Playtesting By-election over the last three weeks has revealed that an incredibly strong aspect of the game is its theme. Games aren’t complete without a theme. While some games rely on their theme more than others for game mechanics, all rely on theme to sell the game. Without a theme you ain’t got a product!

By-election uses its theme to encourage roleplaying. The event cards are humorous and topical, which gets positive feedback at first, but probably less so over time. By creating a space for players to act out their role as a politician, (making deals with players, attacking others’ campaigns) the game introduces unique experiences on every play. Hopefully this keeps the humor fresh for longer.

Will and Andrew playtesting By-election

Indeed, it is a silly game. This notion is anchored from the beginning, by asking players to physically attach rosettes to their clothing. A small, but significant touch, as the context of the game completely changes. The rosettes free people to play their role. It’s the rosette talking, not me!

The rosettes, worn by players during the game. Colours are: red, blue, yellow and purple.

Future prototypes of By-election may take this concept further. For example, players may have special abilities, or gain bonuses for making impassioned speeches. At some point there will be a line, from which roleplaying becomes the main mechanic of the game. Crossing this line will alter the dynamic of the game, so should be tread with caution.