Empower women to start negotiation

Project details
Name:

The Coven

App:

Card game

Class:

Persuasive design

My Role:

Designer

My Tasks:

Playtesting
Prototyping
SME Interview
Literature Review

My Team:

Emily Yang
Lauren Whittingham
Lorraine Zhang
Neha Chopade
Stephanie

Time:

10 weeks

A card game that uses embedded design techniques to encourage players to trade by negotiating with others. The trading serves as an inoculating mechanism, allowing players to get accustomed to and comfortable with hearing "no" and view it as a normal response rather than something that can damage their relationships with negotiation partners.

Context

Women often don't get what they want and deserve because they don't ask for it
Even with the rise of gender equality movements, men and women are still treated unequally in the workplace. Women continue to earn less, on average, for the same performance, and they remain underrepresented in top jobs. Research has shown that in addition to gender biases, there’s a subtler source of inequality

‍Women tend to see negotiation as an aggressive act instead of starting a conversation.

How can we empower to women take the first step at negotiation?

Solution Key Parts

Empower those who aren't as outspoken

How Not Interested/Interested Card works
Once the active player initiate a trade, other players can show their interest or lack of by using this card.
Why this piece
This is the hero component of our game. Inspired by Fogo De Chao's way of letting their patrons in in comfort, this card empowers players to show their interest in the proposed trade without having to talk over someone. It's one way of leveling the ground in the beginning.

Provide a goal for players by giving them a narrative

How Potion Card works
Each participant gets a potion card, which sets their goals throughout the duration of the game. The potion card is randomly assigned and tells each participant exactly what they need to make and ingredients they need to collect to win. Players need to keep this card anonymous.
Why this piece
This card sets the narrative and helps players get into the story.

Motivate trading by having limited ingredients available

How Ingredient Card works
Ingredient cards are the the cards that the player has to collect to win the game.  What they collect is based off of the potion card. Once a player collects an ingredient, they show it open-hand to other players.
Why this piece
This is also part of the narrative, players need to collect ingredients to make their potion. We also made this collection open to encourage more direct trading since players can see what each other have.

Intermixing negotiation action and random actions

How the Action Card works
An action card is drawn when the player rolls a 4, 5 or 6.

Why this piece
This serve to motivate the player who draws these cards to trade with either positive or negative reinforcement. This forces players who might be more shy or hesitant to trade in order to gain experience in negotiating. Action cards must be played on  the player’s turn. We designed the actions to include specific trading requirements but also random actions such as Gain 3 diamonds.

Value Proposition

Learning from others increased comfort in about 30 minutes of gameplay
“I got to know people around me and felt more comfortable negotiating.”
- player
“It was interesting to see how other’s negotiated.”
- player
Lowers barrier to entry through fun components
“It was super fun and really engaging, I didn’t see the persuasive element, which is good, and I loved it.”
- player

Process

Narrowing our scope to the persuasive goal of getting players to view negotiation not as a daunting, relationship-threatening task, but as a conversation and a collaborative effort.
To better understand negotiation in the workplace, we consulted Linda Babcock, Head of the Social and Decision Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University, who professionally consults for organizations that are helping their female employees learn negotiation tactics through various workshops.

We also conducted literature reviews including Women and Salary Negotiation by Mary E. Wade and the book Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever.
"It is easier to cross the 'threshold for asking' when women can see negotiation as a conversation. "
- Linda Babcock, Head of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon

What ways can we decrease the risk of negotiating too hard at the beginning which may backfire later in the game?

Incorporating embedded design techniques such as intermixing, distancing, and priming

Intermixing

Action Cards intermixes content associated and not associated with negotiation.

Distancing

Distancing is created through a theme not related to work and giving the players a narrative to focus o

Priming

In our narrative, we primed the players to think creatively when it comes to making trades.

narrowing down the game and its mechanics through paper prototypes and playtesting
We began rapid prototyping and came up with two simple games with separate mechanics
  1. An office supply trading game
  2. A space trading game
Game mechanic initial formation:
  1. Concealed trading resources
  2. Diamonds lower-cost trading tool than resources
  3. Dice for randomness
Solidifying game mechanics through hi-fidelity paper playtesting

Insight 1

players who were more reserved and shy can feel uncomfortable speaking up especially when multiple people were interested in a proposed trade.

