Wednesday, April 25, 2012

End Game

     This was the final week of game design. During this class, we met with several professional game designers who critiqued and gave feedback on our games. I stayed behind in order to supervise and assess the gameplay. On the first go around through the game, everything went smoothly and the game was significantly faster paced because of the new rules that we had integrated after playtesting. The only problem that was addressed during the assessment of the game was that there had been some minor confusion with the cards. There were one or two answers that could have been interpreted differently for players. In addition, I was surprised to note that many people seemed to horde the social chips that we had created. Previously, during the playtests players had been asking to use them throughout the gameplay.       
    Once people switched and a new group of people came to play the game, I encountered different feedback. On the second run through, I was told that the loans seemed a little clunky. In addition, I was told that the social chips might serve better if the amount of social chips correlated to the exact number of spaces. This idea was plausible, however, I was uncertain of the benefits to this idea, as there were so many social chips to be accumulated. The constructive criticism, however, was no less appreciated, because it was a teaching mechanism for how to accept and address commentary on our project. In addition, I was also given some minor suggestions about the cards, in regards to a typo that was seen on a few cards.
    Overall, the gaming experience proved to be a positive one. Both parties that experimented with the game asserted that they had a fun time playing the game and that they thought the game was fun. They enjoyed the sense of player to player interaction that we implemented. In addition, they also liked the sense of realism that pervaded through the game, seen in the loans, and the experiences that the players went through on the spaces of the board, the Tutors and Temptations cards, as well as the exam cards.
    Not only was this the last time that we would run through our games, but it was also our last Collaborative Writing class. As seen through these blog postings and from the feedback that we received today, we learned how to cope with problems that we face not only in the classroom setting, but in the world beyond, in our careers and futures. Collaborative Writing taught us the benefits of working in group settings, and the value of relying on one another in order to accomplish a common goal. We hope to further utilize the skills that we have developed in this class in our future plans, whatever they may be.

-Rose LiCausi

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This week we had the second round of playtest for our game "College Kids Problems." I remained behind to teach our other classmates the rules and mechanics of the game. One issue we were aware of before going into this day of gameplay was that our game needed a more entertaining factor added to it. The mechanics of the game make it very repetitive and can seem long after a few rounds. I brought this up to the first group that came to play our game, and asked for them to make suggestions as they came across this problem.

To increase the mobility in the game and allow players to catch up if they found that they had fallen behind, I opted to allow players to trade in social chips for a certain amount of spaces, or for money. We had discussed this in our meetings, however  I don't think it was every finalized. When I saw that one player was a whole year behind her opponents but she had a large accumulation of social chips, I proposed that she could trade in 5 social chips to move up 3 spaces. This gave her the chance to move forward in the game and catch up to the others. Also, when it came time to pay off loans, we had discussed trading in social chips for money too. We said that 5 social chips could be traded in for $20,000. This could also mean that a player could buy 3 spaces on the board for $20,000 if they saw that they needed to.

Another change or feature that was included into the game was with regards to the final exams. The rules state that a player must answer 3 of 4 exam questions correctly before moving to he next year of college. If they do not answer, 3 correctly they must stay on the final exams space and on their next turn, they must answer 2 questions correctly. If they answered incorrectly they must stay once again and wait for their next turn. They then can move after that their second turn missed. I saw that with this rule, it served as a catch up mechanism for those who may have been behind the person that kept answering incorrectly. It was also entertaining to see the players struggle to answer correctly. While taking regular exams, if a player answered a question incorrectly, the others could slap the table to steal the question. This was also a catch up process.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This past week we got the chance to play test College Kid Problems with outside suggestions. This is always a good thing because people from the outside are able to see things that we do not see ourselves. For starters, the game was a little slow, and boring at some points in time. I think that we are all seeking that extra step that is going to make the game fun and make everyone involved. Interaction between players is something else that we may be lacking. Hopefully this week we can make arrangements so that the game is a little more interesting. This is a game that could be successful if the element of fun steps into the game. This week is our final week! I know we can pull through this!

The other thing we got to do is play test other games. I (Cindy) was able to play test Island. This game was very fun, and something like that with all of the interactions is something that we are looking for. Hopefully with the other games that the rest of the group played, we can all bring one idea together that will work out for us as well. I'm really excited for this game to turn more fun!

