‘what was that’ bcm300 dossier

University of Wollongong

What Was That

Laura Wilson


BCM300 Game Making

Assessment 3: Game Dossier

26th May 2021

Tables of Contents:

Overview: 3

Background: 3

Comparable Titles and Products: 3

Marketing and Production Costs: 4

Potential Publisher: 4

Rules: 4

The Three Act Structure:5

Game Play and Rules: 5

Development Process: 7
Playtesting and Iteration: 8
Final thoughts: 10

Appendix: 12


The title of my game is “What Was That”, this was thought of during class prototyping because of some of the reactions/ replies people gave when playing the game. I had generated several names however I believed this one was the most intriguing and eye catching for a board/ card game. A study conducted by Murphy (2019) suggests the benefits of playing games related to trivia improves and expands one’s knowledge while interacting with it. Overall, my game has two sets of cards one being trivial questions and the other being a set of cards that players have written characters on or people in the room that will then have to act out and people will have to guess who they are acting out. ultimately the board game has two colours and however many answers you get right is how many places you move.


My trivia game is not your traditional Q&A set up it has additional elements throughout the game which adds humour embarrassment and engagement ultimately because I wanted to create a game that wasn’t solely on testing someone’s knowledge however introducing the mechanic of acting.  My prototype started off completely different to my end game as I first created a word card game that ended up turning a game similar to our group one so I went back to the drawing board and created a game based around pop culture and acting. My prototype for this game was very simple and had a minimalistic aesthetic as I wanted it to be an easy game to play. Teenagers 14+ to 25 year old’s would be ideal for this game as it’s dealing with very modern topics that is relevant to their era. People that use TikTok would enjoy this game as many questions are relevant to this niche. While playtesting this game with my family I noticed my parents didn’t know a lot of the answers 2 the trivia questions however they were able to act out the characters written down.

Comparable Titles and Products:
The game’s concept was influenced by the popular game ‘Trivial Pursuit.’ ‘Over 90 million Trivial Pursuit games have been distributed in 26 countries and 17 languages over the last three decades’ (Persuit 2013). Trivial Pursuit is not a themed trivia game like most others; instead, it offers general trivia information that helps to level the playing field. Trivial Pursuit is not a themed trivia game like most others; instead, it offers general trivia information that helps to level the playing field. This sparked my idea, as I wanted to enhance and broaden my audience’s experience as well as their enjoyment. You would need to know the answers as well as think statistically about each step you make. Another game I looked into was Pub Quiz, this game took the form of a board game and uses 4 pencils, write-on-on wipe-off scoreboard and dry eraser marker and instructions. My idea of players being able to create characters to act out stemmed from the idea of people being able to tailor the game to personalise it. Player’s decisions will be constrained by other players decisions ultimately enabling another level to the game (Mosca, 2016).

Marketing and Production Costs:

To reach the final product of “What Was That” I invested research to find out ultimately how much I would need to charge if I was going to make a profit. On average trivia games usually cost between $25 and $30, depending on the success of the game, its size, and the number of themes available. After calculating the costs of each piece of material used for my game, I estimate that each game would cost about $18. The box includes, the rules, an A4-sized playing board, six regular movers, the prewritten trivia playing cards as well as blank cards with pens to write the characters on. To make a profit, I will raise the price to $30 per game, which seems to be reasonable given the regular price of trivia games. I believe my game has the potential to be publicised because I have no critical reviews from play research, only changes and enhancement.

Potential Publisher:

Publishers are critical when it comes to putting a board game into the hands of the general public, even though many of them do not sell to the general public and only have access for business-to-business transactions. One possible publisher I discovered during my study is ‘Small World’, which sells high-quality games in limited quantities, allowing games to be in high demand. Another good-rated publisher is Funagain, which publishes a variety of games to see what appeals to their target audience.


Key mechanics and game play loops:

The mechanics of my game are critical because they give the impression that it is a game rather than just a quiz. The game would struggle without the mechanic of ‘ladders’ the board shifts the game play as it makes it prolongs the ending. Players must play the coloured card they land on to make progress on the board. The aim of the game is to have a tablo, this means a little space in front of you where you are doing an activity.

The Act Structure:

In terms of the Three Act Structure, I’ll clarify how the game plays a role in each play. Without the First Act, this prototype is nothing more than a collection of questions/ acting cards that just functions as a game. Each player receives one combination card at random from the deck, which is not disclosed to the other players. During the Second Act, players tackle trivia questions or act out characters from the groups in which their player is put on the board, and they are able to collect the trivia question after they have correctly answered the question. The Third Act is the final stage of the game, where you might risk everything you’ve played for in a matter of seconds. This is where the ladders are and players must answer enough right questions/ do a good enough job of acting to not land on the ladders and be taken back 5 spots. 

