Unit 1 EQ – What are the complexities and paradoxes of “family” in literature and life?

The idea of family is a unique one, because by definition it is “a group consisting of two parents and their children living together as a unit.” By itself, this merely describes the objective relationship between the family members, but for different kinds of people and different kinds of stories, that term could either have very positive, very negative, or possibly lukewarm connotations. 

For some, a family can be joyous, lovely, beneficial. It can be a support system made to help you when you’ve fallen, or a boost to spring you up when you need it the most. They can be the only thing stable in a life filled with everything going wrong, 

For others, the word family doesn’t mean anything. It’s abhorrent. It could be dead to you, because there is nothing there except hatred, dissension, and fear that stems the unbearableness of it all. It is a painful anchor for them, holding them back from ever truly expressing themselves because they are either too afraid or too angry to do so.

I suppose, then, that is where the paradox lies: how we can see in so many different stories, so many different cultures and histories, both on the page and in real life. . .the idea that family can be interpreted in more ways than one. It’s meant to be positive, because you are born with it, but more times than one might think it’s a polar opposite, with the potential to make that person better, or condemn them to that same awful cycle. 

Final Game Design Challenge

Game Name: Untitled Masterpiece

Planning: When I originally decided to make the game, I wanted to make it a RPG, with a story and fully fleshed out characters and mechanics, but in the end because the software that I wanted to use was both expensive and complicated, I decided to stick with making a side-scrolling platform. I was originally thinking of using software such as RPGMaker or Unity, but eventuallyb decided on Flowlab because I felt it was much more simpler than the other game-making software.


The behavior of the players. Dictates movement, death, level restart, etc.

Ground enemy behavior.

Flying enemy behavior. Complicated af

Despite being a much more simpler software, it was still difficult as you needed to know how to use input and output to create the desired effect. These behaviors pretty much made up the entirety of the game.


These are photos of some of the levels that I produced for the game.

I used the free sprites that they had in Flowlab as it would be too time-consuming to make ones from scratch.

Dynamics: Like the classic Mario franchise, this game is very similar in controls, in that you jump on top of the enemies to kill them, there being spikes, with the difference here being that the player only has 1 life.

Game Design Game Footage


Feedback: Simon said initially that the game was too short, and that it wasn’t difficult enough to make the player struggle. I responded by making a third level and adding an increased amount of obstacles to make it much more difficult. Aiden also pointed out bugs that used to be there such as the enemy not dying when the player jumped on its head or dying for no reason, which I eventually fixed.

Board Game Design Challenge

Google document with initial conception and rules for the game.

Initial Idea: To have a spaceship board game with multiple ends and ways to win, giving both the astronaut and the aliens abilities to balance and make the game fun. Originally, I intended to have more than 5 Aliens and also a special “Boss” Alien which the astronaut would have difficulty defeating. I also wanted a less linear Spaceship design to make the map more open-ended.

Aesthetics, Dynamics and Mechanics: 

  • Aesthetics – Due to the game being sci-fi themed, I used a lot of different assets that would make the game feel like a dark sci-fi experience, as such when I made the design of the cards and the spaceship. My brother created the designs for the aliens and the astronaut, and really conveyed that idea of being a scary yet fun sci-fi experience.
  • Dynamics – With there being five aliens and only one astronaut, I knew that I had to balance the game that wouldn’t make the astronaut to weak, which is why I gave different add-ons such as weapons, and the ability to create doors. It’d be like a racing game between the two players.
  • Mechanics – Utilizing the board, I had basic ideas down such as movement, but I also added different mechanics such as the ability to weld doors and block the aliens from reaching the astronaut, combat mechanics, ranged weapons for the astronaut to use and the heightened engagement with the game.

