Inhuman Conditions: A Game of Cops and Robots

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Inhuman Conditions: A Game of Cops and Robots

Inhuman Conditions: A Game of Cops and Robots

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Description There are only eleven modules – it’s not inconceivable that there are eleven colours that can be clearly distinguished. And yet we have light blue, cyan, and dark blue along with ‘dark green’ and ‘light green’ and various other annoying combinations. It’s only ever an issue in certain circumstances (such as tidying up the game after a session where certain combinations are used) but it merits discussion. When playing a patient robot, the instruction you are given is clearly shown in the centre of the card, and the font is of a reasonable size. This is an area where the need to pantomime inducer circuits might be useful because it’s where the maze would be on a human card.

Each game has one Investigator and one Suspect. Armed only with two stamps and a topic of conversation, the Investigator must figure out whether the Suspect is a Human or a Robot. In the game, one player is assigned the role of either robot or human. The other is an investigator attempting to figure out whether his or her opponent is a robot through conversation. The result is a surprisingly goofy romp in which humans pretend to be robots pretending to be humans. Inhuman Conditions is a new board game loosely based on the idea of the Turing test—a way to evaluate a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior, devised by codebreaker and mathematician Alan Turing in 1950.

What is Inhuman Conditions?

Inhuman Conditions is not so much inaccessible here as it is infuriating. There aren’t any problems as such – colour is never used as the sole channel of information – but the colour palette really bothered me. It’s used primarily to separate out the different conversational modules and there is so little variation between some of them that I couldn’t make out the differences on occasion. Literacy may be a slight issue, but the mechanisms of the game ensure that at least some of that is resolved right at the start of the interview. Only the robot instructions may be an difficulty when dealing with players that don’t speak the language of the game.

Inhuman Conditions is licensed under Creative Commons BY—NC—SA 4.0. That means that if you make your own version of our game, you have to give us credit for the original, you're not allowed to profit from it commercially in any way, and you have to license it under the exact same CC license. You also can't submit anything to an app store or anything like that.From the co-creators of Secret Hitler& Better Myths: a Blade Runner-inspired, five-minute party game for two players. Surprisingly for a game like this, I’m going to recommend it in this category with the provisos above. Intersectional Accessibility Conversational games like this are often a problem when it comes to cognitive faculties. They tend to be deceptively simple in their mechanisms because the real cognitive workload is what you say rather than what you can say and when. Inhuman Conditions does some interesting things with this. Much as with games such as Funemployed or Once Upon a Time, Inhuman Conditions put a lot of attention on each of the players. A common criticism I have had is it means if you don’t have anything to say it can be very uncomfortable. For the investigator in Inhuman Conditions that’s very true – they direct the speed and tone and direction of the conversation. The provision of communication prompts though helps reduce the cognitive overload of thinking of something to say or ask.

Right from the start, in half or so if your game sessions, the fun comes entirely from how much you enjoy talking to someone. For someone like me, who hates talking to anyone, it’s already a failure of a game. Robots must answer the Investigator’s questions without arousing suspicion, but are hampered by some specific malfunction in their ability to converse. They must be clever, guiding the conversation in subtle ways without getting caught.Let’s go for the first, most obvious reason. When the suspect takes on a role, it’s one of three possibilities – human, patient robot, and violent robot. Most of the cards are human, and the challenge there is to not appear like a robot. Half the time, when playing, you’re a human pretending to be a human so that another human will stamp that you’re human on their form. Anyway, you’re not here for inked stamp based erotica. Probably. What you’re here for is our other kind of erotica – stripping a game naked and pointing out its many flaws. So let’s get started. Colour Blindness We’ll strongly recommend Inhuman Conditions in this category, but it’s grudging. Visual Accessibility

Robots must answer the Investigator's questions without arousing suspicion, but are hampered by some specific malfunction in their ability to converse. They must be clever, guiding the conversation in subtle ways without getting caught. The final possibility is that you get dealt out a violent robot role, and that’s where it gets somewhat more interesting because that is a scenario in which you become proactive. You win in that circumstance by performing two of your three deprogramming activities and those are transgressive in a way that will garner attention if you don’t do it properly. ‘3 times, interrupt the investigator to add detail to a description’, or ‘continue to describe something, until interrupted’. When you pull off two of those, you then get to bring your own flavour of jump scare into the interview, indicating you killed everyone in the room. The only times I had fun when playing Inhuman Conditions was when I was a violent robot. First of all, the game is heavily card based, and those cards are almost entirely visual. Roles and penalties are dealt out at the start of an interview, and while they aren’t complicated or dense there’s a problem with a suspect inquiring what they are. Not so much the role, which is there mostly for flavour, but the penalty. If a suspect asks ‘Uh, what was the penalty again’ during an interview what they have actually said is ‘Hello, I am a robot’. Human players never need to know the penalty except during the initial calibration exercises. The only small intersectional issue I might point out is that a fluid intelligence impairment that intersects with an emotional inaccessibility may exacerbate issues that I outlined in those sections. Particularly being labelled as a robot when you’re a human. Other than that, I don’t see an intersectional issue that would change the individual or compound grades.But still, if the other half of the game was amazing it could rescue the design. The problem is… it’s not. Finally... this is an opportunity for us to do some large-scale blind playtesting of the cards themselves. We know the framework of the game is solid, but we don't have as much data on the individual cards as we'd like. When you finish a round and someone else cycles in to play, it would be great if you could pull out your phone and give us some details about how your playtest went! Anyway, my point from this is that the way the game is designed nullifies a lot of the criticism I’d normally have in this section of a teardown. It gives conversational prompts that lower the barrier to play, and you never need to directly deceive anyone – the deception comes as a natural result of obeying a directive. Even the jobs, which might require a bit of role-playing, are optional. There’s a mode in the game called ‘Sealed file’ where you don’t even have one. It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of Board Game Atlas, effective 8/23/23. Since our inception, we have been proud to serve the board game community by providing comprehensive information on board games, pricing details, and connecting enthusiasts with fantastic gaming experiences. We’ll tentatively recommend Inhuman Conditions in our fluid intelligence category, but we can’t recommend it for those with memory impairments. Physical Accessibility

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