Blog Post 9- Week Eleven: Game Rules and Final Thoughts

Game Title: What’s Trending?

‘What’s Trending?’ is an interactive based board game utilising Google’s top trending searches.

How quickly can you describe these trending topics?

Speed is of the essence in this fast-paced game – the more words your team can guess from your descriptions, the quicker you’ll cross the finishing line. What’s Trending? is separated into yearly segments ranging from 2001- 2017, with answers varying from diverse categories.

From popular culture, How-to searches, sports and even world news this game incorporates all interests as it’s enjoyable for all generations. When it comes to nostalgic and exhilarating entertainment, ‘What’s Trending?’ simply has no rivals! Relive iconic moments in history and see if you can keep up.

Objective of the Game:

Work in pairs to discover Google’s top searched results from 2001-2017. Progress is made by correctly guessing what your teammates are describing, the more correct answers, the further you advance on the board.

Preparation:

  • Unfold board. Set up tokens at starting position
  • Place clue/answer cards in corresponding sections and prepare timer to start at 0.
  • Evenly divide into teams of two or more
  • Decide amongst each other who will begin first
  • Each round team members are nominated as either describes and guesser (Alternating each round)

Starting the Game:

  1. Each round begins once the 30 second timer is flipped.
  2. The describer’s take a card corresponding to the year their token is placed on the board. (As the start position is on the year 2017, this is the segment each team will start)
  3. The ‘describer’ to use clues that help the ‘guesser’ discover the answer on the card. Once the question is successfully answered the round continues using cards from the same year until time runs out.
    Players are only allowed to skip two question cards each round. If you are unable to answer the question and needing an additional skip they will have to go back and answer a previous skipped question before doing so.
  4. The describes will then count the number of cards that were correctly guessed in that round and move their playing token forward to that number of segments.
    Example: If a team collected 3 correct guesses, the would move 3 space forward on the board.
  5. The round then begins for the next team corresponding to where their token is on the board
  6. Players will then make their way around the board until one team reaches the finish mark

Description Rules:

When describing you must NOT:

  • Say the name or letters of the answer.
  • Say the word or any derivative eg. if the word is “post” you may not say “postage” or “postman”; for “swim” you may not say “swimmer” etc.
  • Use “rhymes with” or “sounds like” type clues.

When describing you CAN:

  • Gesticulate, act, mime but not mouth the word
  • Use inside jokes or past experiences in addition to clues

To further gain a further understanding of ‘What’s Trending?’ and this design process I have linked my weekly blog posts below:

  1. Blog Post 4- Week 6: Contribution to the Group Game
  2. Blog Post 5- Week Seven: Initial Ideas
  3. Blog Post 6- Week Eight: Game Prototype and Inspiration
  4. Blog Post 7- Week Nine: Game Prototype with Attention to The Abstraction Involved
  5. Blog Post 8- Week Ten: Game Play Testing

Final Thoughts: 

As this session and game development comes to end I have learned a lot from this process. Looking back I can see that I have definitely benefited most from play testing and peer feedback. Though sometimes it can be difficult to take criticism, the critiques that I have received have been a great source of advice for my final game product. Doing these weekly blog posts have also ensured I have stayed up to date with my work and development in time for game play at the end of each week. This has not only made this process less stressful but also has given me the opportunity to make the most of our lessons. From what I can see ‘What’s Trending?’ has been well received with audiences of many ages which has made this hard work and on occasion, challenging experience worth it.

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Screenshot of Game Play
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Blog Post 8- Week Ten: Game Play Testing

After finalising my question cards, this week I wanted to focus on play testing and gathering feedback on my game. With this creation experience, although research with personal trial and error has been a successful method, it is the feedback and game making experiences that have proven to be most beneficial throughout this development. As I was unwell this week and wasn’t able to attend my tutorial, I decided that I will utilise my family members for game play this week to gage new responses. I decided that I was split my time up in the game, using the first half to play and the second to take notes and ask questions throughout and after each round. This play testing was also done with ages ranging from 12- 53 years old as I was looking to see if this game would be enjoyable for a large target market.