Step-by-Step Plan: 

Day Work Done
1 Concept of the game finalized on the document, beginning to work on the rules.
2 Work on the design of the cards and the board begun, continue to finalize the rules and general mechanics of the game.
3 Mechanics of the game are nearly complete, the card design template is complete, the board is nearly half-way done. Will print next class.
4 Used thick A3 cardboard for the board, then printed out the draft of the spaceship map and placed it across to see how it would fit.
5 Ask my brother to help design the aliens and astronaut, edit and fix up the rules if there are noticeable issues.
6 Beginning to create the final design for the spaceship map. Finished up the astronaut card design which will then be printed out and laminated.
7 N/A
8 N/A
9 N/A
10 Smooth out the board and make it look professional, print out the design for the spaceship map.
11 Create the board game pieces using cardboard  Change of plans, will instead use clay to create the pieces because of the limited time.
12 Finally got back the design for the Aliens, finished up the card design for the Alien card as well as giving the final touches for the mechanics.
13 Create the rulebook/game manual.
14 Done.

Summary: The game is a two-player sci-fi horror game where one player takes control of the astronaut trying to escape the ship after the crew has been massacred by an alien attack, who are controlled by the second player. The astronaut must complete three objectives before he can escape, and the aliens have to find the astronaut to win. There are various weapons the astronaut can use to fight back against the aliens, being a turn-based game with many ways to play on the spaceship.

Planning and Project Management

Tasks – Plan your game:

  1. Rules: One player chooses the starting location of both player’s character stands. Decide using a coin toss or rock paper scissors who will choose the starting locations. All Alien Character Stands must start in the same room.
    • Alien Objective: Find and kill the astronaut.
    • Astronaut Objective: Escape the ship.
      • Move to the control room and to gain access to the Escape Pod. However, doing this opens any doors that may have been welded by the Astronaut up until this point.
      • Pick up the space-suit from the locker.
      • Reach the Escape Pod. Activate it then wait one turn.
      • You will have won!
      • Optional: Kill all of the aliens on the ship.
  2. List equipment and materials
    • 1x D6 Die (by 4/11)
    • 1x Cardboard Red Astronaut Board Game Piece (by 03/29)
    • 5x Cardboard Green Alien Board Game Piece (by 03/29)
    • 1x Cardboard Spaceship Map (by 3/23)
    • 1x Game Manual (by 4/11)
  3. Project management of dates and tasks: 
  4. My Blog.

Exploding Kittens Evaluation

Game: Exploding Kittens

Rules (from howdoyouplayit.com):

Setup: Remove all four “Exploding Kittens” and all six “Defuse” cards from the deck.

Shuffle the remaining cards and deal four to each player.

Deal one “Defuse” card to each player. Each player will now have five cards.

Reinsert the “Exploding Kittens” with enough for every player, minus one. For six players, shuffle in five “Exploding Kittens.” For five players, shuffle in four. Etc.

Reinsert the “Defuse” card/s and shuffle the deck.

Exploding Kittens Game Play: Place the deck in the center of the table. Players take turns drawing a card from the deck. When players draw an exploding kitten, they die and are eliminated from the game. However, if the player has a “Defuse” card, the bomb-cat can be neutralized by discarding the “Defuse” card and placing the “Exploding Kitten” card back into the draw pile in the location of their choice (the deck does not need to be shuffled, and the player will know the location of the “Exploding Kitten” they placed in the deck). You may not look through the deck when reinserting the kitten.

Your Turn: Turns are divided into two parts: first, play “Action” cards. There is no limit (or minimum) to the number of action cards you can play on a given turn. “Action” cards perform certain actions in the game with the card detailing the specific action to occur on use. Second, draw a card and pray things don’t get messy–that is that a kitten does not explode. Once you draw a card, your turn is over.

Nope Cards: “Nope” cards can be played at any time, even on another player’s turn. These are counter cards that stop the action of another player. “Nope” cards can be played in response to other “Nope” cards, thus permitting the original action. “Nope” cards can be used to stop any action except “Defuse” cards and “Exploding Kittens,” but they cancel any other action. “Nope” cards can be used to block thefts (see below).

Bizarre Cat Cards: Some cards in the deck are bizarre cats, like “Taco Cat” or “Hairy Potato Cat.” You may use these cards when you gather a pair or three of a kind.

When you have a pair, you may play the bizarre cats as an action card, laying them down in the discard pile and then choosing a single card at random from an opponent’s hand.

