The first three tutorials of BCM300 thus far have involved “Playtesting” a number of board games in groups. “Playtesting” is playing games (in our case, board games) “to offer feedback that enables the developer to test concepts and mechanics, make improvements, identify potential problems, and ultimately determine if a game is fun.” For us, this meant playing games to discover what we enjoy or don’t enjoy about certain games, to give us ideas of what we want to make for our individual game project.
Over the past 3 weeks, we played a number of different card, board and social deduction games, with games involving 4-13 people, as well as our Tutor, Richard, participating as a Moderator for one of the games. The games my group have tested so far include:
Each of these games brought something different to the table, with some fun and some not so fun aspects, and my favourite of these games is Ultimate Werewolf. Ultimate Werewolf is a party and card game designed by Ted Alspach and illustrated by Sanjana Baijnath, and was published in 2008 by Bézier Games. The mechanics of the game involve hidden roles, player elimination via voting, role playing and betrayal, and all of these work incredibly well with the horror story and murder mystery setting created by the game.
Synopsis: Your quiet little 16th century village has suddenly become infested with some very unfriendly werewolves…can you and the other villagers find them before they devour everyone?
The game has 77 cards, each with their own specific role in the game, with the most common being the Villager. Each person gets 1 card, which they must keep hidden until directed to reveal it. Each of these cards has a specific ability, except for the Villager cards.
The aim of the game is to survive, by killing off the Werewolves before they kill all the Villagers. Other Cards, such as the Hoodlum, have their own way of winning though, as their character trait lets them nominate two other players, and, if at the end of the game, those two are dead and the Hoodlum survives, he wins instead of anyone else.
Playing the game consists of day and night rounds, where during the day, all players must nominate and vote for someone to ‘kill’, in the hopes of that person being one of the werewolves. However, werewolves can also debate with who to kill, but must ensure they don’t reveal their identity. During night time rounds, the werewolves are able to kill one person and certain other cards can do their thing.
I particularly enjoyed the backstory of each card, as well as having to use your imagination to fill in the large gaps. I also enjoyed the player debate, which makes up 90% of the game and helps drive it. Having all players debate was particularly interesting, as no one wanted to speak to soon for fear of being killed, and everyone was suspicious of everyone, as we didn’t know each person’s motives and identities.
Something thing I didn’t enjoy during our playtesting, however, was the frantic nature of Throw Throw Burrito. The game itself was fun, I did like chasing, running and throwing of the Burrito. However, I didn’t like the quickly throwing the cards away as soon as you get them. It felt rushed and made it less enjoyable.
One thing I have taken away from these past few weeks is that I’d like to do some form of card game for my project, either involving social deduction (like Ultimate Werewolf and Love Letter), or a game similar to Gwent, where cards have points and the highest number wins, and certain cards have special abilities.