UX & Game Designer
Debatable

During "Deep Games", a course I took during my undergrad taught by Doris Rusch, I worked on a final project that was a card game based around communal knowledge and trickery. For the final project we were free to design system we thought would convey deeper meaning, and in this instance myself and a few other classmates designed a game based around how history becomes distorted through collective ignorance or exaggeration.

Our game at the time was a card game where players tried to rid their hand of cards one at a time by verbally connecting a card in their hand in a factual (or false) way to the card played by the previous player. If every other player felt like the connection was true, play goes to the next player in the group, otherwise the card is discarded and the lying player a lier must redraw. All the cards were proper nouns, ideas or events, so the connections took a historical bend.

After the semester ended, Amir Badri, Andy McCord and I worked on a fleshed out version of the game. We designed and printed cards, and changed the games structure from an uno-like structure to one where topics to connect to are separate from the concepts in player's hands. Players in the complete game, now called "Debatable", all connect one card from their hand to the same topic card, then when each player has acted on that topic card it's discarded and another is redrawn.

Ultimately Debatable never became a complete game. We all drifted away from the project as we rolled into senior year and expectations mounted, but we enjoyed showcasing the game and working on it between those points! We attempted to send it into Indiecade, which is how the video above was produced, and we showcased the game at IndiePopcon through funding at DePaul. Despite this though, I never quite felt we had cracked how to structure the core mechanic. It was too easy for players to simply disbelieve everything for the sake of winning, and it never quite became a debate of ideas as much as it was a series of statements and half-hearted votes. I still think there's a good game hidden in here, but I'm not quite sure what form it should take.

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