BCM 300 – Game Experience design
Rhino Hero is a practical card game which involves folding/bending of certain cards to erect a building while meeting the requirement of certain challenges and instructions. The age on the box is 5+. However after playing the game numerous times with my 20 year old class mates (that is after the 15 minutes we spent reading the instructions for the wrong game and YouTubed how to play) it’s clear that the game would be enjoyed by anyone.
The game was produced by ‘Haba’ a toy company who’s products are aimed at a predominately younger audience. While Haba specialise in board games they also offer wooden toys, books, children’s furniture and more. The illustration and overall design of Rhino Hero is very obviously aimed at its five(ish) target audience with the game’s cards, box and instructions covered in cartoon pictures. Said designs and images were produced by Thies Schwarz; a German illustrator who creates imagery for children’s games, books and apps.
Rhino Hero is a novel children’s/family game, therefore it is in the game’s genre’s nature to be playful and a bit “whacky”. This in my opinion allowed the game designer’s the ability to be fairly loose in the Rhino Hero’s connection between game mechanics and rules, the setting, theme and story.
After playing the game, many questions remain unanswered, for instance… Why a Rhino of all animals? It does seem implausible that a two tonne beast would have the ability to climb a building; And who is this supposed hero saving, and from what? In my opinion it was these questions that made playing the game humorous and therefor enjoyable.
In week two our group set out to play Coup… luckily for us we had the great man Jack on our side – a self proclaimed expert at the game. This was expected to help keep us under our 15 minute benchmark from last week. Coup was ‘level two’ in board game playing, we were moving up from a 5+ game to a 10+ game (but as we learnt from last week just because a ten (or five) year old could play the game it didn’t mean we could)
Coup was an early ‘micro-genre’ game originally published by La Mame Games in 2012, but it was the Indie Boards and Cards version designed by Rikki Tahta that we played.
Originally the game’s mechanic’s seemed flawed, and while at one point we deemed it was plausible to assume that it were the players with the issues and not the game, our team was still certain that the game just did not make sense. So after 20-30 minutes of incredibly confusing Coup game play we decided to use the same tactic as last week and YouTube the instructions.
Jack turned out to be something like the opposite of a blessing in disguise… He had the key principle of the game completely wrong. Luckily, after a couple of minutes of YouTube watching we were playing the game properly. The new (and correct) mechanics coincided with the theme, setting and story of the game world.
Better yet, turns out the thing that makes coup incredibly fun to play is in the interaction between players. After the 30 minutes we spent sledging each other about how to actually play the game, all of us were in a good spot to go ham withthe trash talk, the lies, death stares… making for a pretty hilarious time.