When you have three of a kind, you get to name a card (think Go Fish) and the player of your choice must give you a copy of that card if it is in their hand. For instance, you might name, “Nope,” or “Defuse” in which case if the player you selected has the stated card in their hand, they yield it to you. If they do not have the card, tough luck. You’re a bad thief.

You can also forfeit the abilities of other cards and play them as a pair or set (three of a kind) to steal a card from another player. That is, if you have two or three copies of an action card, you can play it as a pair or set.

“Nope” cards can block thefts.

Winning Exploding Kittens: The last surviving player is the winner of the game. Players are eliminated when they draw an “Exploding Kitten” without a “Defuse” card in hand.

Dynamics: With this game, there are a lot of emotional reactions that can come from playing, as it is a game where one must be the most clever and conniving. With the “Nope” card, a player can nope another player’s action even if it isn’t their turn or even if it’s directly affecting their gameplay. There is also a heightened sense of fear and alertness due to the fact that you never know when there could be an exploding kitten card waiting in the deck. Every player wants to one-up each other and it results in a very engaging and fun game to enjoy.

Aesthetics: The game’s aesthetics really fit with the fun gameplay. The cartoon style of the cats and the impactful and bold fonts make the game really eye-catching and fitting for the gameplay.

What makes this game unique: It is a multi-player game with the elements of chance and randomness that makes it fun for everyone to play. The card designs are fun and intricate, while also being really important for gameplay, and the randomness that exploding kittens bring to the table really help make this game stand out from other similar card games.

Describe how this game could be challenging to players: It would be challenging because if you are not thinking about how you want to use the cards in your hand, then you could very easily slip up and have your entire game ruined by others who know how to strategize and use the cards at the right moments at the right time. The exploding kittens also add large amounts of danger, especially when you have no more defuse cards and have to rely on chance.

Any other information – you would like to add about this game?

There are other expansion packs that the game developers created to add even more elements of fun.

What would you rate it out of 10: 9/10.


The Walking Dead Board Game

Game: The Walking Dead

Aesthetics: The aesthetics are really cool because it really represents the Walking Dead comic, especially since as they said there was new artwork made for the board game. The tokens, character and location cards all immerse you into the universe.

Mechanics: This may be one of the more difficult parts of the game, as in this game there are multiple different rules, each specific in order that it is initially confusing in the beginning when you’re trying to figure out how to play. Rules such as placing zombie token on the space you left, drawing an encounter card every time you land on a resource space, and multiple other rules that if played right, can make the game really enjoyable.

Dynamics: There are many different dynamics, especially with multiple players as it is a goal-oriented game where you are racing against other players to obtain 3 locations to make a safe haven. Encounter cards where you either pass/fail are fun, and more than that there are the zombie tokens that are placed which add to the dynamics and make everything and every step you take intense and engaging.

With more players, the game becomes even more fun especially when there is the maximum of 6, as all of you are trying to win, and the zombies fill the board much quicker with six players.

This game motivates you because you are racing against other players to reach the goal, which makes it intense and exciting as well.

Since this is a relatively modern game, there is the added leverage of it being a licensed game from The Walking Dead franchise, and since that is a TV show that still continues to this day, it’s easy to be able to re-release this game with new features, characters, and playstyles with the ever-changing brand.

Favorite Game Played in Game Design So Far

Game: Liar’s Dice

I enjoyed this game because it added an element of suspense and surprise, as well as the addicting feeling of gambling to win since that is what the game was. Players put down five dice, and they keep on raising the stakes until one calls out the other as a liar. If they are right, then the player loses a dice, if not then the player who called out the other as a liar loses the dice.



Snakes & Ladders Reflection

This game acts like the regular Snakes and Ladders game, however with the added aspect of Snake Traps, Venom, and Saddles.

Snake Trap – When you step on a snake trap, two snakes that send you one row down appear in front of the player.

Venom – When the player steps on this tile, they lose two turns.

Saddle – When the player steps on a Saddle, they are given two dice for two turns which allows them to move further up the tile.

There are 200 tiles compared to the usual 100 tiles.