Turns out Medical Hospital has a lot of moving parts. There’s a die mechanic that relies on three dice that are always visible on the table. There are 18 objects that can be bought and stolen during the game with the currency you gain (or lose) through surgery, and the surgery itself is very equipment and paper intensive. The currency also needs to be tracked. The easiest way to handle all this is to atomize each of the 18 elements onto a little card, which can literally change hands. People understand this. But it poses two problems. First, production – packaging 18 cards is just a pain on a number of levels. And second, it clutters the playing area to an insane degree, and playtesting shows this is not OK. The surgery itself is hugely cluttered and full of mess (which is very appropriate and fun).

So I’m thinking about trying to consolidate all the stuff onto pages that you can write on, record sheets that tell you:

1. Who the player-surgeons are
2. How much currency they currently have
3. The status of the dice, as well as instruction about what that means
4. The status of each object and who controls it

That’s a lot.

Here’s a Here’s a revised example…I am actively killing my darlings. Complications are gone, relegated to an optional component. Here’s some post-playtest detritus.

I am not sure if this remains too dense, too complex, too hard to use. Let me know what you think, approaching it strictly from the point of view of the usability of the materials. Thanks!

Information Design and Medical Hospital
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5 thoughts on “Information Design and Medical Hospital

  • August 8, 2010 at 5:52 am

    With the 18 elements, perhaps you could have a sheet with the elements as rows, the characters as columns, and just use 18 coins (or other tokens people have lying around the house) to mark who currently owns what?

  • August 8, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Also, there’s a typo in the post title. I’m sure you meant “Mecidal Hopsital”.

  • August 8, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for the idea – check out my revision. I want it to be workable with only pencil and paper, so you can pass it around the table and easily examine it. I’m not sure I’m there yet but it is gradually improving. I am also killing Complications, a particular darling, and making them an optional complexity. This will help a lot! it reduces the information density by 25%.

  • August 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Not knowing any of the rules for the game, the revised version seems much clearer and better conveys the rules to me. (I think; maybe I’m wildly misunderstanding the game based on the sheet.)

    It seems to me like the sheet should be up on a whiteboard or somethingl, big enough that everyone can read it. Like a scoreboard for sports or like the duty roster for doctors at a hospital.

  • August 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Yeah Nick, a whiteboard or large version would be great and helpful in play. I’m really trying to keep it playable and usable at letter size, though! My goal now is that everything outside surgery takes place on two sheets – the one linked here (a sort of collective character sheet) and a play mat which dice rest on, that also contains all the rules necessary for play. And the mat can be discarded if everybody knows what’s up.

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