As a lover of conspiracy theories, I couldn’t help but suggest that for our group game production we create a “conspiracy theory” based game. Inspired by the “fill the gap” format like that of Cards Against Humanity as suggested by Julia, we formed the idea for our party game titled “That’s Whack!” We decided to split our collaboration up into 4 main sections to each go away with, research and construct slides for our presentation with.
Narrative in Games
As mentioned in the week 7 lecture on game mechanics and narratives “games as a form of media and communication are effective ways of transmitting ideas, stories, philosophies and ideologies”. So what is our game communicating?
I think in the technologically advanced world “conspiracies” are spread and being discussed online now more than ever before. Although, some of the time these “conspiracies” are quite important questions which aim to uncover the truth behind a lot that is happening around us e.g. the current global pandemic, a lot of the time for sure these “theories” are purely spread as “click bait” and to generate “fake news”. Taking this ideology and turning it into a fun game was our goal.
That’s Wack! – Our Conspiracy Theory Based Game and it’s Narrative
On a group call together we decided that the narrative of our game was that “players are conspiracy bloggers trying to get clicks and views, the bloggers are trying to come up with the wackiest, clickbait theories to gain online fame, THAT’S WHACK!”
Taking the similar format of Cards Against Humanity and meshing together loved conspiracy YouTuber Shane Dawson, That’s Whack! was born.
Our game’s narrative and its mechanics
Mentioned in the week 7 lecture was an essay abstract taken from Jeremy Holcomb’s “The White Box Essays”, “Your mechanics should feel like your story and your story should help teach your mechanics.” Taking this into consideration both contributions from Julia-May (mechanics) and I must flow well and be connected as they support one another.
To break down our narrative in our presentation I plan on dividing it into the three core narrative sections: beginning, middle and ending.
Beginning/The First Act:
– At the beginning of the game, a new player is assigned the role of ‘master conspiracist’, signified by wearing a tin-foil hat. Players take turns being the ‘master conspiracist’ in sequential order for each round (clockwise around the table, oldest to youngest, etc.).
– At the beginning of a round, the master conspiracist draws 1 prompt card, reads it aloud, and places it face-up on the table. All other players must draw three answer cards from each category pile required for that prompt.
*Note: as we are intending this to be more a “party game” although of course players are striving to win I don’t believe they would form a strategy as it’s more randomly dependant on the cards they get
Middle/The Second Act:
-Players simultaneously select from the answer cards in their hand to fill the blanks of the prompt cards and place them face down on the table in front of them. The goal is to create the craziest, wackiest conspiracy theory they can come up with for their own conspiracist blog.
-Once all players have chosen their answer cards, the players will then reveal their theories.
-The master conspiracist reads each player’s theory aloud to the table and chooses the best one, that player receives a point. Players shuffle the remaining answer cards from their hand back into each category pile and the next round starts.
*Note: The players opposing each other and battling to win is the biggest part of this act and maybe deciding when to use their “best cards” could be their strategy
Ending/The Third Act:
-The points from each round are added together
-The first to gain X points wins the game- The best conspiracy blogger with the most viral conspiracy theories!!! INTERNET FAMOUS
*Note: As there are multiple rounds I think theres always the opportunity for anyone to win, however once the rounds come to completion I think it would be made pretty clear who is about to win
Holcomb, J. et al (2017) The White Box Essays, Gameplaywright, Minnesota – PDF (https://img.fireden.net/tg/image/1502/97/1502970153285.pdf)
Moore, C. and and Hall, R. , 2020, BCM300 – Week Seven: Mechanics and Narratives – Youtube (https://youtu.be/sacKs-Kh9iw)