You've been invited to a last-minute Dinner Party! Everyone must bring a dish, but you are left to work with what you can find. What will you make? And will it satisfy the party's head chef?
Created for the Design Buddies
8-day Game Jam, now an ongoing personal project.
Won 3rd place!
Ingredient Cards
Ingredient Cards
Event Cards
Event Cards
Tokens and Dice
Tokens and Dice
Game Setup
Game Setup
Game Jam Theme: Community
Where do I start? What creates a community? Who is a community? I thought of some fantastical scenarios and some real life communities. Then I asked my family and friends what they thought created community or what came to mind when they thought of community.

Initial ideation

Given that the holidays were around, I thought more about food and how that naturally brings people together. Cooking and eating together is a great way to bond with others! While I was kind of excited about some other ideas, like stranded group and librarian wizards, I felt that food hit much closer to home and I got passionate about it fairly quickly.

Initial experience building

My first question was what do I want the players to feel? This wasn't going to be a "heart-warming", chill game. I was looking for excitement. Rush. Overcooked came to mind (I love that game). Speed (Anomia). Running around the house (Clue). And obviously, competition (Chopped or Master Chef TV shows). This was going to be silly and hectic and full of laughter! Now I just needed to build an experience that created that atmosphere.

Pinterest Inspiration for playing cards

Why I got rid of the board

Version 1 - board game

Because I wanted to give a sense of "running around the house", I tried incorporating a board for players to move around. However, it seemed to be costing me a lack of rush and speed. Board paths are not really meant to be run through, but slowly explored (think Clue, Monopoly). It would involve thinking, adding, moving pawns and it was too much. So the board was scrapped by the end of day 2. I was prioritizing speed and silliness. 
Randomness vs Player Control
Right off the bat I knew players would be working with rather random ingredients. And random events would be happening all being controlled by a chance-driven roll of the die. At this point, players aren't really in control of what their dish is. So how do we counter randomness?

All the different kinds of events

First, I added some events where players can perform an action against any player. This is great for targeting and vengeance haha!
Then I thought, hm. People can't just carry infinite ingredients in their hands. They need to have a limit and then choose what to keep and what to discard. From here, the following rule was made:
You may only hold up to 6 ingredients at a time. If you draw another, you must discard an ingredient as well.
Moving Forward

Last Minute Dinner Party Prototype 1 on Tabletop Simulator

I felt that this was good practice for going through the motions of the game design process in a short period of time. Winning 3rd place once again inspired me to further fine-tune the game and start working on putting it into production. With the support of my friends and family, I hired a fellow illustrator who will make new and unique art for the game, and hopefully, I'll publish it!
Checking In - Summer 2021
Can I say I'm excited? AHH okay LMDP has gone through multiple playtests, I want to say at least 5? with different groups of players of different ages and backgrounds. Prototype 3.0 was recently produced and below you can see some key changes and progress!

Prototype 2

Prototype 3

One of the first comments I got about prototype 2 was the chosen font was hard to read. This came mostly from adults but even younger audiences agreed. Tying this back to my wish for speed- it needed to be addressed. Below you can see how the cards were updated to use Menco instead of Hello Sugar.

Prototype 2 vs 3 Ingredient card

Prototype 2 vs 3 Event card

The dreaded "condition" card...
I've been trying to wrap my brain around this for a while which ties to randomness vs player control. The condition card is meant to spark inspiration among players who didn't know what to do with their ingredients. However, the term "condition" was confusing and its use was very ambiguous.

Condition card as of P3

"Does this include the ingredients in the picture?"
"Does this count as an ingredient?"
"Is it mandatory to use?"
"What if I have 2 condition cards?"
- Playtesters
Condition to Dish Kit*
For Prototype 4, the condition card will be renamed to Dish Kit, Base Kit, or Starter Kit. This will help players understand its purpose and how to use it.
The card will also feature a short text along the lines of:
This kit may include:
- 1 Tortilla
- Lettuce & Tomato
- 1 Protein of choice
Adding a kitchen timer!
While everyone has a smartphone with a timer nowadays, having physical props always enhances tabletop games! Since the game's magical space is the kitchen, a real kitchen timer is a clever and thematic addition to the game. Prior to its addition, it was commented on a couple of times to have something like an egg timer included. After it was added, players seemed to feel more immersed and reacted positively.

Check out some other projects!

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