised rules, we would sometimes forget how it would affect other aspects of the game—these holes would be present in some of our playtests, as players would be confused about how to proceed in some parts of gameplay. This made me more aware of how specific and cohesive rules need to be. Other than that, it was very entertaining to watch others play it. The time pressure in the game was intended to cause stress and playtesters were playfully yelling at each other to try and get as many orders completed, which meant that we had accomplished our goal.
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