Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Final Play-Testing Peer Review

We participated in a play testing set-up in class today. We play tested the game "discovered." It was really good in concept and gave us some insight to things in our own game that we might want to fix...
Some new aspects to our game as of today include: making a story book, changing the trivia boat to a school of fish, making the keys 3D, and adding maybe adding pictures to the rules. Having a story book may help to tone down the rules - they are filled with theme related stories, so by having a separate story may help make the game more clear. Having a story might also provide our characters with more of a trademark that kids can actually relate to and get excited about. I think this is much better than the farm concept that we originally had where kids are merely herding animals to the other side. The mystification and fiction of it all will further hide the fact that it is an educational game to kids - something that is very important in my eyes when coming up with an educational game that actually works. I mean, come on, what kids are really going to get excited about doing math word problems if all there is to mask it is an uncreative story like farm animals? And so, the story continues. To see the story in action click here.

The following are the comments that we received from our play testers: Jonathon, Keith and Scott... Our reactions to their comments are written in italics.

Rule Clarity
Are the Rules clear? Were there any particular sentences, terms, or concepts in the rules that you found difficult to understand or use?
  • The "Ending the game"explanation sentence caught me off guard with jumping off the bridge.
  • Really like the rule layout, clean
  • Could have some small images of the sqaures
  • The key card concept was a little confusing, didn't know whether to wait at the gate for all animals or move each one separately.
  • Rules are mostly clear. When you land on two spaces do you answer both questions?
This is something that we definitely need to work on in terms of clarity. We were worried that the key concept would be confusing, BUT, having a stop sign or a real 3D gate might help. Most of all, our narrative will explain what the gate is, why it is there, why you need a key, how you get a key, why you need a key for EACH animal, etc.

Rule Suggestions
Are there rules you don't like? are there rules you like a lot? Are there any rules you'd suggest adding or deleting?
  • the rolling rules are good
  • the rule "lily pads" car a nice concept
  • I like the rule of moving by difference and then also the choice to divide between animals. Highly mathematic.
How might you improve the game coherence? Does the game concept make sense at every level of play? Is the board image consistent with the theme? Is the game play consistent with the game concept and intended audience?
  • the lily pads are incoherent
  • yes, game concept made sense, yes, yes, yes
  • Yes, game is very clear and easy to understand.
  • Why lily pads? No frogs? What are the yellow squares?
Our narrative story book should clear up the lily pads making sense to the game, the actual frogs, or yellow squares being towels and other fuzzy things on the board. (See the link mentioned above)

Length of Play
How long did it take you to play? Did you think this was about right?
  • 20 minutes, yeah it was a good time length
  • 20 minutes, sure
  • 20 minutes good length
This is just what we were looking for...

Questions (if applicable)
Are the questions appropriate for the audience? Are they too easy? Too ahrd? Which ones?
  • some questions were too boring... Example: would you rather have 300 brothers or sisters?
  • possible, hard to tell
  • yes, maybe add more division and multiplication questions
Unfortunately, our game is geared towards a 2nd grade age group so having college students answer this question does not really help us out..

Game Board
How would you improve the board design or the visual appeal of the game board?
  • Board design is great
  • Add some color or engaging pictures, game concept allows for an elaborate board design
  • I like the fence, but the actual board is kind of shabby and incoherent. However, I realize we have not had that much time or resources so considering that, the board is amazing. Especially the cards.
The final product/board WILL be in color, and we will be adding more details to the boat and there will be words actually written in from photo shop. Today was JUST a prototype, but the design being great gives us great feedback, and the 3D concept with the fence has made us reconsider some deisign decisions. For instance, we will now be having the lily pad cards shaped as lily pads to fit over the ones on the board. The key cards will actually be keys on a ring. As for the trivia boat, we have taken that idea out altogether and replace it with a school of fish who ask you questions along the way. More to follow...

What aspects of the game did you enjoy most and least? What's the most fun element? What's the least fun element?
  • most fun: jumping the fence, enjoyed most: educational slant, least fun element: some bad, horrible questions
  • animal choice was fun and lily pad rule was interesting
  • some of the questions got monotonous
We may consider making the game for a slightly older audience so that we can include some multiplication questions to change it up a bit. As for the questions and them being horrible, that is something we would need an educator or kid to answer, because our play testers today were typically college seniors - where I am sure that doing 12 + 8 + 2 can get very boring!

Additional Questions
Do you like the idea of ahving a "Stuck in the mud" lose a turn space?
  • it works for little kids
  • sure
After reconsideration and non enthusiastic nods, we have decided to drop this idea.

Did you understand from the rules that there are only two animals allowed on the board at one time?
  • per player right?
  • no, should be said more distinctly
  • no
We were told that they played with all animals on the board and it was fun that way, so we are just going to take that rule out of the game...

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