Through a user-centered design process that included insights from children affected by chronic disease, medical experts, peers, and game designers, I created “It’s All in the Game,” a board game that distills insights about chronic disease into varying in-game procedures.
The board game focuses on communicating the complications and limitations of living with a chronic disease, specifically cystic fibrosis, through game mechanics that mimic the daily experiences of a child with the disease. The game’s aim is to create awareness and empathy for children with a chronic disease by providing a low barrier approach to learn about the effects of chronic illness, creating enjoyment focused play settings that generate shared experiences, provide a structured language around chronic disease, and potentially enable discussion among peers. This project demonstrates my ability to design and develop a product that addresses a real-world problem while balancing information conveying and designing for fun and engagement.
• Designing solutions for societal well-being
• Innovative concept development
• Procedural communication design
• Project management and ongoing development
• Production methods like laser cutting, CNC, etc.
The board is shaped to fit the activity tokens only according to specific rules that fit the general limitations of planning in the life of a CF patient. No physiotherapy on the weekends, no more than one sports activity in the day and required rest after any physically draining activity.
Dealing with complicated day to day logistics and limitations in terms of energy and fatigue is translated into planning out a week as a kid with a chronic disease. It allows players to experience what it's like not being able to do everything in a day or week and taking all logistics into account while planning it out.
The activity tokens are shaped to fit only according to the rules on the planning board. They all have a different color to easily distinguish between them and allow the player to visually represent the items in their head when forming their play strategy.
These activity tokens represent six different day to day activities that were extracted from the interviews and a creative session to be common amongst CF patients. Incorporating them all into their weeks is a continuous challenge for them in which medication and rest are often the first things to lose the battle.
Growing up with a chronic disease like cystic fibrosis means having to deal with unexpected events on a weekly basis. Whether this is waking up with no energy at all or having to go to the hospital to get an antibiotic drip, these are things that can happen just about any day when growing up with CF. These cards are a metaphor representing this.
Additionally, the chance cards give the opportunity for storytelling, informing about very specific aspects of a disease and incorporating everyday challenges that every child is dealing with, with or without a chronic disease, to put into perspective that not everything is different between a sickling and their healthy peer.
The resource cards are used to buy activity tokens. The right amount of the required cards has to be gathered to buy the needed tokens, in order to gather points and attempt to fulfill the personal challenge, as fast as possible.
Energy, health, motivation and time are chosen as the four main resources. These four resources are extracted from interviews conducted with CF patients, where they indicated these four as their main reason for doing or not doing something. They were also all indicated to be scarce from time to time.