Critical Play: Competitive Analysis

Civic Doodle is a drawing game created by Jackbox Games, where players work together and against each other to design a mural for a city. The game’s tagline, “We are, frankly, shocked at how much [the city] trust you,” assumes and intends that most players are not good at drawing, creating a fun challenge where everyone competes on a level playing field. The game can be played by both friends and strangers, as it is low stakes.

At the beginning of the game, players start with a scribble, and subsequent rounds involve two randomly-selected players from a pool of three to ten players. The two players add on to the doodle separately, and the rest of the players vote on the “best” one. The game is played using a phone or iPad, where players draw with their fingers. As people are not used to drawing with their fingers, the drawings become more humorous and ridiculous, and the game speeds up. Without the need for precision, players focus more on the idea, which creates the fun of expression. Even players who are good at drawing struggle to express their ideas in a short amount of time with very limited resources.

Civic Doodle shares similarities with another popular Jackbox game called Champ’d Up, where players are judged on the interestingness and relevance of their drawings. Both games emphasize judging by the idea rather than the quality of the drawing, creating the fun of challenge and expression. When playing Civic Doodle, the limited time and resources often result in funny-looking drawings, making rounds difficult to judge, which adds to the fun of the game.

To improve the game, it would be fun to have more players draw per round. This would add to the fun of fellowship, allowing players to compare different and similar interpretations of the base doodle. Seeing other players’ interpretations could create an indirect sense of fellowship, making the game even more enjoyable.


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