Game Play and Rules:

The game begins with selecting the person who will be the timer/ answer checker to the trivia questions. The trivia questions (purple card) are placed on one side of the board and 3 blank cards (orange) are handed out to each individual. Players will then write on character on the cards and these will be used as acting cards. Players will then receive their individual tablo which is in the pattern of an image with either more purple or orange on them. The aim of the game is to complete your image first by answering the questions correctly and receiving the colours needed to complete the image. The player to begin is whoever is right of the person keeping watch of the time/ answers. This person begins with the mechanic of roll and play. The number on the dice determines how many moves you make. The player will then accordingly move their pewter token and land on either purple (trivia) or orange (acting) square. The player then has 30 seconds to guess/ act out as many cards as possible to move and collect pieces to complete their picture. Trivia cards have number on the back of the card so that while the player is trying to guess the answer the person who is running the game can look up that number and check if their answer is correct with the answer sheet. While players tackle trivia, they can also land on orange which is the acting cards. The acting cards have 3 rounds. The first round of working through the acting pile is where players can use words and hand gestures. The second round through the pile players can use 1 work to describe/ hint the character in the pile. On the third round, players can use only hand gestures to hint the character. Players have 30 seconds all up for each move however if they can’t guess the answer on trivia or their acting, they have until the 10 seconds from picking up the card to put that card down and pickup another one from that pile. If another player knows the answer, they can say they know it and take the token from the middle of the board and place it onto their tablo. This makes it so all players are involved in the game at all times. The game repeats itself until they either finish the board game (meaning the board wins) or they complete their individual picture (meaning they win).

Development Process

Ideation and prototype details:

I decided to go with a picture of shapes/ outlines of shapes as I found it to look more sophisticated. I found this board set up on Vector Stock which I found to be similar to what I intended for. I wanted to make different versions on Adobe Illustrator however my computer doesn’t have enough storage to download that app. However, I have altered the board game to show what the setup would be like.

12 combination cards with game board

On the board game there would only be 2 alternating colours; orange and purple. Players would have to try and get as many questions/ acting cards correct to ensure they complete their picture before they reach the othersider of the game.

Blank acting cards to write characters on

Trivia questions


Playtesting and Iteration:

9th of April 2021

Began with unearthing what mechanics I wanted to focus on! As said in this week’s lecture, the story should follow the mechanics.

I have been looking into in to games to learn different types of mechanics


Theme: innocent

Setting: a range of settings depending on the group of cards.

Buzzwords is a game for all ages and can be utilised for specific groups. For examples people who are aged 5-10 will be playing a different game to 30-50 year old’s.

Each round is a different setting/ theme.

The mechanics of the game will utilise the brainstorming of worlds. Everyone knows the setting however everyone needs to continue the sentence of words to continue the circle.

  1. Pull setting out
  2. Roll dice to find out how many words you can say
  3. First player starts e.g. the key word is safari and they have 2 words each player can say. You cannot repeat the word.
  4. There will be golden words that you want to win by using them in your sentence however they must relate to your topic and make sense.

15th May

  • Buzzwords worked better in our group so have moved onto a new game
  • New game is themed around modern/ colours (don’t know if that’s a theme)
  • Have created a board game with 2 sets of action cards
  • Added in a role and play

21 May 2021

  • Prototyped in class with group of 4
  • Took away the component of players writing down their own scores and gave 1 person the roll of making sure trivia questions were being answered right
  • Chris and Richard offered the idea of tablo
  • Richard said how trivia is binary (you either know the answer or not) this introduced the idea of players being able to give the question to someone else
  • Chris also mentioned me adding in a stealing mechanic which would add another layer to the game using the tablo idea e.g. e.g. once you have 3 cards you can make more moves
  • This game from playtesting is working and the sounds of my feedback was positive.

Final thoughts:

To conclude, I am satisfied with my final prototype and consider myself extremely grateful that my playtests were able to undergo massive construction over the past month. If I were to publish this game, I would like to maintain the same style and aesthetic while making the concept and illustrations more complex than they are in my prototype. I’d like to potentially make various variations and themes of the game for a larger audience.


Mosca, I. 2016, ‘What is it like to be a player? The qualia revolution in game studies’, Games and culture, vol. 12, no. 6, pp. 585-604

Persuit, J.M., 2013. Social media and integrated marketing communication: A rhetorical approach. Lexington Books.


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