P3 – Reflection

It was interesting to work on Get Schooled! after Clinic Superhero, since both are card-based system games. I thought it would be easier this second time, but I found myself falling into similar traps and patterns of thinking. Clinic Superhero was quite complex, and it was easy to keep adding more and more complexity while developing Get Schooled.

The next time I work on a systems game, I think I would want to periodically step back and “trim the fat” – getting rid of any unnecessarily complicated mechanics or rethinking interactions that aren’t fun. The best part of Get Schooled! is the storytelling: but we let that get lost while trying to include the complexities of the real world (different types of educational philosophies, pressure from national policies, different types of courses, special educational initiatives).

One thing that was really useful while developing Get Schooled! was running internal playtests and playing the game ourselves. This helped us evaluate the game more regularly and work out kinks before wasting the time of outside playtesters. I think it will be a good habit moving forward to run regular internal playtests – but with more self-evaluation and awareness of when mechanics contribute to fun vs just add unnecessary complexity.

I have also learned that it’s important to be aware of players’ expectations when designing a new game. I generally like really long, complicated games – but only when they’re designed well and I trust that taking the time to learn the rules will be worth it. I wonder if lesser known designers generally have better success with low barrier-to-entry games, so that more people are willing to give it a shot. I also noticed in our playtesting that our weekend and Game Night games went better: outside of the time pressure of class, people are more willing to sit down for and learn a long game.

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