The Making of A Board Game

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I will be introducing you to the tabletop game that I have developed, ‘Crying Fries’

Now, let me set the scene for you….

Crying Fries is set in an alternate universe where humans do not exist, and terror plagues the city. In a dystopian society, the rich have the power, amongst them, we see high-class families of fries rule over the city. But, there are those who wish to tear these families apart.

Theme and Setting

There are those who lurk in the shadows, waiting for the right time to strike and there are those who seek to un-do these crimes. A gang of sweet potatoes and zucchini fries who are on the loose, targeting families of fries – separating them from their loved ones. You will become the detective and help reunite the families with their crying fries.

I have designed Crying Fries to be a family game. This game can be played from ages 7+ and requires a flat surface to set and distribute the cards. Family games are generally easier to understand among various ages. They do not require a high level of skill or organisation and can be played repeatedly. This game will appeal to those looking for an easy-going game that requires minimal set up, space and time. There should be 15 minutes allowed to play the game.

The crying fries game aims to give players and the audience a unique experience in an alternate universe where they can take on a new role or persona. They get to act as the hero. It is stated that “the success of a new board game depends on the game’s capacity to make players live a unique play experience and interact with other players” stated by d’Astous and Gagnon (2007).

Background Research

In creating my tabletop game, it was crucial that through development and playtesting my game remain uncomplicated. Over the past several weeks of personally interacting with other board games, I took note of what worked well, and what made these games enjoyable or unenjoyable. This made me aware of my desire to utilise images within the instructions – this simplifies the tasks as well as makes things easier for the younger audience.

Rogerson et. al. (2018) discuss how the complex relationship between cooperation and competitiveness in board games. Both are used to create an environment to successfully complete the game whilst enjoying the process. The interactivity between players that involves trading and rotation allows for players to improve their awareness whilst achieving their goals.

In looking at similar games that would sit closely to crying fries, I’ve looked the international bestseller, ‘Throw, Throw Burrito and what has made it succesful. The games Developer stated that he wanted to create a game that lured people off their screens and to instead engage with each other. As stated previously, tabletop games involve collaboration and competitiveness – in the game that I have created, players must engage with others to have a chance in winning.

Torner (2016) details the self-reflexive process in tabletop games and how players engage with role-play. This gives individuals the opportunity to ‘be someone they’re not’, create a ‘sense of drama’ and allows you to explore a fantasy world ‘in a social setting.’ The game I have created embodies these elements that aims to be create lots of fun.

Game Mechanics

I have kept the game rules simple, allowing for those of a younger age range to understand as well or maybe if you’re like me and get confused easily.

The game loop is simple, collect sets of cards to win the game.

The game starts with players being dealt four cards to start forming collections, discard cards and pick up new ones. The first player to collect four sets of 3 wins the game. There are three types of sets and two villain cards. These villain cards are the sweet potato and zucchini cards.

Sichart (2008) proposes a definition of game mechanics useful for the analysis of games and their formal constituents. This definition will allow for formalised analysis of game structures, and it will also open for the possibility of connecting formal game analysis with research on controller designs and user experience.

Prototyping and Playtesting

In prototyping and play-testing, the ‘crying fries’ game, I printed out 45 cards 11. As you can see the cards I had printed out are awfully small, this was accidental but definitely all a part of the prototyping process.

What worked well: Currently, what worked well was that each of the cards were easily distinguishable making the pairing and discarding of cards to be quick and easy. I think If I made each of the fry collections different colours would help collect the cards quicker.

In playing a couple rounds of the game, it was quite easy for a player to win the game, this was because there were lots of cards within one suite to collect. I believe if I introduced different types of fry families, perhaps 5 or 6 it would make it more of a challenge to win.

My creation and participation of this game has allowed me to note what to add, or change for next time.

References:

d’Astous, A. and Gagnon, K., 2007. An inquiry into the factors that impact on consumer appreciation of a board game. Journal of Consumer Marketing.

Engelstein, G & Shalev, I 2022, Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms, CRC Press, Milton.

Rogerson, M.J., Gibbs, M.R. and Smith, W., 2018, April. Cooperating to compete: the mutuality of cooperation and competition in boardgame play. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 1-13).

Sicart, M, 2008, ‘Defining Game Mechanics’, The International Journal of Computer Game Research, vol. 8, no. 2.

Torner, E. 2016, ‘The self-reflexive tabletop role-playing game’, GAME : The Italian Journal of Game Studies, vol. 5, pp. 1-2

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