On Thursday, October 6th, we used the designs we iterated on and began creating paper prototypes for them in class. Most groups have decided on using some sort of card game to model their particular vignette. They range from complex systems with resource management to cooperative systems that more or less rely on working with your “opponent”
On Thursday, October 13th, we brought in our prototypes so our classmates, Professor Rusch, and Professor Farkas could play them and see what was working, what wasn’t, and how these different prototypes might be able to fit together in a coherent manner.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to observe all of the games, but I was able to see one group’s game being played so I can lend some insight to what the class has been working so hard on. Group one, whose game revolves around the role of voice in government, created a card game that helps to illustrate this value. Their game begins with the start of a twelve hour day and three legitimacy meters, representing how the three groups of people in the game world view the government, starting at fifty percent. The turn starts with the drawing of a situation card that has a policy that one of the three different groups has brought to the government’s, or in this case, the player’s attention. After the situation is read, the player is then dealt three response cards that they can choose from. The responses are, generically speaking, completely agree with the policy and pass it, agree with the policy and pass it with some stipulation attached to it, or to not act on the policy. Whatever action the player chooses has a predetermined amount of time that is taken from the twelve hours within the day and then player is able to see how the different groups react to what they have chosen. Depending on their feelings on the policy and how the player acted on it, it will be revealed to the player how the groups reacted and the group’s’ particular legitimacy meter will increase or decrease based on their feelings toward how the player handled the situation. Once this is over, if the player has enough time in their day left, the player is able to act on another policy, consult with an advisor to get information on how the groups are feeling, or talk to a group directly. All of these options drain their time. They can do this until they use up their twelve hours within their turn. This cycle restarts and repeats until all situations are exhausted.
For my group, we had a design that was very similar to this group’s. One of the few differences is that we had a focus on currency and how ignoring a certain group would make them stop speaking their issues. We also had the different groups bring up issues independently of each other. These different issues would improve the ”need” meters attached to them which were housing, healthcare, and food. Another difference is we added an unpredictability, like a natural disaster, that would deplete currency or even improve certain meters to help model how not everything in politics can be predicted. Lastly, you would win the game if any of the group’s’ legitimacy meter’s reached one hundred percent or any of the need meters reached one hundred percent. Conversely you would lose if any of the meter’s reached zero. Other than that our game was played pretty much the same as the first one except for some minor technically differences. Because of this, we decided to scrap our design and go in a pretty different direction. We have moved away from making decisions on policies and more towards working within constraints and building coalitions. We hope it pays off because we think it will better illustrate how government functions within constraints and the sometimes seemingly unpredictable formation of coalitions.
As a whole, from what observed and from what my classmates have told me, everyone is making some small iterations on their designs which is great! Moving forward, I will have more to say about all the groups and how their designs are progressing!
This Thursday, we will be preparing for playtests with Croatia! The next update may very well be the insights we gain from these playtests, so check back soon!
By Heidi Nordmann