-Cindy Ruiz-Higa

Sunday, April 8, 2012

This week we had our very first round of playtesting! Realizing the mercurial nature of these prototypes, we decided to use our blank pages with squares as our "board." We were able to label each of the squares and could make adjustments as they came along. We had made around 40 or so exam cards, enough for about one game. We also made some of our T&T cards and began with the idea of starting with loans of $25,000 for each year.
As we played we noticed a few key issues. The game was running very slowly! We had about 16 squares for each grade. This number was far too high to keep the game fun and exciting. We decided to cut the spaces down to only 10 per year, leaving us with 24 less. A second issue we noticed was that the money aspect of the game wasn't working out as well as we were expecting it to. Money came in really quickly and the low numbers we were using took away the drama and hard decisions we were hoping to achieve. To solve this problem we raised the prices of everything! Tuition will be more expensive. Rewards will be extremely helpful and deductions will mean a lot more now.
The rest of our issues were more technical. Our cards were all different sizes and we certainly need a lot more of the exam and T&T cards! Overall though, our first play went really well. We didn't get a chance to put some of our new ideas into effect during class, so we're excited for more playtesting to see how our changes liven up the game!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


     This week, Cindy, Taylor, Steph, and I made the final preparations for our game before our initial game testing for the following Wednesday. Taylor brought in a few pieces of paper which allowed us to write down our ideas for the board game spaces. Ideas that we discussed were: On every turn, we thought that a player would get money and move one space. Each player would start out with a $25,000 loan and begin with $15,000 that would be "out-of-pocket" and used to play the game. During Freshman year, the players would move additionally just by taking exam questions, with a maximum of four exams to be taken per year. By Sophomore year and beyond, the players would be able to have a job as well. The players would then be able to move further as a result of exam cards and possessing a job. In addition each space on the board would provide added benefits and losses to the player. For example, a space on the board might say "Didn't get lost for classes. +$5,000", "Pulled first all nighter. -$1,000", or "Become president of a club. +$5,000 +2 social."
     Each space has it's own characteristic benefits and losses. Just because a player loses money does not necessarily mean that he or she is going to lose. By landing on certain spaces that lose money, a player might gain a social card that could help them. These social cards can be cashed in during the game for some added bonus, such as money, etc. At the end of each year, a person would take "finals" in order to advance into the next year by answering questions. In order to pass the finals, the person would have to answer three out of four questions right in order to advance into the next year. The questions would offer players an option of the questions that they would be able to answer, based on what subjects they were good at, this way a player would not be out of luck if they did not know an answer to a question in a subject that he or she was not strong in. If a player were to fail the exam, he or she would have to take out more of a loan and lose a turn.
    Another dynamic that we brought into the game was the idea of choosing a major. At the end of Sophomore year, a player would be able to choose his or her major. I had made four sample pieces that looked like diplomas. Inside each diploma is the name of a major that would be worth an additional amount of points at the end of the game. This might act as a catch-up mechanism for players who have fallen behind and also give players the full "college experience" all within a neat and tidy board game. Players may "change" their major once they get to the beginning of their Senior year. Finally, the first player to finish the game may also receive an added bonus, such as having no loans at the end or the return of at least one loan chip. The game is won by the player who has the most money at the end of the game.
    At the present time, we only have a rough outline as to how the game should be played. We may make further revisions on this rough outline after our first playtesting. Hopefully any and all of the bugs will be worked out of the system by the next class meeting.

-Rose LiCausi

Sunday, March 25, 2012

For the second project of the semester, Rose, Cindy, Taylor and I will be working together to create an entertaining game called College Kid Problems. Theme and basic mechanics were the original ideas of Taylor, and after our first meeting we have developed more aspects of the game to continue the process of creation. We discussed things such as different card types, physical board game features and problems or obstacles we might have in development during our first meeting.

The game looks like it will be entertaining for a diverse group of players, and seems as though it will function in a smooth and organized manner. The one problem that our group faces at the present time is how to move the players along the board. We understand that we should try to avoid using dice for mobility, so we are struggling with alternative methods to have movement on the board. We fear that the methods we have presented in discussion may be too predictable or unfair; we'd like to have it stay random and have the players remain relatively equal. Ultimately, if we cannot think of a new idea to move the player, we will resort to making hundreds of question cards that the players would have to answer in order to progress in the game. This will be very time consuming and tedious, so we are still brainstorming new ideas.

Next week, we hope to resolve some of the major issues that we have come across and move forward with our development.