Insight 2

It was too easy for players to deduce another's potion card as players could inherently count cards and identify the missing ingredient for the winning player.

Updating components of the game by adding a critical interested/not interested card
This card feature that allows players to show their interest in the proposed trade without having to talk over someone else.

Final Design

This game encourages players to advocate for their own interests and come to mutually beneficial agreements by recognizing when others' interests are compatible with their own. It also encourages players to be creative in recognizing what it is they have to offer, even if it is not in their hands at the time. The trading serves as an inoculating mechanism, allowing players to get accustomed to and comfortable with hearing "no" and view it as a normal response rather than something that can damage their relationships with negotiation partners.
Potion Cards
Each participant gets a potion card, which sets their goals throughout the duration of the game. The potion card is randomly assigned and tells each participant exactly what they need to make and ingredients they need to collect to win
Ingredient Cards
Ingredient cards are the the cards that the player has to collect to win the game.  There are five different ingredient cards: wolfsbane, dragon scale, unicorn tears, phoenix feather, and dragonfly wings.
Action Cards
Action serve to motivate the player who draws these cards to trade with either positive or negative reinforcement. This forces players who might be more shy or hesitant to trade in order to gain experience in negotiating. Action cards must be played on  the player’s turn.
Fire Cards
Fire is a situation that occurs when a player is one ingredient away from completing their potion. Once a player declares “fire,” everyone draws one card from the fire deck. Fire cards can possibly lead to a quick victory or the current leader of the game being overthrown. These cards are more simple than the action cards. The fire cards were created after playtesting showed that the endgame can become too drawn out and deadlocked once players had one card left.
Interested/Not interested
These cards give shy players an opportunity to speak up and express interest when a trade is being proposed. Players that initiate the trade can quickly identify the players who are interested and allow other players to show their interest in the proposed trade without having to talk over someone.
Diamonds
Diamonds serve as a type of in-game currency. They can be used in trades to sweeten a deal. Their value is derived from the fact that ten diamonds can be traded in for a random ingredient.  

How to play

Narrative
You are part of a coven and today is your annual meeting. This gathering is especially important because the previous grandmaster passed away and it is time to choose a new leader.  According to tradition the new grandmaster is decided by a potion making competition.  Potion-making is one of the most valued and complicated arts in the world of witchcraft.  You become the new grandmaster by making your assigned potion the fastest.

The goal of this game is to be clever, creative and a little shrewd with the given rules and be the first to make your potion.
Setting up
  • Each player begins with 1 potion card, 5 diamonds, 1 interest card and 4 random ingredient cards.  
  • The potion card must be secret from the others at all times.
  • Spread your ingredient cards in front of you for everyone to see.  
  • Keep the ingredients cards and action cards in separate shuffled piles for everyone to reach easily.
  • Roll the dice to determine who starts the game.
  • Begin clockwise from the person who rolled the highest number on the dice.
On your turn
Begin your turn by rolling the die and drawing that many diamonds. If you roll is 1, 2, or 3, you draw an ingredient card from the top of the deck. If you roll a 4, 5, or 6 you get an action card.
During your turn, you can initiate as many trades as you want with anyone. You determine the terms of your trade. Feel free to push the limits. Trading is crucial for creating your potion fastest.

You could exchange 10 diamonds for an additional ingredient from the top of the deck.  If you draw an action card you have to play it on that turn.  

To initiate a trade, declare your trade terms and request for offers. Players can express their willingness to trade using their interest card.

Go clockwise from yourself and see what each interested player has to offer.

Remember you can trade however and whatever you want with whoever you want.

Retrospective

If I had more time, I would
  • Conduct longitudinal study with the same player(s) through a period of time to quantitatively measure the efficacy of the game by tracking a) how often they trade over the course of the games, b) the types of trades users make, c) how often users advocate for themselves during trading and d) the number of trades to see if users are more willing to trade as they continuously play the game.
  • Measure user comfort with negotiation before and after the game.
  • Playtest further to improve the endgame, the current conclusion can still be messy, especially when there is a tie.
  • Design a digital version of the game for remote playing.
If I could go back in time, I would
  • Do more in-depth research on game design.
  • Conduct more user research in the beginning of the design process. We did mostly literature review to understand our problem space, but I feel like it could've helped focus our scope more if we supplemented the literature review with guerilla research.