This is the third post in a series about my work designing a gamified loyalty at the Hungry Hippo Board Game Cafe. This post explores design decisions around player ranks, our game scoring model and how players earn points to progress through the mechanics.
Even if you’re not a gamification designer, you are probably familiar with the concept of ranks. Within a gamified solution ranks are an accomplishment based mechanism which act as an achievement status symbol for players to represent their progress within the game. Ranks can represent anything, from how long a player has been playing, to how skilled they are at playing the game.
The Summer Season gamified program would have 4 ranks that players could achieve: bronze (starting rank), silver, gold and a secret final rank (yet to be released to the community).
Unlocking additional ranks would reward players with a new season pass booklet cover, free play tokens and bragging rights over fellow players. We tinkered with the idea that the upmost rank may reward players with additional powers within the cafe, due to the small % of players that will achieve it.
Because the physical season pass booklet becomes an integral part of participation within the game community, there is a sense of ownership over it by participants. That means that customizations of the booklet could be a powerful motivator as they are seen as valuable and increase ownership over the artifact.
Players progress through the ranks by earning points. Points, again a fairly standard reward mechanic, would be earned by completing a number of activities:
Each 200 points a player earns will see them move up to a higher rank.
We created a scoring model in Excel to define how we weight each activity and how modifying weights and rewards might impact on players probability of achieving certain ranks.
To create our scoring model I first defined what would be required of a player to unlock the first level, I wanted the move from bronze to silver, to happen fairly soon for players, but still represent a significant achievement for them. Next I defined what I expected a player would have to do to unlock the final tier, then we began to work backwards decreasing the requirements for each lower level. I then compared the difference between my initial thoughts on the first rank progression and how the model tracked back from the top-tier. I then played with rewards and weightings until I found something that was both challenging and realistic for players.
While I wanted the scoring model to be fairly robust to begin with, I also didn’t want it to be definitive, I wanted to have some mechanisms to remove and inject scoring opportunities into the game at my discretion after the game was launched. This would later take the form of Quest Booster Packs, but more on that in another post.
The primary way players earn the majority of their points throughout the season is by completing quests. Quests are tasks that the player completes and then has verified by a Hungry Hippo staff member. Quests come in four flavours:
When designing quests we always factors certain things into the design of a great quest.
Next in this series: Booster Packs: Injecting quests into the community.