My group is designing and pitching a party game about crazy conspiracy theories under the working title That’s Whack! We were inspired by Cards Against Humanity and other similar party games involving cards such as What Do You Meme?, Search History, and New Phone Who Dis? We want our game to encourage players to make each other laugh and have fun, while being simple enough to quickly learn and play in large groups.
We have separated the presentation of our design into four different categories and will tackle one each; genre (party game), theme (conspiracies), mechanics, and the game rules. We plan to do our own research, writing, and presentation slides for our section, then come together before presenting to combine our work and make sure it flows from start to finish. Our aim is to finish our own individual contributions by week 10, and then bring them together into a presentation in time for the due date in week 11. My contribution to the presentation will be researching and determining the core game mechanics.
What are mechanics? Miguel Sicart defines game mechanics as “methods invoked by agents, designed for interaction with the game state.” Those that are repeatedly used by an agent to achieve the game’s win condition are considered “core mechanics.” Basically, they are the parts of a game that allow a player to interact with and change the state of the game itself, and therefore are key to the process of game design. That’s Wack! is based on the system of mechanics in Card Against Humanity, but with some slight tweaks that set it apart as its own game. Here is an outline of my contribution to our game design presentation, identifying and discussing the game mechanics;
Drawing and Playing Cards — the means of taking actions on a turn
There are five card piles; one big pile of prompt cards containing blank spaces, and four smaller piles of answer cards separated into the categories people, places, events, and things. Players will draw answer cards and play them in response to prompt cards to fill in the blanks. The cards work well as a game mechanic because randomising the prompts and answers is made easy by shuffling the piles, they are re-usable without needing pen and paper, rounds are quick as players do not need to come up with their own answers (instead selecting from pre-made ones), and the modular design of the cards allows for future expansions.
Card Czar Role — determining unique actions for specific players
Players are sequentially assigned this special role each round. The Card Czar, or in this case Master Conspiracist, draws and reads aloud the prompt card for that round. They do not participate in drawing and selecting answer cards for that round. The Master Conspiracist can reward just one of the other players with a point for that round. Allowing this role to be rotated through all players helps to reduce biased voting that favours a specific sense of humour.
Point System — facilitates the game win condition
The first player to reach a set number of points wins the game.
Rounds and Turns — segments of the game in which predefined actions can occur
That’s Whack! Has three turn phases within a round;
— Turn 1; The new Master Conspiracist is appointed, the prompt card is played and read aloud.
— Turn 2; Players simultaneously draw and play their answer cards.
— Turn 3; The Master Conspiracist selects their favourite answer to the prompt, that player is rewarded with a point.