Appropriation Game – Telling Lies?

by | Oct 29, 2018 | Artwork #2: Appropriate, Projects

For my appropriation game, I designed a game I dubbed “Telling Lies?” it’s a card game played with a standard deck of cards revolving around deceiving your opponents and collecting pairs of cards. Sound familiar? If so, you may draw parallels to this and games like Go Fish, BS, and Coup.

In the game, each player asks for cards from another player’s hand. That player may give them the card, or deny that they have it. A player may call someone’s bluff though, and ask them to reveal their hand to prove it. If they’re caught lying, there’s a punishment. But, if they were telling the truth, the accuser gets punished. The goal of the game is to collect as many pairs of cards as possible before the deck runs out. Feel free to read the full rules here: Telling Lies

I took a lot of inspiration for the game from the chess appropriations we learned about in class, namely White Chess and Saito’s chess series. The concept of taking a game that is so cemented in place as a classic game and making it something new seemed enticing to me, so I decided to choose something classic that most players could instantly think of while playing the game, Go-Fish. Of course, this is a little different, since chess appropriations make an entirely different game with a board and chess pieces which is different, while different card games pop up all the time. That being said, does that make all card games appropriations of each other?

Playtesting went very well, as the game had a massive amount of strategy that I wasn’t ready for when I started playing. I got destroyed, and realized that several aspects of the game were important, most of all being mind-games. You could fake a card in hand by asking for that card from someone, leading the rest to believe you have a copy of that card to pair with it. Reading body language, eye contact, and more was important. All these levels of play that were outside of the physical game themselves made the game highly competitive and fun. The players enjoyed playing, as did I. A few changes were made over time, such as covering some edge cases where players would accuse with no cards in hand to pay for the possible penalty, and the penalties were messed with a bit for balancing so there wasn’t accusations every turn or none at all. However, not much was changed, and the fundamentals of the game were the same throughout the game’s existence.