I think our game was an achievement of the course. We had everyone playing the same game, and everyone appeared to be engaged and having fun! Our goal was to create a social game that mimicked the real way that truths get determined by society with the inevitability that there would only be one majority viewpoint that is considered the truth. We wanted to open up for the ability to play the game in a number of ways (not mutually exclusive):
Dominator: presents their truth loudly and will only ever vote for their own. They actively campaign and recruit others during the free-for-all period before voting.
Silver Tongue: use their power of persuasion to make the best argument for their truth. Will do so much more quietly and will let their idea stand on its own.
Truth-seeker: these players care more about voting for the majority truth and being in the biggest group.
Power-seeker: these players will try to gain as many Truth cards as they can. Similar to truth seekers, this means voting for the most-voted truth, but it especially means putting forth their own idea every round. These players will likely also be either dominators or silver tongues.
Follower: these players will attach themselves to a person or group and attempt to stay with them.
I think we saw each of these player types play out, which was a lot of fun. By the third round, everyone understood what was happening and there were some really nice dynamics at play. For instance, Tony became a loud voice, taking the dominator role, which attracted several followers who stayed with him for most of the remainder of the game. Another group quickly became the largest, which ended up as the biggest at the end, although many members had changed over the rounds, and there didn’t appear to be a single dominant voice. I’d say Chris and Josh were both silver tongues in the game, with eloquent and thoughtful descriptions, however the strategy didn’t seem to pan out in terms of votes.
There was some confusion in the first couple rounds about who votes, who to vote for, and where to move. I think this game would be made more clear by a more open space, or even just a big empty table. We can also give players a cheat sheet to refer to so they know what to do, when. We also need to make the “scoring” more clear to people so they know how to get more Truth cards and how many they get, especially in the case of a tie. I also noticed one or two players who seemed a bit disengaged by the end, but this may be inevitable in such a large group game, and also is realistic when it comes to the real systems of truth being determined. I think finding ways to engage these players could be beneficial to the group dynamics. I think people understood a bit of what we were trying to accomplish by the end of the game, but I think we could make a couple changes to hammer that message home more. For instance, making it very clear that having more Truth cards equates to more power, and that voting for the majority truth is equivalent to gaining more power within the social group. Overall, I think the playtest went very well, and I think it is an interesting group dynamics activity.