A pocket-sized, improv-style party game where players take turns pretending to go on bad blind dates
Product: Non-digital Card Game
Role: User testing, rule book design
Duration: 3 weeks
Tools: Adobe Illustrator & Indesign, 3D Printing
Collaborators: Lizzie Miller, Paul Goodwin, Danielle Dodo, Monali Agarwal
Create a game that engages players in the experience of play
Our constraints were that it must be pocket-sized, by physical (non-digital), and be inspired by at least two currently successful games.
Why is gamification hard? Because designers forget to make it fun!
Players do not come into a game with a predefined goal; therefore, game designers need to design a system of interactions that are satisfying and motivating. Transferring game design skills to non-game contexts, known as "gamification", is not a simple task. Many attempts at gamification in products are unsuccessful because designers do not understand proper game mechanics and player motivation. Successful gamification is not merely adding points, badges, or leader boards to an otherwise boring activity. To gamify an activity, the same rules apply as with successful game design: Define the type of fun your game embodies and design game mechanics that only exist in support of that fun.
Bad Date: A Lesson in designing "fun"
We created Bad Date, a pocket-size, improv-style party game. Players take turns going on "bad dates" and embodying the wacky traits printed on their cards. The goal is to have fun, be a terrible date, and practice your best acting skills in a non-competitive environment.
CONDUCTED A GAME DESIGN ANALYSIS
We analyzed two games for inspiration
We teased out verbs, "types of fun", and other characteristics of game play from the two games: Carcassonne and Starcraft. Carcassone is a tile-based board game. Starcraft is a digital game.
We wanted to understand:
- What makes these games fun?
- What elements of a game create challenge?
- How might we apply these learnings into our own game design?
DETERMINED GAME CONSTRAINTS
We chose constraints for our game to give ourselves a starting point
After analyzing Carcassonne and StarCraft, we chose three verbs from each game. Our game would need to incorporate at least three of the six verbs. We also determined which "types of fun" we wanted our game to offer players. One constraint we had to have is that it must be small enough to fit in a pocket.
SKETCHED GAME IDEAS
We sketched rough ideas for games and presented them to each other
Based on our constraints, we ideated individually and as a group to come up with some rough ideas for game designs. We sketched some quick rules for games and tested them on each other.
TESTED OUR GAME WITH USERS
We used a user testing process called "playtesting" to test the game mechanics and gather feedback
We tested each iteration of the game with users to define which aspects were considered "fun" and which processes did not contribute to the challenge. Playtesting is the most important aspect of creating a successful game. Through playtesting, game mechanics are developed. Game designers can then elaborate on which challenges in the game work and which fall flat.
ITERATED ON THE CARD DESIGN
Careful consideration went into every aspect of the card design
We considered all aspects of the cards, from how big they would be to the visual design. No decision was made without testing and gathering feedback from users. We discovered that square cards were not as comfortable to hold as cards with a traditional rectangular shape. We also discovered that people preferred the illustrations of monsters over icons. We found that people wanted to act out characters on a date, but they never were sure whether they were a female or male character. Our playtesters reported that having monsters on the cards helped them de-gender their characters and act as though gender didn't matter. The icons, on the other hand, did not communicate acting or character embodiment whatsoever.