My contribution to the group
As a large group of seven, including Ruby, Tobias, Seth, Jett, Casey, Dani and myself, our group, affectionately called ‘Codenames’, initially struggled with ideas and concepts we could transform into a game. Having such a large group, we found it difficult at times to meet and plan for our game. Eventually, it was a group of five of us, including Ruby, Tobias, Jett, Dani and myself, whom in class, took charge of the creation process of our game. After all sharing our troubled and often failed dating history, we settled on one universal topic to set as the theme for our board game; love. And more specifically, finding your ‘perfect match’. The game was later aptly called ‘Have you met me?’
When designing and creating the game, our initial group of five decided to employ the use of cards as the primary mechanic of our game. Having played Splendor in class as a group previously, the mechanics of cards in different tiers and the use of tokens to buy certain cards really appealed to us and as such, formed the basis of ‘Have you met me?’ The five of us collectively came up with the idea of ‘Trait’ cards which would act as positive cards within our game. During this process, we collectively came up with fifteen trait cards. Next, we decided to come up with negative cards, and keeping with the theme of matchmaking and dating, these were called ‘Red Flag’ cards. This was a rich area for us and we were able to come up with another fifteen red flag cards. Next, in order to address certain game mechanics such as direct asymmetry and add a role-playing element into ‘Have you met me?’, we decided to employ the use of character cards. Each player is given a character card at the beginning of the game with certain attributes they must collect by buying trait cards, whilst avoiding picking up any hidden red flag cards.
With such a large group, cohesiveness was always the key. With seven different members, it became clear that remaining on the same page with each other was paramount and this proved difficult to begin with as each individual had different ideas of what the game should look like and how it should be played. This meant that our group was forced to meet up more often so we could work out the mechanics and design of the game. However, as we developed the game further we were able to effectively divide the labour in two. Tobias, Jett, Seth and I were delegated the mechanics of the game, while Ruby, Casey and Dani were tasked with the design and aesthetics of each of the cards. This included the design of the trait, red flag, and character cards.
To keep the game from repeating itself and so players can enjoy the game for more than one round, Tobias, Seth, Jett and I decided to come up with one hundred different trait cards and thirty different red flag cards, each split into ten different categories. While Tobias and Jett set to writing down the game rules and mechanics in a formal introduction guide to ‘Have you met me?’, Seth and I mustered all our creative energy into coming up with witty, clever and relatable trait and red flag cards. For this task, I drew inspiration from my background research into similar games, eventually finding a drinking game called ‘Red Flags’ which, similarly to our game, uses positive trait cards and one red flag card each round in a ‘first date’ type scenario.
As the group came together once more to iron out the kinks of ‘Have you met me?’, we decided to conduct our first playtest using the rough copies of our trait and red flag cards initially created at the start of the project to test how the game flowed. It was during this time that the rapid iteration of our game occurred. We collectively decided to abolish the tier system of picking up cards in favour of one pickup pile and one discard pile. The group also decided that there was also no need for the tokens system. Tokens were initially introduced to add a currency and another mechanic to the game but through playtesting, the group decided this was an unnecessary aspect of the game and slowed down the entire experience. Through our first playtesting experience, we collectively agreed that the quicker our game was completed, the better the overall experience would be, and the token element would have slowed down the game.
Throughout the first playtest experience, we felt that the game was based off chance more so than any kind of strategy. I suggested the idea to assign the ten character cards powers that they can use once during the game. These powers can be used to the players’ advantage or be used to hinder their opponents. After our first playtest, we were comfortable with the design of the cards and the overall mechanics of the game and we were able to print hard copies of the trait and red flag cards as well as the character cards. Myself, Tobias, Ruby and Seth then set to cutting out the 100 trait cards, 30 red flag cards, 10 character cards, as well as the backs for each of the cards, which were eventually glued to the front of each card. I then took home the prototype for a group of my friends to play and get first hand feedback from our target audience. This second playtesting resulted in the decision that the powers associated with each character card were an important and enjoyable aspect of our game as it enhanced players individual strategies. Therefore the group collectively decided that powers could be used twice within a game.