Bullshit or Nah? An Exploration

Before I introduce my game, I feel like I should offer some context. I love science. Really, really love it. As a result, one of my pet hates is popular myths that people think are true, that are really a load of bologna (and Thomas Edison). So, when it was time for me to make a game for DIGC310, I wanted to make one that helped people learn, but in a way that was highly enjoyable.

With that in mind, I present to you:

Bullshit or Nah?

The idea of the game is very simple. In essences, it’s all about guessing whether the facts you’re presented with, no matter how convincing, are true or not.

How is this done?
Originally the design was that you had a board on which to move piece, some cards, little tokens, and a dice. On your turn, you are asked a question, and you have to guess whether it’s bullshit or fact. If you get it right, you move forward, if you get it wrong you stay where you are.

The prototype board and game pieces

On your turn, you are asked a question by the player next to you, and you have to guess whether it’s bullshit or fact. If you get it right, you move forward (however many spaces you roll), if you get it wrong you stay where you are.

When pitching this idea, the response seemed mostly positive. It’s meant to be a light-hearted game, and the university group that I was pitching it to matched my target demographic perfectly (I’m aiming for people 18+ of any gender). Despite the encouraging feedback, I could feel that something was missing, or out of place.

After much soul-searching, trying to design the finer mechanics of the game, and some feedback from the master of games, I decided to ditch the board (and the beautiful pieces) altogether. This reduces the materiality of the game, which means the game will be cheaper to produce, and will hopefully encourage more people to buy it should it ever make it to retail (going from say, a $50 board game to a $30 card game). Removing the board game element will also help distinguish the game from Smart Ass (which, admittedly, I took inspiration from) that features similar themes. This, however, makes it possible that the game will evolve to be too similar to Fact or Crap.

To help simulate the player interaction I wanted from this game, I also felt I needed to add an element of confrontation to encourage both in-game and general chatter between the players. I’m hoping that this game will have a Cards Against Humanity edge to it, which has always been a fantastic tool to help people loosen up at any social gathering.


Hopefully Bullshit or Nah? will have just as fun, but maybe less inappropriate themes then Cards Against Humanity

But how am I going to do that?

The new game design will feature only cards. On these cards, there will be two “facts”. One will be true, and one will be false. On their turn, a player will draw a card and read out one of the two “facts”. The remaining players will then have to decide whether what the player read out was true or false. If the group guesses wrong the player gets to keep the card, and the game continues until someone has 5 cards.

Unfortunately, the game is yet to be playtested, however, I expect constant improvements to be made through the play-testing process. I’m also hoping to improve on the name of the game.

All in all, I’m hoping that my game will come together nicely. I think it’s important to note that I’m not expecting people to become professors from playing. I’m not convinced that board games can help make people smarter. This is mostly because there aren’t a lot of studies in the area. Most of the research investigating intelligence and board games focuses on children, and even then they can’t decide if chess makes kids smarter, or if smart kids just happen to like chess.

In saying that, I’m not trying to make a study tool that you could use at University. I’m hoping that this game will help people think critically, but there’s no real way to judge how well my game achieves that. I don’t think many people play testing are going to let me conduct a long-term study on their critical evaluation skills, and I don’t think I’d get it put through an ethics board either.

As this is so, most of my focus will be on whether the game is fun, and the facts are in fact correct. I’ll just have to hope people learn something on the way too.

Got some burning facts you want the world to know, or some myths you want to bust? Comment below!

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