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Courtroom drama as theme

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 07/23/2018

Hi folks, any lawyers around?

I'm targeting a courtroom theme for a drafting and hand management card game I'm working on. The problem is my knowledge comes exclusively from TV shows and games like Phoenix Wright, so I'd love to get some better insights.

Specifically, I'm wondering what aspects or avenues of strategy a legal team might focus on leading up to and during a trial. These strategies would then be represented in cards that all follow that subtheme and work with each other. Examples might include:

- jury profiling and appealing to jurors
- research: working with labs, talking to witnesses, etc.
- rhetorical/debate/speaking skills
- techniques working with witness testimony/cross-examination
- knowledge of case law, precedents, etc.
- dirty tricks: utilizing factors outside of the case itself to your advantage

The other thing is how conflicts might arise leading up to and during a trial. For example, jury selection and witness cross-examination are often dramatic points of conflict in TV shows. Are there other opportunities for conflict that would be nice to represent in the game?

Ultimately this isn't meant to be a realistic simulation; the intended tone is meant to be wild, verging on the absurdist. That said, I want to base it on actual aspects of law and courtroom experiences so it's not entirely off the rails.

I'd appreciate any thoughts or suggestions you might have. Thanks!

P.S. If you have experience in this field, think this is an interesting idea, and wouldn't mind a quick chat on Discord etc. to brainstorm a bit, please let me know.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Legal Resources

Sounds to me like you're fortunate enough to have not encountered the legal system yet. Good for you. :)

I was going to suggest Phoenix Wright, since they seemed to have figured out what might be the "fun" part of the process. Meanwhile, here are a couple "real-world" resources that may help you learn more about the process.

What is it like during a trial?

How do lawyers prepare for a trial?

I'm currently dealing with some personal legal issues right now for my first time ever (a personal injury case, when I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle), but I simply selected an attorney for my particular case and let them take care of most everything. They've asked for receipts and invoices for my medical bills, but as far as the legal process I know hardly anything about it. So that's why I'm suggesting you have a look at these legal publications.

Good luck to you!

Jay103's picture
Joined: 01/23/2018
Please take this

Please take this constructively.. but.. Any particular reason you're making a game about an environment you have no familiarity with? Why choose the legal system?

If you're making a *TV* legal system game, cool, but in that case I'd stick to the tropes that you see on Law & Order and call it a day. The other stuff won't be any more familiar to your audience than it was to you.

Joined: 07/24/2018
I agree with Jay103 in some

I agree with Jay103 in some sense.

If depends on the level of seriousness of the game.

Would you like it to be less serious and fun and play off the tropes? lighter art?


More like a simulation. tactical and encouraging players to be clever and knowledgable.

If it were me, I would like the former. I could picture silly antics and overdramatic situations. This seems to be more of what you know and more people can relate to something like this.

How many players were you thinking? 2?

Tim Edwards
Joined: 07/30/2015
Why not create a fictional

Why not create a fictional judicial process that you create yourself purely to provide the best game-design opportunities? You could call it "Kangaroo Court". They're all marsupials...

Jay103's picture
Joined: 01/23/2018
Suff wrote:If depends on the

Suff wrote:
If depends on the level of seriousness of the game.

Well, he did say

Ultimately this isn't meant to be a realistic simulation; the intended tone is meant to be wild, verging on the absurdist.

Given that, trying to add "real" courtroom stuff seems out of place, and particularly so if he has no familiarity with real courtroom stuff to begin with.

The main difference between TV and reality, aside from removing jury selection and all that, is that reality doesn't have those "gotcha!" moments that are what TV drama is all about.

Also, watch Night Court. I assume you watched Night Court?

Joined: 07/23/2018
Hi folks, thanks for all the

Hi folks, thanks for all the ideas and feedback! I'm interested in the legal system as a theme because both sides use the same set of tools (witnesses, evidence, jurors, defendant/plaintiff/etc.) to achieve very different goals.

That shared "resource" characteristic ties into the gameplay engine I'm working on (two players drafting from a single shared deck), but it might take some contortions to make it all fit.

The reason I'm asking if anyone has experience in the field is to get some sanity checking, to make sure that my game is not so unrealistic as to be jarring. However, after doing some more research it seems like most shows, movies, etc. about trials are very unrealistic as well, so maybe that doesn't matter. :)

Thanks again for the thoughts!

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