Before commencing this gameplay session I felt it was important to let my test members know that I was looking for honest and sometimes even harsh feedback. Although I did benefit from the feedback given from my peers in class, I was eager to see what my family members thought on ‘What’s Trending?’ as I knew they wouldn’t be afraid to hold anything back. Whilst hosting past game testing I did notice certain players were cautious of over sharing their opinions as they didn’t want to start conflict that lead others to negatively critic their own game. Although I’m not a confrontational person, looking back at past weeks I did feel as though people were holding back from being honest which could have potentially affected my overall work. Luckily for me, most of my play testing groups understood the importance of this feedback, being very supportive and constructive.

Feedback Gathered;

Pros:

  • Enjoyable
  • Different from other games
  • Relatable
  • Easy to understand
  • Good Presentation
  • Diverse (players will know at least one answer)
  • Sense of nostalgia
  • Educational

Cons:

  • Difficult to explain if you don’t know the answer yourself
  • Limited skips make it hard to advance
  • DIfficult for young individuals to play when playing rounds in years below 2005
  • Older ages have the upper hand as they were alive longer during past years
  • Game can spark an argument or two
  • Younger players needed one or two practice rounds to understand how to play

After finalising this play testing and reviewing my results I was very happy to see their were fairly the same amount of pros as their were cons. Looking at my cons specifically I look to utilise this research for my marketing and branding in my final project, comparing results and discussing why these choices were made. As we are drawing to the end of this project I am glad that I was able to utilise diverse individuals for my testing as I believe I gaged a great amount of responses that have helped to improve both my game and overall project.

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Final Game Board Design

Blog Post 7- Week Nine: Game Prototype with Attention to The Abstraction Involved

This week for my game I focused on the development of my question cards. Originally I had the idea of creating my cards to have simple one word answers and to avoid the search topics of how to’s and long responses. Throughout my play testing in this lesson I was afraid that these questions would be difficult to understand causing players to be confused and lose interest . Surprisingly these questions actually seemed to be well received, even being the easier ones for members to play with as they were very relatable. Asking the advice from Mel who was one member of my play testing this week and she did mention to me that she enjoyed those questions as she stated “everyone at one staged has google/searched for one of these responses”. With her help easing my mind a bit I thought it would be a great idea at the conclusion of my play testing to gather some feedback on my game for this week so I could make adjustment and potential improvement. Considering abstraction, this game portrays content that is both relatable and nostalgic. The trends that have occurred over this year span have affected all age groups throughout society. This game tests our memory as it reminds us of these events, whilst also introducing these topics to new audiences in a more entertaining way.

I drew up a pros and cons list and passed it around my play testing group to gage their thoughts after going through some of the game. I felt as though it was important for me to include a cons list and this would be the area of focus for the next upcoming weeks.

Responses;

Pros:

  • Fun
  • Good structure
  • Flow to move forward
  • Categories are relative and interesting
  • Good amount of time to guess the clue
  • Board game was colourful and neatly presented

Cons:

  • Have rules printed
  • Maybe have hints for the more difficult topics.
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Pro’s and Con’s List (Written By Mel)

 

Using the suggestions gathered I am definitely going look play with these suggestions when building my question cards in the upcoming weeks. I feel this will be beneficial for the categories that are more towards the early 2000’s. Next week I aim to have all my question cards gathered so I can spend a full lesson of play testing with more class members.

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What’s Trending Testing and Game Play

In this week I also play tested Mel’s game entitled ‘Draw the Logo’ which asks players to correctly identify different brands through drawing their logo. As my game implements similar aspects of popular and well known culture with the inclusion of brands designs I was happy to provide Mel with feedback. Almost all of the games aspects were clear and enjoyable to play. The feedback provided in these group tests were supportive as they looked at making adjustments that added to the game rather than change it completely. One in particular was made from Noelle as she suggested to categorise the logo cards into three separate categories – easy, medium and hard. The most entertaining part of this game was definitely the challenge rounds were teams were given 30 seconds to draw/ guess 5 logos. As a group we all agreed that these rounds help to excite the game and add an intense factor. I’m definitely excited to keep playing this game over the next coming weeks and see what adjustments Mel makes.

