Yesterday at the Free University Jimena, Marija and I were able to demo our game, Á La Carte, for the second time. We were all quite surprised by how well it went, especially considering the playing conditions were less than ideal. Yet despite the dampness and the lack of a flat surface, we were able to get through several rounds of playtesting. The outcome was actually quite interesting. If you remember, the goal of the game is to stock your refrigerator, and the first player to do so wins. Although we tried to design a system where responsible shopping was the path to victory, it was actually the least responsible shopper that won! Clearly some revision will be necessary. Fortunately, everyone contributed some great suggestions and ideas. A very, very big THANK YOU to Katie, Jeremiah and everyone else who played and gave feedback. Here a few of the suggestions we received:
- Add more opportunities for player-to-player interaction
- Reward positive actions rather than just punishing negative ones
- Devise a more complex scoring system
- More opportunities to buy
Everyone was unanimous about the importance of the externality cards, which is how we highlighted the hidden costs of the food system. These cards were the way that we tried to discourage the player from purchasing conventional food. Each card had a fact about food production on it, like the number of food-borne diseases that occur each year or the amount of water that goes into food production. Even though the outcome of the game was not what we hoped for, these cards definitely served as talking points to get people discussing some of the injustices and imbalances of the food system. These conversations are actually the ultimate goal of the game, so in this respect, it was a complete success.
Photos/Video to follow.