Original Game Critique of Outer Spade
My group decided to take on the game Outer Spade, because we found their underlying message to have great potential, and the gameplay mechanics entertaining. The point of the game was to attempt to demonstrate the possibility of instability within a planet, which could lead to its destruction (from aliens). As well as the players integral role in that instability.
However, I found the way the original game handled this message to be very confusing. The game had a large learning curve that would be daunting to new players, and took an extended amount of time to be able to begin seeing the mechanics of the message. It also had complicated dynamics that could not be simplified well into a reasonable length for instructions, even though these dynamics later in the learning curve could become very interesting interactions between players.
I also think the interaction between players felt forced and stilted as a mechanic, but the idea of the interactions was sound and interesting. The idea of sabotaging each other (potentially at the risk of the planet or their own win) intrigued me. I’d like to develop and refine this dynamic and decision making in our game redesign to help players experience this system’s effect on planetary stability.
I also think that the games’ theme was hard to read in the original game, so I’d like to make it a more prominent focus as too how players’ decision impact the game (and their likelihood to win) vs the games of other players. I believe adding and expanding on the player’s dynamics that were originally designed in Outer Spade will create a more interesting and educational game. I also believe that transforming it into a board game could simplify the mechanics of the game, and allow for an easier learning curve. This is vital to creating a reasonably playable game. With some refinement, I believe we can take Outer Spade’s inspiration and transform it into a meaningful, enjoyable game.