Good Cop/Bad Cop: the Playtest

This week was a pretty big week for my game development. I decided it was about time to try and playtest Good Cop/Bad Cop so that I could see whether the game (as it stands) works. I can say with confidence right now that it, in fact, failed. Miserably.

To begin with, I had trouble setting out the game. With 5 players (the Boxer Debriefs crew) I knew I had to deal out the roles being used; 1x Bank Manager, 1x Mastermind and ?x Good Cop/Bad Cop. As you can see I had trouble trying to distinguish how many Good Cops and Bad Cops were dished out, because quite honestly, I was unsure how many Good Cops and Bad Cops should be in play for 5 players. I even had trouble dealing out the diamonds, and the number of them. Should I use 5 because of the 5 players? Should I use 10 because it’s a nice round number? Should I deal out a diamond to each player? Or perhaps they all start in the bank vault? This unsureness (on my part as a developer) really stagnated the actual game progress, with much time devoted to trying to establish the starting board state.

After much rushed thought, I decided to press on ahead with the idea that “it’ll sort itself out”. As we began to play the game, we immediately came to a second blockade. Just how exactly do you play the bloody game? And more importantly, how do you win? Well the good thing is is that I already had a rough idea on how each role wins the game; Bank Manager returns all the diamonds, Mastermind takes all the diamonds, the Good Cop manages to apprehend the Mastermind, and the Bad Cop…? Well, I did say rough idea. Anyway, the real issue was how exactly we get to the point of winning. I personally thought the four possible actions each player could take per turn was clear and effective, but I soon found that this wasn’t the case. What ended up happening was that if each player interacted with a diamond the game would soon go stagnant, with essentially no actual progress being accumulated. I also had issue trying to explain the accusation mechanic due to the lack of a shared common hidden information (as explained in Week 6’s post).

Needless to say, we got nowhere, and I decided to call it quits and go back to the drawing board. Reflecting back on this, I realise I’ve actually lost the core mechanic that I wanted to employ, discursive gameplay, because of this focus on the diamonds. I think that I strayed too far from my inspiration, Spyfall, and I’m re-evaluating this current iteration of Good Cop/Bad Cop. I think I want to strip away a lot of the elements to bring it back to the bare essentials, in doing so I hope to bring clarity to my direction. These changes would namely be:

  1. Remove the diamonds
  2. Remove the role of the Bank Manager and the Mastermind

Spyfall is a successful game because of the simplicity of it. It’s time to go back to the roots of this.

1 Comment

  1. It is great to see you are very humble in your designing of games, and that you are able to willing and openly address your mistakes. This is great for the growth of your project, which when I play tested, you could definitely see. Finding and addressing these flaws is crucial to helping the progress of development, so this is great to see.


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