Bullshit or Nah: The Complete Edition

The game has finally reached completion! After weeks of gruelling development, I have a finished product. The game consists of 60 cards, with two ‘facts’ each. That’s 120 questions, half of which are true, and half of which are false. It was a mission. This game has taught me some things. Finding facts that sound false but aren’t is easy. Thinking of facts that sound real but aren’t is even harder.

The completed prototype.

The idea of the game is very simple. There are two facts on every card, one person reads one card at a time, and chooses to read either the real fact or the false fact. The rest of the group then has to decide together whether the person was telling the truth or a lie. If they group guesses wrong, the reading player gets to keep the card, and first to 3 cards wins.

At first, I playtested the first 60 questions I had in class with two lovely volunteers. The consensus was that whilst the game made sense and was easy to pick up, it was really hard. There was less of an academic debate than I’d hoped, with the participants usually restored to taking a wild stab in the dark. It was obvious that the player not knowing each other very well was also an issue, with both players seeming too shy to argue out different points even when they had different answers. 

The second lot of play-testing yielded much more promising results. By this stage, I had the cards printed out, meaning I could run the game for real. I had five volunteers playing the game, all of which adopted the spirit of argument in the game very quickly. I ran into a problem though. When you have an uneven number of players, it means that there is an even number of players deciding whether you’re lying or telling the truth, which can occasionally lead to a hung vote. To fix this, and to aid the group in general when the questions were too hard, I introduced the chance coin. On one side it says “true” and on the other side “false”. The players can use this coin to decide on the verdict of a hung vote or decide for players when they get stuck.

The third round of play-testing was with this same group, and the coin as an element worked well. I was lucky in the fact that this group of people were determined to win on their own merit, so didn’t rely on the use of the coin too much. I have realised that there is the potential for players to give up straight away and rely on the coin to make all their decisions which would destroy the dynamics of the game. To fix this problem, I’ve introduced the rule that players can’t use the coin voluntarily more than two times in a row (coin use in the case of hung votes doesn’t count towards this).

The playtesting resulted in a healthy amount of friendly banter as I had hoped, however, I think that was also due to the fact that people playtesting were already good friends. In a situation where the game is played with strangers that are shy or uncomfortable, the game might not be run so smoothly, but I’m not sure if there’s a solution for this (atleast not a game mechanic based solution).

I also changed the game back from predominately black to white, in order to make the game more printer ink friendly. This was both for my own purposes when printing the game, and for it’s future potential distribution as a print and play.

The evolution of the card back new (top) vs. old (bottom)

 

Originally I wanted to make this game a tool to teach people to think critically. After the feedback from playtesting, I decided to shift my focus. I’ve designed the game in a way that it’s basically impossible to be confident in your answers. This was done for two reasons. Firstly, to generate a more light-hearted conversation and pointless argument seen in one of my favourite games, Superfight! Secondly, I wanted to highlight just how hard it is to tell fact from bullshit, in the hope that next time a player sees a fun ‘fact’ on the internet, they’ll at least have the frame of mind to do a quick google before believing, and god-forbid, spreading it.

I’m very pleased with how my game has turned out, and I’m excited to continue building on it in the future.

 

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