Good Cop/Bad Cop Revisited

I’ve got to be honest, revisiting Good Cop/Bad Cop is a little daunting. It’s worrisome to think that I’m starting from scratch, when most people are completing their games, BUT I’m confident this is the right move. Looking back I believe I strayed too far from Spyfall, so it’s nice to sit down and really try to link Good Cop/Bad Cop to its influence. Last week’s lecture introduced Frasca’s concept of ludology and narratology. Talking to friends, I realised that one of Spyfall’s strong points was that the game was intrinsically linked to narratives that the players construct from the discursive nature of the game. This narrative really transforms the gaming experience, creating a much more engaging and satisfying game. Spyfall really hits this narrative construction by simply providing a common single line of information to allow for player interpretation and composition.

So where does this leave Good Cop/Bad Cop? I’m not entirely sure to be honest. I want to use discussion based gameplay and incorporate the hidden information mechanic because I believe this will lead to narrative creation and open interpretation, but am unsure as to how to incorporate both. Spyfall solves this issue by issuing the common piece of information, i.e the location. I could follow in a similar suit, but I worry that the production costs will be too high to warrant; it would require multiple copies of the same card (for arguments sake, let’s say location card) and then multiple types of location cards. Spyfall counters this by being a digital game, eliminating these production costs. Instead, perhaps a single common piece of information is not the way to go. I figure, if production costs are going to be high due to multiple cards being needed, then each card may as well be unique.

I’ve got two approaches in mind.

  1. A game where one player is dealt the Bad Cop and everyone else is a Good Cop (very similar to Spyfall). Their role is unbeknownst to each other. The goal is for everyone to create an alibi that diverts them away from a “murder”. Players then vote for which alibi seems least plausible (or perhaps entertaining). I’m still not entirely sure what the win condition is, or more importantly, how one can relate an alibi to a Good or Bad Cop. I can see this turning into a more “Cards Against Humanity”-esque type game.
  2. A “Mafia” type game where players are dealt either the Good Cop or Bad Cop role. Basically with each passing round, if the Bad Cop(s) aren’t dealt with, one Good Cop is removed from the game until all the Good Cops are killed off, that is if the Bad Cops can stay alive. My issue with this game type is that, well… It’s stale.

Well there you have it. I’m at, what some might say, a big ol’ pickle right now. I feel this Mafia type game might work well, but now then it’s a matter of how I can introduce a new spin to it.

I could seriously use suggestions.

1 Comment

  1. Narrative-based games are the most enlightening games to play! However, it’s frustrating playing with people who lack that drive and yearn to want to play something that purposely makes you think (on the spot) and be witty about it. This Good Cop/Bad Cop idea is rather simple, yet very effective and I believe you have some solid gameplay right here, regardless of being back at square one! Can’t wait to see play-testing on this game!


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