Aspects of Play: Kerplunk

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Kerplunk’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Kerplunk, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon

In terms of Mimicry, the player doesn’t take control of a character but instead is tasked with removing sticks from within the game piece, with the task of collecting more sticks then marbles, the one with the most marbles at the end loses. Agon comes in the form of trying to beat your opponent by having less marbles and more sticks then them. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game because nothing is inherently disorientating the player. Alea doesn’t appear within this game either because of the fact that it’s simply player vs player with no random aspect of occurring, except for the marginal instances when the marbles may fall of their own accord of which could be perceived as random chance.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the setup of play as it was more dictated on sheer luck that you didn’t remove a stick that was vital to the structure and less about player vs player.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes. When it came to removing said sticks, the focus required to do so and not drop as many marbles was very high. I found myself entering a state of flow because of how nerve wrecking and highly intense it was to remove a stick and monitor the balance of the marbles.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would replace the sticks with something more solid and tangeable because of the sheer fact that whoever goes first will have the clear advantage later on in the game as they won’t necessarily be the ones to drop all of the marbles.


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