Monthly Archives: December 2018

Week 13 – Final Project Previews

This week in class, after a relaxing Thanksgiving break, we all had the opportunity to play test each other’s final projects, a self-made game designed by either an individual student or team of students. Over the course of the class, I was able to test a couple of games, while at the same time run through the prototype of my own. However, for now I will be discussing the games I tested as a player, in order to provide my opinions on the designs my peers had made.

The first game I had the pleasure of playing was a deck building game that took place in Gotham City, where each player could play as a member of Batman’s rouges gallery. Right off the bat I was intrigued due to my love for comics, though I had not played many deck builder games, learning it took a bit of time. During the game, the goal was to take control of Gotham as a whole, so it also had elements of an area control game on top of a deck builder. After only being able to play it for 20 minutes, I can say it was very easy to understand conceptually after a short amount of time, though it definitely seemed a bit overwhelming at first. I wish I had more time to play it to see more elements, such as combat or traps, but unfortunately, there was no time.

The second game I played was actually a hidden role game titled, “The Masks we Hide Behind”. Mostly an introspection on depression and the social interactions that come from it (along with other mental illnesses), this game felt very powerful in its message. Although when tested, it lacked structure outside of its hidden roles. Players were assigned a role at random, and were expected to display traits of those with an illness that corresponded with the role. However, there was an added element of whether that person was “Stable”, “Moderate”, or “Critical”, so that provided more to the gameplay. The goal of the game was to be able to guess each person’s role correctly by the end based on their mannerisms from the roles they received. The foundation of this game was strong, and I hope it obtains more structure beyond its base to become even stronger.

I feel that leadership was everywhere during this class, with students leading these projects they had meticulously created, trying to find flaws for improvement. It takes strong leadership to analyze your work, to keep what is good and improve on what is incomplete. That kind of constructive self-criticism is a sign of great leadership, at least in my personal opinion.

I know a friend of mine here at Miami who is very passionate about comic books, so I know that deck building game would appeal to him greatly. Perhaps when that student finishes iterating, I might borrow his game to play it with that friend. Either way, I am extremely interested in seeing where all these projects go in design in the final week(s) of the semester.

Week 11 and 12- T.I.M.E Stories

Over the course of two weeks in class, we had the opportunity to play what was probably the most complicated game yet – T.I.M.E Stories. This game had many elements that we had already experienced (ex. different roles, resources, etc.), but added on were puzzles, encounters, and a complex stat system for each player. T.I.M.E Stories in essentially a mystery game, where your characters, a band of time warriors, are sent to a certain place to solve the cause of an anomaly. To solve this mystery, you need to talk to certain NPCs (Non-Playable Characters), unlock new locations, decode certain messages, etc. There are multiple ways to go about certain situations, but time runs out the longer encounters last. That time is the biggest factor, running out means having to start over, including losing most resources.

The group that I was in when we played this had to investigate an insane asylum, while taking over the bodies of certain inmates. We had to adopt these inmates issues as we went along, so that added an extra layer to the already complex gameplay. The hardest part of the game, in my opinion, was trying to determine which action was the best going forward. Since your group wants to finish as quickly as possible, you need to avoid unnecessary encounters. However, without ever playing the game before, the scenarios are completely new, so the swiftest action is never clear-cut. For example, my group had to restart the entire mission because we wasted time on a lead that ended up being a red herring. Finding the right path to follow was definitely the most challenging aspect of the game, but was by no means frustrating.

Leadership during T.I.M.E Stories was more or less individual based, with certain players taking responsibilities to go to certain locations on their own. The confidence to make your own decisions was a big factor during the course of the game. When puzzles came around, particularly one that played a huge factor towards the end of the game, certain leaders emerged by presenting ideas that ultimately led the group toward the goal. While disagreements as to what course of action should be next did take place, overall my group were willing to listen to one another and help each other in any way possible, which in my opinion are strong traits of leadership.

I know for a fact that my family back home would love this game, because they take a lot of enjoyment out of intellectually challenging themselves. I myself would never buy this game personally, for it is fairly expensive for what is practically one narrative, but if it is available to rent I highly recommend it.