Report on Gaming Jam at Swissnex

On September 1st 2013, Swissnex India conducted a gaming jam event at their office in Bangalore. Fields of View co-facilitated the gaming jam along with Collaborative Community and IGDA Bangalore. Participant space comprised individuals from diverse backgrounds from different nations. Self-organised teams were asked to develop a physical prototype of a game on Indian culture. Apart from facilitating, participants from Fields of View were part of different teams at the event.
We will discuss the prototypes of games developed by teams which included participants from Fields of View.

 

Glutton

In team ‘Starks’, Murali and Rufael from Fields of View teamed with designers Simon, Kenneth and Debhasish.  Challenges with traffic jams set the base for initial discussion. However, participants felt that the theme was too serious for a game and decided to shelve the idea.
Rufael and Simon suggested a game on Indian gods and food respectively. They mentioned that lack of easy ways of getting information and knowledge motivated them to propose a game on gods and food. Considering the time constraints, and other challenges such as lack of expertise and chances of controversy involved in developing a game on gods,  the team moved ahead to develop a game on Indian food and etiquette.

Brainstorming on the game centred on Indian food, participants discussed below ideas:

  • A game to conquer a city based on regional knowledge of food,
  • A check list based game for food etiquette,
  • A card game for creating and enhancing knowledge on Indian food.

Unsure whether a physical prototype for the first two ideas was possible in the limited time, the team decided to proceed with the third idea.

glutton1

Quick prototyping and test plays helped the team to gain further insights into game mechanics and game theme. After few iterations, the team designed the physical prototype of the game.

A set of cards were designed for the game with 2-4 players. Initially it was advised to have at least one Indian player to help facilitating the game. Each card represented an Indian food item from breakfast, lunch and dinner and contained different scores based on the type of food, calorific values etc. Also, few cards represented common food such as  curd which could be taken along with food during breakfast, lunch and dinner.

glutton2

 

Goal and game play

In the game, players would be given 9 cards which would form their ‘plate’. Objective for the players in the game is to maximize their score by making  3 ‘3 card’ sequences out of the 9 cards. Each of this 3 ‘3 card’ sequence represents a combination of food items for breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively. In turns, players either decide to pick a new card or drop a existing card. The game ends when all the cards in the set of cards are used or all players decide to end it. Scores of all players are tallied to decide the winner. Card categories based on calorific values, vitamins etc. are used to decide a winner in cases where two or more players get same score.

glutton3

Participants believe that the full version of the game would help foreigners gain knowledge of Indian food. With proper modifications, this game could be tailored for kids in India.

 

मुझसे शादी करोगे ?

Team ‘Bangsterdam’ was a combination of Bangaloreans and one Amsterdammer. Together they looked at what caught their attention. It also had to have fun game-play. They chose marriage, seeing big differences in the marriage culture between India and Europe. They brought each other up to speed about the differences in each of their countries and began to think about how this broad idea can be changed into something real.

First up they started by making a mind map of already existing games, shows etcetera, about marriage and the ‘game of love’. Then they discussed on how to make a multi-player board game that captured the procedure of getting married in India. The team figured all the criteria that were before two persons, or a family, got married. Five main categories in this game we named as: Family approval, education, looks, personality and career.

Board layout and beginning

The core of the game was to fit the profile of the bride. The bride would be the game master, decided by a dice roll at the start of the game. The game master, or bride, sets up a profile of his or her perfect man of wife. He has 100 tokens to divide in these 5 main categories. He keeps his/her profile of his/her perfect man/wife secret.
The board’s core is shaped as a circle, divided in squares. Around this circle there are arcs, also divided in squares. There are 5 arcs, corresponding with the 5 main categories of the perfect profile of the game master. Some of the outer circles overlap. When you are in the education’s arc, half way you can ‘drop out of school’ and go on with your career. (See image)

Goal and game play

The objective of the game is for the players to correspond to the game master his/her perfect profile. The players don’t know this profile but during the play there are ways to find out.
The players begin in the core of the board. Rolling the dice decides how much squares he/she can move. The player can choose which arc he/she is going to follow. Do you think education would be an important categorie for the GM? If you already have a lot of career-points, then you might choose another category. The arcs overlap somewhat. So, during the arc you can choose to step over to another overlapping arc.

Half-way through there is a shortcut. A player landing on this one can take a risk. He/she can answer a question (Like: What’s the minimum age for marriage in India?) If one answers right, he get to skip the rest of the arc and receive all the points. In case he/she gives the wrong answer, his turn is over and needs to wait.
By passing over the ‘date-squares on the bord, player gets the chance to ask the gamemaster the value of one of his 5 categories. This information will remain restricted. Metaphorically the player gets to have a ‘date with his/her potential lover, and gets to know what their interests are. This information will remain classified.
By landing on a danger-square the player falls prey to a bad habit, like alcohol use, smoking, using drugs or stealing. This will give the player negative points. A player can have 3 negative points. The fourth one is the fatal one, the player is out. There is also a cleansing arc. This you can use to get rid of your bad habits by finishing this arch.
Then there are chance-arcs. These give you random points on one of the 5 categories. Easy score!

marriagegame1

The players get to know more and more about the interests of the Game master. When they feel they correspond (have equal or more points than tha Game master demands) they go to the core and propose. The Game Master can choose to say yes and mary, or to say no and end the game for the player.

This game is as much an understanding in how the ‘game’ of marriage in real life goes, as it is a fun game to play with a group of people. It shows you the power one has to ‘create’ the profile they want to be. It also lets the player know that one can change for another and there is noting like a destined one, people transform and are fluid.

Towards the end, each team presented the prototypes and invited other teams to play. On a whole, the gaming jam resulted in developing diverse prototypes of games by the participants.

 

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