Short Exercise: What do Prototypes Prototype?

Is 1 minute per round a sufficient amount of time (too long or too short)?

  • The amount of time each player has to draw their abstract art significantly impacts everyone’s experience. Too little time means that the teams will have a hard time guessing what’s being drawn. Too much time and the game might become too easy. A good time limit helps make the game properly challenging and fun for players. To prototype this, we’ll use a timer with various starting times to experiment with and see how players react. My guess is that roughly 1 minute is the sweet spot, since Pictionary uses 1 minute.

What “abstractions” will players enjoy?

  • We want the game to be fun and challenging, and a big part of the drawer’s experience is what abstractions (restrictions) are imposed upon them, such as only being able to draw using triangles for that round. To prototype which abstractions players like best, we’ll use paper cards with various options for abstractions on them for players to draw with. We can observe how the player reacts to the abstraction and ask them about their experience afterward. My guess is that abstractions that are simple to execute (like only being able to draw triangles) or funny will be well received.

What hints are helpful (and not too revealing)?

  • Teams can buy a hint for the current prompt being drawn using money they’ve accumulated from winning previous rounds. We want hints to help the team that’s guessing, but we don’t want a team without a hint to have absolutely no chance of winning the current round. To prototype this, we can write out different versions of a hint for the same prompt and time how long it takes for another player to correctly guess the drawing. My guess is that short hints, such as 3 word riddles, will find that sweet spot.

How many rounds should be required to win?

  • The number of rounds determines if the game feels too long, too short, or repetitive. We can prototype what’s a good fit for the number of rounds by playing multiple games of Abstractionary and trying out different numbers of rounds (i.e. 3 vs. 5 vs. 7), then asking players about their experiences. My guess is that 4-5 rounds will be best, since it gives every player a chance to be the drawer without dragging out the game too long.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.