COVID-19: My Game

The theme for my Digital Artefact is based around the current COVID-19 pandemic. Players work together to find the infected character and “quarantine” them to win, but the infected character will try to infect everyone if not stopped. Each player will have a character card such as the “Doctor” and “Delivery Driver” with special abilities, or a “healthy person”, as well as a limited amount of currency and an ability card.

During the first few weeks of BCM300, I playtested multiple different board and card games, and of the ones I played, I found my favourite to be “Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition” (2008). I also enjoy “Catan” (1996) and “Monopoly” (1933), and for my game I plan on utilising mechanics and rules from all of these games. A game mechanic is a “method invoked by agents, designed for interaction with the game state” (Sicart, M 2008). This means that a game mechanic is something put in place that allows players to interact with the game they play, and introduces interesting aspects and twists to the game.

Ultimate Werewolf is a social deduction game, which alternates between day and night modes, where players vote to “kill” other players in the hopes of surviving and winning. As I enjoyed the mystery and uncertainty whilst debating with friends, I plan on having each player get a character card that must be kept secret at all times, and players must vote and debate who they think is “infected”. However, one issue I keep noticing is that once someone is voted to be “lynched”, they can no longer play as they’re out, which is a big complaint regarding Werewolf. Therefore, to counteract this and change it, I am introducing a mechanism similar to the “Jail” in Monopoly, in that the voted person gets sent to “Quarantine” for a number of rounds before being released.

A few months ago, I was introduced to “Catan” (1996) by my partner, and a mechanic I enjoyed was the trading of resources and the creation of loyalty whilst playing. Therefore, I am introducing a currency system to the game, which can be used to buy loyalty or items off other players. I am also including abilities card such as “Toilet Paper” and “Hand Sanitizer”.

There is a significant market for social-deduction games, one of the original deduction games, Mafia (1986) has had numerous variations to it, such as “Town of Salem”, and many other deduction games exist such as “Love Letter” and “Battlestar Galactica”. Therefore, I believe there is a significant audience that may be interested in my game, and as the game is not complex and can involve large groups, it could be considered a party game, therefore gaining a second audience of players.

The game I am developing is designed to simulate the current situation we face as we try to find all the people with COVID-19, and prevent them from spreading the disease, presented in a light-hearted, round-based, social deduction game.

I have developed the above chart to visualise the process of creating, testing and finalising  my currently unnamed game, and I aim to stick to this schedule as closely as possible.

References

Board Game Geek 2008, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, accessed 17th April 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37111/battlestar-galactica-board-game

Board Game Geek 2012, Love Letter, accessed 10th April 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/129622/love-letter

Board Game Geek 2017, Town of Salem: The Card Game, accessed 17th April 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/191432/town-salem-card-game

Board Game Geek 2008, Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition, Board Game Geek, accessed 16th April 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/38159/ultimate-werewolf-ultimate-edition

CATAN, n/a, CATAN, accessed 17th April 2020, https://www.catan.com/game/catan

GAMASUTRA, 2017, Indie Smash Hit Town of Salem Gets New Expansion: The Coven, accessed 17th April 2020, https://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/299329/Indie_Smash_Hit_Town_of_Salem_Gets_New_Expansion_The%0ACoven.php

Monopoly, n/a, Monopoly, accessed 17th April 2020, https://monopoly.hasbro.com/en-au

Sicart, M 2008, Defining Game Mechanics, Game Studies, accessed 17th April 2020, http://gamestudies.org/0802/articles/sicart

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