Here is my BCM300 Individual Project Dossier of my game ‘Infection’ as well as the link to the google drive folder of the dossier, rulebook and cards.
Here is my BCM300 Individual Project Dossier of my game ‘Infection’ as well as the link to the google drive folder of the dossier, rulebook and cards.
A deadly infection has overtaken the world! Infections are spreading like wildfire, your goal: cure the infected before they infect you!
Check out the Rule Book and Cards here!
For BCM300, the game I have created is called Infection. It is a card game similar to Mafia, Ultimate Werewolf (2008) and Love Letter (2012), where players embody a character which they must keep hidden, and try to survive till the end of the game, by either ‘curing’ or ‘infecting’ everyone. I have also used mechanics similar to Monopoly (1933) and Hearthstone (2014), by implementing item cards, each with their own abilities, and money cards to purchase more cards or trade with other players.
The theme of the game is that of a disease outbreak and participants play as either an Infected character or a Healthy character. At the beginning of the game, character cards and item cards are shuffled and handed out to all players along with $10. The Infected team must infect all other players whilst the healthy team tries to find out who is infected and cure them by sending them to the Hospital. To differentiate Infection from other games such as Love Letter, where players are killed or eliminated, the inclusion of the Hospital is there to keep players in the game. One of the biggest criticisms of social deduction games is that players killed in the first few rounds are no longer able to participate, as demonstrated by this article (Kotaku.com, 2017). Therefore, I have included the hospital to combat this criticism, differentiate from other games and hopefully appeal to more people.
I believe that Infection falls into Roger Caillois’ category “Mimicry” (Imitation) from his book ‘Man, Play and Games’ (1958), as the game places a large emphasis on role-playing as the character you are given. However, it also fits into “Alea” (Chance), as the cards you’re given are determined at random.
Furthermore, Infection also reflects his definition of paidia as the game is open to negotiation and is more free-form in terms of play when compared to games such as Monopoly. This does not mean it doesn’t reflect ludus however, as the game does still have winners and losers as well as a clear objective. Jensen (2013) defines paidia as to ‘incorporate rules, but not one that “define a winner or loser”‘. During the playtesting stage of the game, paidia is especially evident as the game’s rules are constantly being changed, removed or added in a spontaneous manner.
Since my last post, I was given feedback by my Tutor, and from this I have devised the Hospital (see above) and created my prototype character and item cards, and received some feedback regarding these. One piece of feedback for the game was that rather than someone having to volunteer to be the moderator, have it as a character card and shuffle it in to have a random moderator, however, introverted people may find this daunting. Originally I had planned on having players stay in the Hospital for 3 rounds, and any Infected people in there would infect the others, however after showing my family and talking about my game, one person pointed out that this would stop the Healthy team from winning, because there will always be people in the Hospital, so any Infected people would never be cured.
Therefore, I am going to test a number of different options to see how this can be worked around, such as:
The cards I have created are a very rough prototype, and I am planning on sticking with these 16 cards during playtesting, especially with the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 currently, preventing me from testing with larger groups. However, I would like to create more character and item cards should the opportunity arise for me to test more.
Another piece of feedback I was given was that when creating my cards, try not to use images of people, instead, use art and illustrations to avoid copyright infringement. For the prototypes I have not done this, but for further changes I will.
One student also suggested adding a character card called “Pathogen”, which is only able to infect people directly to the left and right of them, which I feel could be very interesting mechanic to introduce. Additional feedback was given such as lessening the amount of rounds spent in the Hospital to 2.
I also gained feedback from other students, who suggested that I include some more negative cards which effect players differently to the other cards, and will allow for more interesting scenarios as players work together/against each other with these new challenges, and hopefully I will be able to include more ability cards that provide even more scenarios. I have also made some changes in the rule book to make the game easier to understand, as pointed out by someone else.
As part of my Digital Artefact, I also helped other students by providing feedback on their games. I commented on Nathan Sullivan, Julia Belikova and Nicole Papadimas’ games and hopefully provided some invaluable feedback for them (see below).
You can also view the feedback I was given below.
Moving forward, I will be playtesting my game with family, friends and my partner. I aim to receive feedback which will help me improve Infection, either by changing the theme, mechanics, adding new cards, etc. or leaving it how it is. I am also hoping to find the right solution for the Hospital, and will test both options discussed above, as well as any others I think of or are suggested.
