Critical Play: Bluffing, Judging and Getting Vulnerable…

For this critical play, I played the game by ticedev on the laptop computer. The target audience is for young people ages 10 – 30. This is because it is a digital game among young people but has a very low barrier to entry. It evolved from pictionary and doodling so the drawings don’t have to be high quality (which is the point of the game). There are 2 – 8 players and each round a player is given a word to draw and the others guess what they are drawing.
A few mechanics in this game stood out to me. The first was that players are given a choice of word to draw. A player can use this choice dynamic to have different types of fun. For example, they can choose something that they do not know how to draw for the challenge aesthetic or they can choose an easy word to practice submission. Overall, the game creates the fun of fellowship because players are enjoying each other’s company in a light hearted easy game (if they know each other). If the players do not know each other then the game can be more competitive as people want to win instead of support each other.
Another mechanic that led to submission was the limited amount of drawing tools a player can use. There are a few colors and brushes so the drawings are forced to be simple. This takes some of the stress away from players who are not good at drawing and lowers the threshold.
The fellowship fun also led to the expression because when good artists were present players recognized that and liked their drawings. This allowed the artists to get some practice, express themselves, or have fun. The mechanic was the chat and the dynamic was that players can communicate with each other.
Some design decisions I did not agree with were the amount of freedom given to players in the game. The players can draw anything or say anything in the chat without any restrictions. This led to people not playing the game or bullying other players with slurs. A dynamic to counter this is that players can vote to kick others out but this seems too slow after the insults start. This is very damaging especially if the players are kids. Players can also write the answer instead of drawing it and ruin the game. This is a difficult problem because the success of the game relies on the fact that anyone on the internet can play it with all the risks of the internet. A solution is to have moderators that can be done with AI to help make the game safer and more enjoyable.
Overall, this game is an easy way to develop fellowship with friends and accomplishes that goal.

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