In class this week we decided to showcase each other’s progress on our, respective, independent game. I took it as an excellent opportunity to effectively try and “sell” my game Good Cop/Bad Cop, or at least pitch the idea, to the rest of my classmates.
Was I successful in selling this idea? I’m not too sure, but I certainly learnt a lot by pitching the game. For starters, one of the aspects I noticed immediately was how incomplete Good Cop/Bad Cop as a game is. The concept, origin, and even mode of production/retail was covered in detail, but when it came to explaining the rules, mechanics and even the aim of the game, I came to a mental block. Chris suggested that I should play test the game, and by doing so, the difficulties I’ve had such as the rules and mechanics will resolve itself.
One of the largest issues regarding rules and mechanics is I’m unsure how players should “accuse” one another, and how the game should progress. I’ve spent some time reflecting on Good Cop/Bad Cop and the game its influenced by, Spyfall, to see why Spyfall works and why Good Cop.Bad Cop doesn’t. One of the most significant differences between Spyfall and Good Cop/Bad Cop is that in Spyfall, save for one person (the spy), everyone is linked by a common element (the location). Remember, Spyfall (and Good Cop/Bad Cop) is a hidden information game, and the game progresses through discursive techniques (questions, lies, answers, comments etc). Players work together to build the missing information together, but this is only possible because of the common element. What I’ve realised in Good Cop/Bad Cop is that there’s no common information being provided (unlike Spyfall’s location mechanic). This lack of common information makes starting the game nearly impossible; there’s no clear path of progression, unlike Spyfall where players can and do ask questions relating to the location which in turn helps progress the game by building and sharing information.
This is tricky to deal with. Although I wanted to create a game inspired by Spyfall, looking on it I’ve realised that they are quite different in essence. Good Cop/Bad Cop currently utilises a token mechanic with each role interacting with these tokens differently to further their progress to victory. Spyfall’s simplicity of hidden information and using wits to build information faster than your opponents was what I wanted to emulate most in my own game, however I’ve come to think that this token mechanic distracts the player from this very subtle play style. Already while I’m typing this, trying to fix this dilemma of mine, I keep trying to create some sort of common information to help kick start the motion of the game, but instead of that I get side tracked and try to see how it relates to the tokens. Maybe removing the tokens is the way to go? If so, then what?
At least I can walk away with some level of confidence knowing that the pitch was well-received by my peers, with many expressing interest in helping out by play testing (thanks guys!).
*As a side note, judging by the comments and reactions, it seems that most people are interested in the game because of the hidden information, discursive play style. As such, I think it’s only reasonable that I should further refine my game into such a category.