What Do Prototypes Prototype?

Our group is coming up with a social deduction card-based game that requires trial-and-error to figure out rules as the game goes on. The main premise of the game is that there are some basic rules that everyone knows about before the game starts, but there are also special rules that each player comes up on their own but others don’t know of. It requires a lot of social interaction in our game. However, there are some potential questions our game might raise:

  1. How can people be held accountable so that they do their penalties correctly?
    • This question is important because this forms the main premise of the game. If someone did not penalize people correctly (ex: penalized wrong or forgot to penalize), then other people can’t really figure out the made-up rules.
    • For this prototype: we will have a moderator that knows all the rules OR we will have at least two people knowing each made-up rule using actual cards.
    • Prediction: the moderator might forget some rules but that is fine because the rule-maker will most likely remember their own rules. If there are at least two people who know each rule, then it should be fine too because that means no person has to memorize A LOT of rules.
  1. Will people not be able to guess the rules of other people?
    • This question is important because if people can’t guess other rules, then there will be a deadlock in the game in which players just can’t proceed.
    • For this prototype: we will use actual cards and carry out the game in person normally. We can prototype this by changing the number of people who know each rule (ex: 2, 3, 4… per rule).
    • Prediction: the more people who know each rule, the easier is it for people to guess the rule but the less fun it will be. The confusion part of the game is what make the game fun, so there might be a sweet spot to how many people should know the rule for the game to be fun.
  2. Will the game end within a reasonable amount of time?
    • This question is important because if the game goes on for too long, then people might lose interest in the game.
    • For this prototype: we will  start with different # of cards and see how that affects the total game time.
    • Prediction: the less # of cards we start with the quicker the game will end but it might not be fun because people won’t be able to figure out the rules which will make the game not fun.


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