BCM300 – Abstraction and Play-testing

This week in our Gamemaking class, we had a look at abstraction and what that means for our individual games. Abstraction is essentially taking something and developing its conceptual ideas, the very base qualities. Abstract art allowed artists to look at works through a new angle as they went against traditional techniques and represented them in a form that was less multidimensional.

In my personal game “Volcano Run!” as an abstraction, it is simply a race game. Beat the other competitors to the end of the board before time runs out. And further into that it is an abstraction of the reality of volcanic eruption and escape from it. The most fun is in the pace of the game, the race, the struggle to overcome obstacles to be the first to the end. Another abstraction of my game is the scenarios. You land on a space and you go through a scenario.  But inherently, if you removed the theme, and the scenarios themselves were as simple as ‘one space forward’ and ‘one space back’ you would still be playing the same game, just trying to get to the end before the others.

This week I managed to play-test a newer version of my game, a different style board with four safe points and beginning in the middle. Already the look of the game is much better! We played it with four players, myself being one of them. I taught them how to play the game but I believe it is fairly straightforward once you begin gameplay. Another element of the game I incorporated was a time limit, 15 minutes, by which time you have to be in the safe areas or risk the volcano getting you.


-Engaging gameplay, all players were invested and the fast pace of the game meant there weren’t long waits in-between turns

-The scenario cards worked well, players read out the scenarios and other players listened and would comment on how the player responded, particularly with the HELP! cards. This may have been because the I researched hazards involved in volcanoes and made cards that responded to these accordingly

-The time limit was a constant talking point throughout the game, players egging on other players to ‘hurry up before the volcano gets them”, this itself meant players didn’t have time to think about their turn in the frantic gameplay



– The ending of the game had issues as the rest of us had gotten out safely but one player decided to wait the remaining time and use all HELP! cards to earn more points. This flaw could be resolved by making a rule about the last player to get to safety loses, or the game is immediately over once all other players have reached safety. Another suggestion I received was that once there was only one player left the time to get to safety would be reduced to 30 seconds perhaps

– The time limit was perhaps a bit too long. This may because my board itself is a bit rudimentary but when I next playlets I might set the limit at ten minutes to increase the frantic nature of it. Or perhaps the time limit could vary depending how many players are involved. I’ve noticed through play testing that the game could probably be played with many more people because it is fast and engaging

I’ll adjust the rules accordingly and hopefully in the next play-test, this will be resolved and I can fine tune some further elements of the game.

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