Within a day of my initial ideation phase, I cobbled together a rough prototype of Fat Penguin using the online tool Go Deck Yourself, combined with a lot of assistance from my lovely housemates in cutting out cards. We invited some friends, and asked them to invite some friends, to the first playtest, which would be filmed with their consent.
For the initial round of testing, we had 11 playtesters (including myself). Seven of us were already close friends and four knew each other, as well as one other person in the group, but had never met the other six of us. This mix of existing friendship groups and newcomers provided the perfect setting to see if Fat Penguin could live up to my promises as an ice-breaking game, and still be fun with close friends. One playtester was not drinking, some drank beer or cider, and some drank spirits. A couple of the players took advantage of the ‘switch to water’ rule throughout the evening. This round of testing was also played with the first prototype which included only 20 cards from 5 categories, with several duplicates.
The video above is a 4.5 minute rough cut taken from approximately 3.5 hours of filming. It was filmed on my phone, which was mounted on a fuse box using blu-tack (thanks to crafty engineering students). The video by no means captures all of the golden moments of the night, but does include some funny highlights.
This playtest acts as proof of concept – that Fat Penguin can be played with strangers or friends, with or without alchohol, and that the paidic style of play encourages creativity and variation each time a card is played (Jensen 2013, 71). Feedback after the game wound up was that more cards would be needed, but even at 20, each round resulted in new responses to old cards. Overall, the feedback was exceedingly positive and incredibly helpful in creating new cards and future prototypes.
Thanks to the amazing playtesters in this video who helped make it all possible:
Jensen, G 2013, ‘Making Sense of Play in Video Games: Ludus, Paidia, and Possibility Spaces’, Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 69-80