Day 43 - Lens 96: The Lens of Friendship (38 in the deck?)
People love to play games with friends. To make sure your game has the right qualities to let people make and keep friendships, ask yourself these questions:
What kind of friendships are my players looking for?
Play testing has in this regard been less helpful as I often have players that are strangers rather than ones that are already friends. In normal play of a board game there will usually be preexisting friendships. When I have played with a more normal group of friends the game has performed better, however developing the game with a feedback source that is harsher than normal has made me focus on this concern.
So players that do not know each other are looking for allies and 'friends' that they can trust not to betray them. Normal play groups may form their alliances based on the friends they have that meet those requirements.
How do my players break the ice?
The learning the game document is used by one player to teach the game in an interactive way, then the 'raise your fist' turn mechanic gets players to all make a icebreaking demonstrative action each turn. Then the flow of game play brings players into contact with each other.
Do my players have enough chance to talk to each other? Do hey have enough to talk about?
Yes! Players have plenty of time to talk to each other, either during game turns or in the time explicitly provided during challenges. I have a mechanic (the fist raising) that encourages quick play, but players seem to negotiate pretty freely.
When is the moment they become friends?
There is a distinct moment when an alliance is made and the truthfulness of a fellow player is extablished that is powerful. Of course betrayal is also a possibility at any point.
What tools do I give the players to maintain their friendships?
Establishing an alliance or friendship with another player has mechanical advantages from the victory point to the free passage through opposing guards. Betraying that friendship removes those advantages.