skribbl.io is an online, digital draw-guessing game developed by ticedev. The theme of draw-guessing is reinforced by the graphic design decisions to make all the visual elements look like drawings:
Skribbl.io is similar to Pictionary and Draw Battle. However, what differentiates it from these games is that your own outcome in the game depends entirely on your own ability to guess quickly and draw the prompt, not on teammates.
Skribbl.io intends to have the types of fun of challenge, fellowship, and expression. I believe that it does a great job at challenge, but a mixed job at fellowship and expression.
Skribbl.io’s point system procedure facilitates the fun of challenge. Each turn, one player draws an assigned prompt, and the rest guess what the drawing is. The more players you guess correctly before, the more points you get.
As a player-vs-player game, there’s a competitive pressure to guess quickly and accurately so that you’re able to get it right before anyone else. It’s fun and hard to compete against others racing to type out their guesses. Unlike Pictionary and Draw Battle, the turn doesn’t end once someone guesses correctly – everyone can still guess to try to get some points before the time runs out. This creates the nice dynamic of players being constantly engaged throughout the entire game rather than being stopped once someone is first.
In an ideal world, skribbl.io would create strong fellowship as players compete against each other and make connections through the in-game chat. But this chat is prone to some unfriendly conversation and friendship anti-patterns:
Most chat conversations I saw involved abuse. I didn’t see connections being made. Because of the lack of moderation and support for positivity in the chat, skribbl.io lacks in its fellowship. Some people might be uncomfortable by the chat remarks. I would improve skribbl.io by creating nudges towards positivity in the chat, such as pre-typed responses to send after someone draws like “Nice drawing!”; these nice conversation starters could be the beginning of connections and improve fellowship.
I’d also improve fellowship by supporting better ways to build friendships: a friends list would allow players who chatted in one game continue to play with each other for future games, enabling proximity to slowly build stronger relationships.
It’s easy to express yourself through awesome drawing mechanics that support various colors, weights, and tools.
The mechanic of no drawing restrictions enables passion/attachment to be conveyed through drawings: this player initialed their drawing.
Zero restrictions also results in awesome drawings: the prompt was “poisonous”, and a player drew Koffing.
Expression is also facilitated by avatar customization. Grouping and aligning everyone’s avatars is a nice touch to see how everyone expresses themself!
But the abuse problem extends into expression. Some players drew explicit content. An inherent flaw of skribbl.io is that it’s digital and anonymous (anti-pattern), which is where inappropriate behavior thrives in games. An improvement could be account creation that’s linked to IRL information; this forced disclosure of personal information might also facilitate friendships.