Contributing to “Don’t Drop the Bomb”

“Sneaky Blinders” initial prototype

“Don’t Drop the Bomb” was created by Josephine Doyle, Olivia Burt, Amelia Raffo, Katelyn Giuditta and Laura Wilson. Please check out the contribution blogs linked to their names.

Before our team reached the final game “Don’t Drop the Bomb” we had created a different game “Sneaky Blinders” but it was through our playtesting that we discovered that there were too many mechanics that hindered the game. Sigart (2008) notes that mechanics effect the player experience, challenges and emotions which was evident in our response to the game. We realised that too many rules, restrictions or influences meant there was no replayability and no room for interpretation. By conducting the game ideation together we were able to collectively decide aspects of games that we enjoyed and didn’t enjoy. By doing this collectively we were able to get a good scope of varying opinions. So although our first game was unsuccessful, it provided us with game mechanics we didn’t enjoy so we could determine the ones we did like.

Our initial prototype of “Don’t Drop the Bomb”

“Don’t Drop the Bomb” was formed by group discussions of a Tik Tok word association trend Josephine had brought up and we brainstormed how we could form it into a fast pace, simple and replayable game. It was then that we decided to play test a rough idea I had put together which incorporated our previous experimentation with bluffing or keeping secrets. So Olivia and myself wrote on sticky notes and turned a sand timer to trial a few rounds of the game, as a team we were pleased with the flow of the game and its minimal mechanics. 

From there we designed what materials would be required to form the game which included two whiteboards and markers (sourced by myself), a deck of cards with random words (created by Olivia) and a small timer (provided by class resources). 

When viewing the assignment outline for the presentation we decided it would be best to simply divide the different bullet points amongst the 6 members. This was determined by strengths each of us had already demonstrated while designing the game. Therefore:

  • The game overview, genre and intended audience was my responsibility, as I was already familiar with delivering an overview of the game during playtesting to a group of students, I had researched game genres and was comfortable with creating videos for the gameplay portion. 
  • Knowledge of subject lectures and materials was created by Josephine as she had already been writing summaries of the readings in our group journal, and displayed that research was her strong suit.
  • Evidence of background research was completed by Katelyn as during the game ideation process she often utilised online research to give us ideas and inspirations of other games, and how they structured their rules
  • Potential in the marketplace was Laura’s section as she was eager to discuss how our game could be utilised as an educational tool for children and how other games have influenced this decision.
  • Rules, game loops, mechanics, theme, narrative and emergent player story was created by Olivia as she demonstrated she could articulate and refine our ideas into fully formed aspects of our game, she was also cognizant of constraints in our game and how we could overcome them by altering our mechanics.
  • Playtesting experience and response to feedback was Amelia’s section as she was able to vindicate aspects of the game but also had a good understanding of the user feedback and how we could resolve issues.  

My section required a game overview, which I thought would best be expressed through a short video. The decision to create a gameplay video was partly influenced by my research into “Exploding Kittens”. When playing the card game, the instructions were initially a little complicated to grasp. It wasn’t until I looked into the game’s website and found a “Sample Round” video, which cleverly wrapped up the video without being repetitive or over complicated. Therefore I was able to model my video off this notion.

I decided to also playtest the game whilst creating the gameplay video. I provided my two volunteers with the materials and explained the instructions of “Don’t Drop the Bomb” for the purpose of filming, but before I knew it they were playing the game themselves. This carried on long after I had completed filming, which was reassuring that the game has good “replayability” and did not turn mundane after a few goes. By conducting my own user playtesting I was able to understand what aspects might not be clear in the game’s instructions, such as “what do you do if you both have the same word written down?” which is why the timer is in place. 

Determining the game’s genres was reached through research of the mechanics different game genres possess. Reddit threads of “party game mechanics” gave me player feedback of qualities such as “easy to get to the table” (minimal equipment), “easy rules” (limited mechanics), “plays a large group” (accommodates for multiple players) and “quick” (fast paced rounds). Another helpful resource was “The World’s Best Party Games” by Sheila Anne Barry that noted that constant player participation, accommodating for “sophisticated adults” and “8 year olds” as well as avoiding player elimination influenced the best player experience when playing party games. After this research it was easy to define “Don’t Drop the Bomb” as a party game as it incorporated many of these characteristics.

When defining the intended audience, I knew I needed to gain a better understanding of the player’s ages. Although the game is considered mass market, the incorporation of word associations meant it required a basic level of vocabulary. By looking into “Language Development in Children” I was able to determine that 8 year olds develop expressive language, including “synonyms and categories in word definitions”, “subject related vocabulary” and “uses a variety of words” so they would be able to successfully play the game. This was important as “Don’t Drop the Bomb” needed to provide an even playing field for the audience.  

The process of creating “Don’t Drop the Bomb” has helped to assist me in my individual project. By undergoing group game ideation I discovered how over restricting mechanics and complicated game acts creates an unenjoyable experience. From my personal section in the presentation I would like to detail and explore more of the intended audience. This presentation has demonstrated that this can be successfully expressed by analysing games with a similar intended audience in order to reach conclusions about the market and how they have utilised their audience. 

4 thoughts on “Contributing to “Don’t Drop the Bomb”

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