What Prototypes Prototype

My team and I are working on a drinking game that combines the vulnerable questions of We Are Not Really Strangers with the challenges/dares of Fear Pong/Truth or Dare in a Beer Pong format. We have several different hypotheses about game mechanics that we are interested in testing with prototypes.

1.What is the best way for players and teams to interact with each other?

  • Importance: We are interested in exploring opponent play where teams are pitted against each other, but we are not sure whether for each round, the entire team plays against the other team and works together or if there are representatives from each team that play each round. This is an important question because it will determine the “fellowship” of our game and be important to define future procedures and rules.
  • Prototype: We will probably run two versions of the game to test each player interaction with some members of a fraternity this weekend. The prototype will be a small version of Beer Pong with team truth or dare cards or individual truth or dare cards. We’ll see which one creates greater fellowship with our test groups and choose that interaction.
  • Prediction: I believe that the team truth or dare cards and interactions will be more “fun” for our test groups because it allows everyone to actively participate.

2. How should we incorporate levels of difficulty into the game?

  • Importance: Our team was compelled by how We Are Not Really Strangers has different levels of vulnerability and changes on the intimacy scale as the game goes on. We want to extend game play to 1-2 hours which means we could incorporate different levels of “risk” like WRNS. It is important for us to answer this question because it will help us determine gameplay time and shift the objective(s) of our game. Since this is a drinking game, are different levels even feasible for our audience? This is extremely important for us to figure out.
  • Prototype: We will prototype around this question by creating a set of truth/dare cards that are all of the same risk level and by creating a set of truth/dare cards that are different risk levels. We’ll test these decks with a critical playgroup that is drinking and see how teams react.
  • Prediction: I anticipate that different risk levels will end up being too difficult and take too long. I also believe it would be hard for players that are drinking to participate in these different risk levels.

3. What is the best way to declare a winner?

  • Importance: This question really means what is the outcome of the game? How do players achieve this outcome? Since Outcomes is a big part of formal game design, it is extremely important for us to prototype and understand this question.
  • Prototype: The only way to understand this is to test different rules of winning. For example, one way to win would be that teams get rid of all of their beer pong cups. Another way a team would win would be by completing the most truth/dare challenge cards under the beer pong cups. Another way a team would win could be from achieving different levels of points. All of these different rules determining “winning” will be tested in a loose version of the game where we have a setup of truth or dare cards under beer pong cups. The best prototype will be the one that engages the players for the longest amount of time and helps them toward a clear objective.
  • Prediction: I predict that the best way to win would be by getting rid of all beer pong cups. This is a mechanic that many people are familiar with and it’s easy to keep track of visually as you get drunker. This might be the best way to server our target audience.

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