Culture games week 2

The group continued making various different games and play testing them. We came up with several ideas, some better than others. We continued with our game-style theme of cards, but branched out to different sizes and shapes instead of just traditional playing cards.

These two games involved a simple paper-scissors-rock mechanic, where troll beats meme, meme beats lurker and lurker beats troll. The logic behind it is that a troll harasses a contributor (‘meme creator’ or just ‘meme’ for short), a contributor draws out a lurker from their hiding space, and a lurker is untouchable by a troll because trolls cant harass what isn’t there.

The first game simply involved two players (pink and blue) taking turns playing pieces next to a piece they could beat. The previous piece is then flipped to their colour, and the person with the most pieces in their colour when they ran out of pieces to play, would win. We quickly realised this game had several flaws, one of the main ones being the fact that the players were completely balanced, so whoever played first would inevitably lose.

The second game was similar, but with octagonal pieces that had some sides with meme, lurk and troll, and back sides that have skulls on them instead of a different colour/word.

Our third and fourth games used the same deck of ‘meme’ cards, which simply consisted of memes and funny pictures we found on the internet.

The first game we created was based on Ben’s suggestion of making something like Dixit. One player chooses a card from their hand of 5, says something they think some people will relate to the card, and then places it face down on the table. The other players each choose a card from their hand that they think might confuse the issue (or just a random card), and also places it face down. The cards are all shuffled together, and flipped face up. The players then vote on which card they think is the first player’s, and points are awarded depending on how the votes are placed. The original player gets points based on the number of votes they got, but none if everyone voted for them. The other players can get points for the latter condition, if the first player got no votes, or if they were voted for.

I find this game to be the most interesting so far, and possibly the most successful in that it centers around the idea of memes as funny, but also things that people know about and can relate to each other through – or not. I think it worked very well, because there were always some people who understood what other’s were referencing and some who didn’t, which is exactly what you aim for in Dixit. In a way, it reflects our information age culture, where people make references to other things all the time, and in order to understand them, you either have to be in the know, or good at guessing.

The last ‘game’ we made was more of a freestyle role play, where the cards served as the base you created your action from – for example, using the Phoenix Wright ‘Objection’ card to dispute the previous player’s actions, or the ‘This is fine’ card to shrug them off. While it was an interesting idea, I think it worked better when we originally came up with it, as a purely spontaneous thing. The second round, where we tried to do it on purpose seemed a lot more forced and unnatural, and several players did almost nothing because they weren’t really sure what to do.

On one hand, I think this is a great demonstration of how things on the internet can spontaneously spawn into something awesome, and possibly even reflects how a meme is created – one person says it, other people think it’s cool and copy them, and then it becomes a big thing, but also possibly looses some of the ‘magic’ it had the first time, and it then starts loosing interest. On the other hand, it’s very hard to bring this type of thing to present it, because the energy and excitement of the first version isn’t there. For that reason, I don’t really think we should present this one, despite what the rest of the group thinks.

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