Exercise: What do prototypes protoype?

My group will be creating a game the combines the concepts of hot potato and taboo. Players will work in pairs to get their partners to say a word on a card, without using any of the listed forbidden words. If they get their partner to guess the word, they can pass the dynamite to the next pair. If the dynamite explodes on a pair, then that pair is out of the game, which continues until there is one team left.

Question 1: Would players build a better social connection by customizing their cards?

  • Since our game is meant to played in a group setting, we really want our players to build connections with there people they’re playing with.
  • To answer this, we can include a set of empty cards that can be customized and edited by players that include their own words and forbidden words. These words can have a theme that all players have in common.
  • Although making customized cards with a shared theme may add social connection, I think players will prefer to have cards that already contain words on them. I don’t anyone wants to spend that much time on a party that’s meant to be quick and easy

Question 2: How will the dynamite function during the game?

  • The purpose of the dynamite/bomb is to add tension and competitiveness, so it’s important that we think about how it will look like during gameplay.
  • We could build a couple of prototypes to see which one players like more. One could be a physical object that players pass around that vibrates and makes an explosive sound once the timer goes off. Another one could be a simple timer that’s set in the center and alarms the players once time is up.
  • I think players may like a physical object that they pass around. It gives a truer feeling of holding something that’s dangerous and it adds a tactile aspect to out game.

Question 3: What happens when a player says a forbidden word?

  • The forbidden words are another source of stress that adds fun to the game. Thus, it would be meaningful to express the seriousness and the possible punishment that comes along with saying a forbidden word.
  • In one prototype, players simply put down their current card and pick up a new one. In another prototype, the timer on the dynamite could be reduced. And in a silly prototype, we could make a squeaky hammer that other players can use to punish someone that says a forbidden word.
  • I think that best option would be to reduce the dynamite timer and make the player pick up a new card. This way, players wouldn’t be able to say forbidden words and make their partner guess the word while simultaneously reducing time for the next team.

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