Caillois, R 1958, Man, Play and Games, viewed 15th May 2020
Jensen, G 2013, Making Sense of Play in Video Games: Ludus, Paidia and Possibility Spaces, Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture, pp.69-80, accessed 15th May 2020, https://www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/article/view/vol7no1-4/7-1-4-html
Un, H 2017, Why I’ll Never Play Werewolf Again, Kotaku.com, accessed 12th May 2020, https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/10/why-ill-never-play-werewolf-again/
For my BCM300 Group Game Experience Pitch, I have grouped with Nicole Papadimas, Isaac Allen, Aliah Walton and Isaac Percy and we are currently in the process of ideating our game. We began ideating collaboratively via zoom calls for the past few weeks and this process has been successful, as our group was able to contribute significantly by providing examples of our own game experience.
These individual experiences have allowed each of us to provide mechanics, rules and themes from other products that we have enjoyed. Each of us provided a game we had played, either during BCM300 or during our own time, and these games are:
Our currently untitled game combines the social deduction mechanism of Ultimate Werewolf (2008), Love Letter (2012) and The Resistance: Avalon (2012), with the grid movement of Monopoly (1933) and Cluedo (1949). Although Ultimate Werewolf is a party game, our game will be limited to a maximum of 8 players, as having a board makes it difficult to play with too many players. The game starts with one Alien, who is hidden and must eliminate the president, and cards such as the President and the Bodyguard whose goal it is to figure out who amongst them is the Alien.
The narrative of our game draws heavily upon films which I provided, such as Alien (1979) and Mars Attacks! (1996), which both feature aliens as the antagonist, hunting down humans. Our game takes place in the White House, as well as at the Alien’s crash site, with players travelling between rooms attempting to discover each other’s identities.
For the creation of our Pitch, I was responsible for devising the character cards which each player is given, as well as the room cards and special cards which cause specific actions and moves. There are 8 character cards, with 6 of them for the Human team and 2 for the Alien team.
Moving forward, I am responsible for the creation of our group presentation alongside Nicole, which will be presented in PowerPoint format. We will both also be responsible for ensuring everything in the presentation is of high quality and flows flawlessly. I am also responsible for writing and presenting my 5 minutes of speech, which will be focused on the character, room and special cards for the game, as well as the game I researched, Ultimate Werewolf.
According to Statista.com, the board game industry was worth over $8.5 Billion (US Dollars) in 2019, and is projected to reach $12 Billion by 2023, this means the Board Game Industry is currently experiencing a massive growth in market value. This is partly due to the Internet’s ability to connect people with other people interested in the same things and makes accessing board games easier. Board games also allow people to socialise with friends and family in a fun, competitive manner (Sargeantson, E 2019). During my research, I came across these articles highlighting why board games are so popular, and I feel that our game is a good example of a game that lets you socialise with people whilst also having fun.
One set back I feel may hinder our game from functioning well is that the hidden identities may not remain hidden for long, making the game quite short and unfair for the alien team. However, whilst creating our game, I was particularly proud of the narrative we devised, as I feel it fits well with the mechanics of our game, as well as the characters and board design.
Board Game Geek, 2008, Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition, Board Game Geek, accessed 8th May 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/38159/ultimate-werewolf-ultimate-edition
Board Game Geek, 2012, Love Letter, Board Game Geek accessed 8th May 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/129622/love-letter
Board Game Geek, 2012, The Resistance: Avalon, Board Game Geek, accessed 8th May 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/128882/resistance-avalon
Board Game Geek, n/a, Clue, Board Game Geek, accessed 8th May 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1294/clue
Board Game Geek, n/a, Monopoly, Board Game Geek, accessed 8th May 2020, https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1406/monopoly
IMDb, n/a, Alien, IMDb, accessed 8th May 2020, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078748/
IMDb, n/a, Mars Attacks!, IMDb, accessed 8th May 2020, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116996/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
O’Connell, L 2019, Global board games market value from 2017 to 2023, Statista, accessed 8th May 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/829285/global-board-games-market-value/
Sargeantson, E 2019, Why Board Games Are So Popular, my kind of meeple, accessed 8th May 2020, https://mykindofmeeple.com/why-are-board-games-popular/
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.
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
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.