The mission of the story gives purpose to the game and the threat tells what will happen if the mission is not completed.
4. What is the mission of the story?
The mission of the story gives the game purpose and direction. What are players looking for / revealing / collecting / hindering / rescuing? A simple story and a clear goal keep players interested. The puzzles and tasks in the game provide information and means to complete the mission.
- The goal is too easy to reach and the aftermath is: So what?
Example: Players have opened a certain number of boxes and the last one has a stolen gem.
- The goal is vague and players do not know if it has been achieved.
Example: An abducted millionaire is rescued and the players only get a thank you card in the last box.
- The goal is too abstract to give a sense of accomplishment.
Example: The world has been saved, but there has been no sense of threat during the game.
5. What threatens players if the mission fails?
What happens if the mission is not completed on time? In a good game, there is some threat that gives players the necessary adrenaline kick and contributes to give an intense flow experience.
The threat is good to build on the story itself. For example, if you do not find an antidote within an hour, the prince will die / the plague will spread / you will die yourselves…
But what happens if players really fail? The game builder has three options:
- to give so many hints or extra time that everyone manages to solve the mystery.
- to go into the game yourself at the end and help the team to reach their goal.
- to invent the consequences of a mission that went wrong. For example, if no antidote is found and everyone should die, the game controller turns off the lights and tells everyone to lie on the floor completely motionless and silent until they are brought a revitalizing drink. Maybe everyone will wake up as zombies?
The threat posed by racing is another way to give the game a boost. Both teams want to win and the energy of the game stays high! Note that if two teams are playing against each other, you will need to double the game materials and make two routes. Alternatively, the teams play consecutively and compare their results (time used, hints asked) afterwards.