The Family the Feuds Together . . . Play Journal Entry

*This is a continuation of a series of blog posts for my Games and Learning course. In this journaling exercise I am going to play social games and analyze the game mechanics, design, and play experience, to identify how the game can be applied to learning in formal or informal setting

This weekend I was at a small gathering of friends, when we decided we needed a shake up our entertainment and used an appleTV device to cast a mobile app game to the television. We often gather on Friday nights and have identified a collection of mobile apps for classic game shows, such as Wheel of Fortune or The Price is Right. We cooperatively play, with the whole group calling out answers and playing as one team. This week we channeled our inner Richard Dawson to play the crowd favorite Family Feud.


This is a newer version of Family Feud then we are use to playing so there was a lot for this group to master in the game. One of the new features is a tournament mode. In this mode eight players are trying to find answers to the same question. In Family Feud 100 people are surveyed and their answers are hidden on the game-board. The players try to guess all the responses and are awarded points based off of how popular the answer was. In the tournament the two players with the lowest score after each round do not move on to the next round.  So the first round has eight players, the next has six, then four, and for the final round only two players are left. This is a departure from the classic game play where only two players compete at a time, over four rounds.

family feud game play bar.jpg

The knockout nature of the tournament forced us to adjust our game play. In the past our goal was to guess all the answer on the game-board, with the less popular responses seen as unique and therefore the most prized responses to guess. In the knockout games earning the large point responses first, the popular choices, was key because we discovered that ties went to the team who scored fastest.  This made the group slow answers down and focus on what the popular answers could be not just quickly calling out answers and reaching for the obscure responses.

family feud game playTo play in the knockout tournaments players have to collect coins that can be slowly earned in the standard mode or can be obtained quickly in though in-app purchases. There is also a large reward for winning a tournament and second place prize that is enough to pay for another entry to the tournament. In the previous version of this game coins could be collected by watching advertisements. This is a feature we used a lot, it would have been nice if it had been included in the new version. Companies may have not seen that as effective advertising but could have tried trading in-game currency for responses to marketing surveys, there by collecting valuable information and users the opportunity to collect more coins.  

family feud championI believe that the knockout tournament featured was included in this new version of Family Feud because players of the old version were “gaming the system”, defined by Deterding as a situation when players “find a way to exploit any rule loophole” (2014, p.310). We knew how to game the old version’s advertising model to get more in-game currency and how to guess low probability answers early when there is more leeway in time and chances then give high probability answer when the round is almost over.  Removing the payments for watching advertisements and including a time dependent knockout tournament effectively stopped our what we thought were sneaky game play strategies, forcing us to discover new ways to game the Family Feud app.

The Family the Feuds Together . . . Play Journal Entry

6 thoughts on “The Family the Feuds Together . . . Play Journal Entry

  1. I like the strategy that you came up with, good thinking! I played Family Feud on my phone for a long car trip. It was pretty fun but it had WAY too much advertising for my taste. Some of the answers to the questions seemed impossible to guess. Who are these 100 people they are surveying? Seriously, this show has been on forever, you would think someone you know personally would have taken this survey by now. Good gaming choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. loganpriess says:

    Really interesting point about the in-game advertising system and granting players rewards for watching them. Did the designers really just “gamify” that part of the game to encourage players to watch ads? It’s oddly hilarious when games begin to require gamification–although it seems like it was successful because the rewards actually helped open additional game content. Did the new knockout tournament mode fit well with the original nature of the game, or did it seem enormously different while playing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is still a main game mode that was similar to the old version, but the tournament felt very different because the way points were rewarded favored people who had earned them fastest. So before we would focus on finding obscure answers first but in tournament you need the high value answers first.


  3. This game is a great example of how social skills can be intertwined with video games. Going all the way back to Salen’s article in Cycle 1, “Toward an Ecology of Gaming,” I always thought the social side of video games was flimsy at best. This is a fantastic real word example of how social a video game can be.

    Funny enough, my wife and I just bought a card game version of Family Feud. Sounds like we should have saved our money and gone with the digital version!

    Liked by 1 person

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