This week was a pretty big week for my game development. I decided it was about time to try and playtest Good Cop/Bad Cop so that I could see whether the game (as it stands) works. I can say with confidence right now that it, in fact, failed. Miserably.
To begin with, I had trouble setting out the game. With 5 players (the Boxer Debriefs crew) I knew I had to deal out the roles being used; 1x Bank Manager, 1x Mastermind and ?x Good Cop/Bad Cop. As you can see I had trouble trying to distinguish how many Good Cops and Bad Cops were dished out, because quite honestly, I was unsure how many Good Cops and Bad Cops should be in play for 5 players. I even had trouble dealing out the diamonds, and the number of them. Should I use 5 because of the 5 players? Should I use 10 because it’s a nice round number? Should I deal out a diamond to each player? Or perhaps they all start in the bank vault? This unsureness (on my part as a developer) really stagnated the actual game progress, with much time devoted to trying to establish the starting board state.
After much rushed thought, I decided to press on ahead with the idea that “it’ll sort itself out”. As we began to play the game, we immediately came to a second blockade. Just how exactly do you play the bloody game? And more importantly, how do you win? Well the good thing is is that I already had a rough idea on how each role wins the game; Bank Manager returns all the diamonds, Mastermind takes all the diamonds, the Good Cop manages to apprehend the Mastermind, and the Bad Cop…? Well, I did say rough idea. Anyway, the real issue was how exactly we get to the point of winning. I personally thought the four possible actions each player could take per turn was clear and effective, but I soon found that this wasn’t the case. What ended up happening was that if each player interacted with a diamond the game would soon go stagnant, with essentially no actual progress being accumulated. I also had issue trying to explain the accusation mechanic due to the lack of a shared common hidden information (as explained in Week 6’s post).
Needless to say, we got nowhere, and I decided to call it quits and go back to the drawing board. Reflecting back on this, I realise I’ve actually lost the core mechanic that I wanted to employ, discursive gameplay, because of this focus on the diamonds. I think that I strayed too far from my inspiration, Spyfall, and I’m re-evaluating this current iteration of Good Cop/Bad Cop. I think I want to strip away a lot of the elements to bring it back to the bare essentials, in doing so I hope to bring clarity to my direction. These changes would namely be:
- Remove the diamonds
- Remove the role of the Bank Manager and the Mastermind
Spyfall is a successful game because of the simplicity of it. It’s time to go back to the roots of this.