Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cardboard Jam II, October 8-9th, 2011

Back at MIT for another Cardboard Jam (board and card games).  The theme chosen for this jam was "occupy" - this was in the middle of all of the "Occupy Wall Street" business going on at the time.

Our group's initial brainstorming included expanding on multiple definitions of the word occupy, such as occupation (jobs) and occupying space, which is the direction a lot of other groups went in.  We moved toward a more current-event angle, the genesis of what we uncreatively called "Occupy Boston Game Jams".

An early iteration of our game.
The idea behind the game is that the players are leaders of an "Occupy" protest movement, and you have to balance between recruiting new people to the cause, keeping everyone engaged and fed, maintaining a positive public image, and not getting dissolved due to apathy or police intervention.  It's a cooperative game and the players have roles with certain bonuses.

We hit a snag early on where the gameplay simply wasn't engaging, and we weren't quite sure how to fix it.  So, in a bizarre move for a game jam, we opted to abandon the project for a majority of the weekend.  I think the idea was to "sleep on it", and hopefully have a kind of epiphany like you do after a good night's sleep or when you're in the shower.  Luckily for us, that's what happened!

In the interim, we spent some time futzing around with some other prototype ideas - one being a game where the battle mechanic involved poker hands.

A playtest.
One of the big changes we made when we finally decided to give the game another try was switching the dice that determine success/failure from d20s to d12s.  Partly because you rarely see d12s used, but it helped with the overall statistics. 

Overall I think the project was a success, despite the actual development time spent on it was about half of what it should have been. 

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