Black-eyed Beings is a board game that is made up of very few components. These include cards (four different types) and player figurines. My prototype consists of 50 cards cut out from blank palm cards purchased from my local newsagent. At first I experimented with the design in pencil until I had figured out what I wanted and then went back over it in permanent marker. There was an attempt to draft and create my own graphic design for the board game, however, it all just looked quite terrible. For the meanwhile I found images from the internet, printed them out and stuck them on the cards for a short-term solution. This is what my prototype ended up looking like:
I play-tested Black-eyed Beings over the past couple of weeks with family and friends. Several issues were brought to my attention. Firstly, I didn’t calculate properly how many I should have of each different card. I started out with equal numbers of the cards and then soon found that by pure luck all the players kept drawing out weapon cards with little enemy cards to use them on. This made the game quite boring as no one was really collecting any victory points dragging the game on. I corrected this error by replacing some of the weapons with enemies. This also helped increase the game’s difficulty and hopefully player interest.
Another problem that occurred through play-testing was card values. Each weapon card was worth different values. For example, a card may have been worth two kills so instead of trading a weapon card for an enemy one the player could hold on for it for one more kill. This was hard to keep track of and could lead to problems between players cheating. In worse cases this could also lead to major conflict between players- who’s lying and who isn’t.
Lack of consequence was another major issue that was brought to my attention. When a player was faced with an enemy card without a weapon, nothing would really happen, the card would remain upright and the player would not gain the points from the kill. I have now made it so each player starts the game with four victory points. When this situation occurs the player loses two points. If the player, then reaches zero points they are automatically disqualified.
A source that further emphasised the need for play-testing and prototyping is the book ‘Game design workshop: designing, prototyping and play-testing games’ by Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman. This document highlighted the need for differing perspectives and feedback that will help me to produce a game that will appeal to as many people as possible.
While play-testing helped me fix majority of the problems with my board game. Further prototyping, play-testing and game designing will allow me to create a better project that will aim to appeal to a larger audience.
Fullerton, T, Swain, C & Hoffman, S, 2004, ‘Designing prototyping & playtesting’, Game design workshop, CMP, San Francisco