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Draw The Logo Game Design (Image Collected from Mel’s Blog)

To discover more about Draw The Logo and Mel’s design process visit her blog here;

Mel’s Blog

Blog Post 6- Week Eight: Game Prototype and Inspiration

This week I wanted to focus on the development of my game design. Using the resources provided in class I gathered materials to start testing board layouts. Although I have not constructed a final list of rules for my game, I did have a general idea of the objective to go off. I found this worked in my favour as it left room for any adjustments or new ideas to made. For this design I really went in with an open mind as I didn’t want to be too disappointed if my idea wasn’t successful or did not match up to my design inspiration. In class I utilised the coloured paper and blank whiteboard cards to construct a general idea of the game play. Cutting this paper into even triangle shapes I looked to create a ‘pie chart’ board design that would have players moving clockwise until they reach the other side. My idea is to have the game board be circular, and of a large enough size to support six or eight players around a table, using a quarter fold American valley design so it is easily packagead. A circular track will divide the board into colour-coded sections with each labeled as a different year. Eg 2017.2016.2015 ect all the way to 2001. After designing this I noticed that it was very similar to the board game design of Articulate which is a board game from Drumond Park.

articulate-game.jpgKnowing this I felt confident about moving forward with the design of my game as I knew this layout would be enjoyable for players due to the success of previous games.

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Potential Board Game Desgin

After working with these materials I felt it was important to start a mock board design using Photoshop and Microsoft excel. Utilising the previous design with paper I played with bright colours and bold text to distinguish each yearly segment. I am looking to also implement matching colours in the question cards as it will be easier for players to distinguish the colours corresponding to each year. Next week my plan is to develop my question cards to I can start my game play. Although I don’t have a final board product I am going to play test with my mock one to see where it needs improvements.

Blog Post 5- Week Seven: Initial Ideas

This week we looked at developing our individual game ideas. With the past couple weeks focusing on building a prototype as a group I was rather nervous going into this lesson as I didn’t have any for my individual game. Although throughout my past posts I discussed that I wanted to keep my game focused around a less serious nature with pop culture themes, that topic itself is very broad so I didn’t have a developed idea. Using a brainstorming method, Chris gave us 10 minutes to come up with 10 game ideas. Although at first it was quite difficult I decided to just write whatever came to mind rather than over thinking it.

The 10 Ideas were:

  • Finish The Lyrics
  • Quote the movie
  • Who’s The Snitch
  • Build the brand
  • Pass it on
  • Draw spy
  • Expose the truth
  • Fast food frenzie
  • Searches
  • Is it Real?

Expanding on some of my favourites:

Finish The Lyrics: A game where players are given songs throughout different decades and are asked to complete at least 10 words following the lyrics given on the card.
For example:
Decade: 70’s – Artist: Queen – Lyrics: Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day…
Player: Finish the next 10 words of the song

Is it real ?: A game where players say 3 facts about themselves (two being true and one a lie). Players then are asked to guess which one is a lie.

Searches: A game where players guess the top searched results from google, yahoo and Bing for that week. (App Concept)

With these ideas Chris took an interest in ‘Searches’ so I looked at further expanding my concept. We were then given 3 Lens cards to help our development. Focusing on ‘The Lens of Challenge’ the card describes challenge as the “core of almost all gameplay”, with the importance of this aspect I decided that although my initial idea encompasses forms of pop culture and general knowledge, there are areas where I can push this challenge further.

With lenses and further brainstorming my idea has now evolved to a game entitled ‘What’s Trending?”

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My idea is to have the game revolve around trending searches from online search engines, separated into different categories. These include top searched: moments in history, athletes, memes ect. Incorporating the lens of challenge into this I looked at utilizing past years as a way to make the game more difficult. As players progress throughout the game, the further back the results go. Doing some further research I found that these searches go as far back as 2001 so this looks to be an interesting game. In the upcoming weeks I hope to further develop this game and finalize some of my categories.

