Short Exercise: What do Prototypes Prototype? – penny

My group is working on a Stanford-themed game adapted from Cards against Humanity, where players work in teams and can use ‘action’ cards to sabotage other teams. Each round, one team acts as the judge and two teams come up with their own responses (2 max) to the prompt card, which is a Stanford-themed and asks Stanford-related questions. They can replace one of the two responses with an action card, and actions include swapping answers, eliminating one of the other team’s response, or having the current judge stay for one more round as the judge. The prompt card is collected by whichever team provides the best answer to the prompt card, as judged by the neutral third party team.

Should we design standard response cards, or should we let the players create their own responses on a whiteboard?

  • This is an important twist that we are having as compared to the classic Cards Against Humanity, which provide response cards to players.
  • On one hand, our twist offers more freedom to players, but on the other hand it may be too challenging to players to come up with their own responses each time and also unfairly benefit those who are more plugged into campus culture.
  • In our prototype, we will be providing whiteboards and whiteboard markers to players to create their own responses. We will also provide a set of standardized response cards. The players can choose which option they prefer more and we will track the usage rates of each option.
  • My guess is that the free-response option will be more popular, as it allows players to come up with their own whacky prompts.

Is it better for the game to be played in teams or individually? Or should we design to allow both options?

  • This is important as it determines one of the formal mechanics of the game, of whether it’s player vs. player, or team competition.
  • With the same group of players, we will play the game at least twice in both individual and team formats, and gather feedback from the players on which format they enjoyed more.
  • My guess is that the team option is more popular, as it facilitates bonding between team members when coming up with humorous responses together.

Are the action cards useful / fair? Would teams be inclined to use the power-up cards? Do they think they are too powerful?

  • This is important as it is one of the major component of the game procedures. Whether it’s useful determines whether the cards will be used. Whether it’s fair determines whether teams would be disadvantaged by other teams having far too stronger action cards.
  • In our prototype, we will design various action cards with varying levels of ‘power’. We will play the game with and without action cards, and gather player’s feedback on what they thought of them.
  • My guess is that players will enjoy the action cards immensely as it adds an element of competition and sabotage, making the game more unpredictable and fun.

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