P3 Reflection: Sugar Showdown

As I reflect on my experience designing the systems game Sugar Showdown, I am filled with a sense of accomplishment. It was challenging to balance the complexity of modeling a system while ensuring that the gameplay remained engaging and fun. However, through multiple iterations and tweaks to the game mechanics, my team and I were able to create an exciting and compelling experience. At the beginning of the design process, we struggled to find a balance between accurately modeling the biological process of sugar addiction and creating a game that was fun to play. But with the guidance of the designer of Pandemics, we pivoted towards modeling a broader ecosystem, where two teams compete to influence a population’s perspective on sugar addiction. One thing that stood out to me was how important/difficult it was to adjust to balance the different components of the game and make it more enjoyable. Nonetheless, what I did notice in our constant iterations is that sometimes even a small change in a component could significantly alter the gameplay experience. For example, adjusting the exchange rate of resources resulted in players using action cards as intended. Watching others play the game was a fulfilling experience. In the final playtest, players fully immersed themselves in the game’s narrative, cheering and laughing as they rolled the dice and tried to outdo the opposing team. The laughter and excitement that emerged from the gameplay was a testament to how hard my team and I tried to make the game an enjoyable and great learning experience. Designing a systems game was more challenging than I expected, but it also taught me valuable lessons. I learned that sometimes it’s better to pick a mechanic and iterate rather than wait for the perfect idea. Balance doesn’t always equal fun, and being bold with design decisions, whether aesthetically or mechanically, can make a significant impact on the game’s enjoyment. In the end, I am grateful for the opportunity to design Sugar Showdown and for the lessons I learned throughout the process. It was a challenging and rewarding experience that allowed me to develop my skills in systems thinking, game design, and teamwork.

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