Blog post 4- Week 6: Contribution to the Group Game

Focusing on presenting our game pitch this week, my group ensured our game was understandable through separating our parts (corresponding to our posts earlier in the week). For the mechanics of the game I wanted members of the class to understand our rules through first hand examples. I found utilising my team members as a way to illustrate the game avoided any confusion when explaining the steps, as well as making it easier for people to follow along.

Another part of the presentation I focused on was researching a suitable distributor for our game. With this I looked at breaking down certain factors of a brand and how our game would best benefit if we were to produce.

Some key ideas I looked at were;

Experience with similar games/ Successful distribution:

Comparing past games to our research, we aimed to look at distributors that have experience in developing related concepts. With Liam’s research touching on successful games such as Alexander and Tait’s 1998 game Cranium, we found developers like Hasbro Inc. would help to launch our ideas successfully due to company previously manufactured similar games.

Reputation/ Market value:

Another factor we looked at was reputation and market value. Hasbro is global play and entertainment company, with the brand offering a variety of game play for it’s audiences. They are one the largest board game distributors with their market value being the third largest in the world, bringing revenues of approximately $5.12 billion. There reputation and experience with the development of games design looks push them further than competing brands and a great choice for our group and game.

Positive brand Message:

“Hasbro’s looks to create the world’s best play experiences. The best play experiences stand apart from anyone elses and deliver joy, creativity and connection around the world and across generations. But at Hasbro how we do something is equally as important to what we do. Our success is not only measured by our results, but also by how we achieve those results.”

Going into this project I didn’t realise how many factors contribute to making up even a simple board game. Using this experience going into the individual design I am thinking about utilising aspects of pop culture in my design. With Back and Forth I sensed more enjoyment with players and peers in the scenarios that focused on light heart debates rather than ones they are more serious. Although the harshest debates usually follow more a more serious scenario, I will look to use Hasbro’s message of creating ‘joy and connections’ as inspiration to develop a game that is both entertaining and enjoyable for a number of audiences.

 

Blog Post 3: Week 4- Mechanics

This week my group focused on further developing our game ‘Back and Forth’ as well as finalising the mechanics, algorithms, and rules of the game. Chris suggested that we split these details up throughout each of our posts. After discussing these areas with my group we came to the agreement that the posts would be split as follows:

  1. David- Mechanics
  2. Mel- Scenarios
  3. Liam- Research
  4. Noelle- Set up/ Board Description

Building the mechanics of the game I wanted to ensure that players would be able to easily understand our rules. Looking at some of the past weeks games, I found that these become more difficult when the rules aren’t explained clearly. To avoid confusion I looked at implemented steps throughout these rules, making it easier for players to follow along. Throughout the development of these mechanics I ensured that any changes/updates made were confirmed by the group to maintain our work stay cohesive.

The mechanics I developed are as follows:

  • Step 1: Set up the board (refer to Noelle’s post)
  • Step 2: Elect a mediator (player who looks over the game and ensures the debates are fair)
  • Step 3: Split into even teams. one ‘Red’ team and one ‘Green’ team
  • Step 4: The team to the left of the mediator will start the game by rolling the dice
  • Step 5: After rolling, collect scenario card corresponding to colour shown on dice
  • Step 6: Read the scenario out to the group and choose one player to represent the team for the round
  • Step 7: Before the round begins representatives will be given 30 seconds to brainstorm points with their team before the argument begins.
  • Step 8: Once the round begins, each team will have 30 seconds to argue their point. This will be timed by the mediator.
  • Step 9: At the conclusion of the debate, the mediator will decipher who won that round based on the arguments given.
  • Step 10: If the losing team disagrees with the verdict of the mediator, they can play their objection card. (Each team only has the ability to use the objection card once through the entire game)
  • Step 11: After the mediator has chosen a winner for that round, the winning team will stay at the colour they rolled too, whilst the losing team will return back to their previous spot on the board.
  • Step 12: Teams will continue to debate ‘back and forth’ following the coloured coded scenarios until one reaches the finish mark.

After trialing other descriptions of this game our these mechanics display clear rules that are easy to follow for players. With this I feel positive moving forward in the development of ‘Back and Forth’ and I look forward to how we can further improve this game throughout the upcoming weeks.

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