I’ve had chance to playtest Argh, Who am I?! a couple more times and have decided to put it on hold for now, however it may come back in another form. Here are some of my reflections on the last two playtests.
Playtest with my MA students
The first of the two most recent playtests I learnt that players were quickly identifying who was telling the truth/lying and then narrowed down on who it was. I noticed that players were more likely to ask someone who was telling the truth, in order to avoid the mental anguish of dealing with untwisting lies.
I decided to up the complexity and allow players both a chance to lie and tell the truth. To do this the players turn their cards upside down each time they’ve asked a question. This difference had an additional benefit of allowing for a mechanism for telling who had and had not being asked a question, meaning no player was left out from asking or answering a question.
Thanks to Hadeel, Tom, Sun, & Jai for playtesting.
Playtest with the Board Game Studies Colloquium
In the second of the two most recent playtests the upped complexity didn’t really add anything other than further confusion, which in this case isn’t really an interesting solution.
Players had fun, but I think the amusement came from coping with the mechanics rather than playing the game. This can be good in certain situations, like the weird mental block that occurs when matching pairs in Dobble, or racing against time trying to roll dice in Escape: Curse of the Temple. However, the connection did not feel right in this instance.
Thanks to Ralf, Jacob, Tom & Tiago for playtesting.
Overall the game had two parts that didn’t connect very well. First was working out who was telling the truth or lying and the second narrowing down to the card you’re holding. Players would start the game, in brain twisted confusion, then clarity, then finish with systematic logic. I think there perhaps needed to be a less linear relation between these two parts.
For some reason lying as an answer was difficult to do. First the question had to be assessed, then check for a yes/no answer and then potentially reversed. This process just seemed more tasking than it aught to be. There was a few times where players got confused and gave the wrong answer (including myself).
In the end the game play had very little interesting choice, much possibility for strategy or fun inherent in the game play. The players were told whether to lie or tell the truth. On reflection I think lying is more likely to be amusing when you can be caught out, and there’s a risk/reward tied to this.
The most interesting thing that arose from the games was the possibility for ambiguous answers and questions, and the possibility of players disagreeing with each other about the answers.
- Someone asked if they were alive or dead, when they were holding a robot card.
- Someone asked if they were magical, when they were holding a zombie card.
Both these questions gained different responses within the groups. Perhaps there is something in this, an idea for another game. For now at least the game where you don’t know your own identify is on hold.