Boss Bluff

A card game currently in development. Boss Bluff is a social deduction game with shifting alliances. You’re at a tense dinner where Under Bosses give speeches professing their loyalty to each other. Be the best at determining who is betraying you and you’ll triumph as the Big Boss. It is for 4 players, and play time is about 90 mins.

Prototype set-up image:

Bossbluff_setup

Cross-Media Design Kit

I am currently developing a cross-media design kit, comprised of over 100 cards, a book, and website with updated examples and exercises. It is for:

Who is this book for?

  • Creative Directors, Showrunners
  • Narrative Designers
  • Interactive Writers, Screenwriters
  • Game Designers, Level Designers
  • UX, Interaction, & Service Designers
  • Creative Producers who want to understand the aesthetic ramifications of development, production, distribution, and marketing decisions
  • Educators teaching any of the above

What can you do with this book?

  • Brainstorm and iterate during development
  • Analyse your own or others’ projects
  • Critically reflect during development, production or post-release
  • Reconsider art, industry, and practice

How to use this book and project

In this book, I take you through every technique you may consider when creating a cross-media project. I provide a description of the technique, reference key related readings, refer to related techniques, name examples, discuss when you may use the technique and complications.

On the website, there is a ‘transmedia design report’ where you can answer questions about your project and get an immediate free assessment of what transmedia techniques are recommended for your project. You will also find examples of projects and exercises for using the cards, updated by myself and fellow creatives and educators.

On the cards, you will find the name of each technique and an illustration. Use these with the exercises on the website, and the book if you like, to develop your own projects and analyse existing ones.

Background

I am drawing on my previous published work on cross-media interaction design, as well as the insights I have gained over the years as a designer, researcher & educator. It is illustrated by Marigold Bartlett, who has worked with me on the Magister Ludi Game and forthcoming board game DIY SPY.

  • I tested the first prototype at a workshop on Transmedia Writing & Design at Unitech, New Zealand in November, 2015.
  • I gave two 3 hour lectures with short exercises for first year multidisciplinary classes at Griffith University in 2016.
  • I gave a speech at the Navitas Women’s Networking event in Sydney in 2016 about concepts from the book introduction.
  • I gave two workshops at SAE Creative Media Institute film and media students, taking them through interest design techniques and audience design techniques respectively, in November, 2016.

Prototype 2:

Prototype2

Prototype 1:

crossmediadesigncards

 

DIY SPY

DIY SPY is an improvisational physical party game for 3-18+ players. Players train to be spies at an underfunded spy school, using whatever objects are around to fulfil the missions.

GO423_DIYSPY GO423Exhibition

photo (3)

Credits:
Christy Dena – writing & design
Marigold Bartlett – artist

Mechanic: improvisation, storytelling
Genre: Humour
Platform(s): Board game
Audience: Party, Strangers (ice-breaker)
Playtime: 30+ minutes
Minimum Age: 12+
Theme: Spy
Player numbers: 3-18 players

g_playroom-300x300

It was originally conceived as a game that combines digital and live play, continuing my design interest in pervasive games. The original idea: in 5 minutes you use anything available to fulfill your missions and train to be a spy. I then adapted the format to be completely live and for over 18+ players and last about 50mins. I developed a festival version, and am developing a boardgame version.

I came up with the original idea in response to the 22Jams prompt of “make a game where you must be standing in order to play”. I didn’t have the time to create the game for the Jam, but the game stuck with me. Harry Lee of Wanderlands (who recently released their award-winning game Stickets), put out a call for collaborators on game projects. I took my game to Harry and he jumped on board encouraging the game to go ahead. We playtested the game at Harry’s Glitchmark game design event. I’ve since playtested versions at Popup Playground, JunkJam #2Playtest Saturday Afternoon in Melbourne; the GO423 Popup Exhibition at The Powerhouse in Brisbane; various homes and office buildings; a playtest event for IGDA Brisbane; with interaction design and writing students at QUT; colleagues at SAE Media Institute; players at the Boardgames & Beers Meetup (Brisbane); participants at Forward Slash Story; with design feedback from Lorraine Hopping Egan and Matt Parkes (designer of Burger Up). The name of the game was developed with contributors in the Card and Board Game Designers Guild.

It is a super fun game where everyone entertains each other. It works as an ice-breaker game, team-bonding game, and just as a party game with mates…in various states of inebriation.

Studio of the Future

FutureStudioGame

For my Forward Slash Story residential, I created a card game that is a hack of Situation Lab’s ‘The Thing from the Future‘ and Near Future Laboratory’s ‘Design Fiction Product Design Work Kit‘. These card sets are focused on brainstorming objects for the future, looking at the object, time, mood of use, state of contextual development, and so on. For the F/S residential, I wanted to shift the focus towards a possible writer’s room in the future, and also use more of their storytelling skills. I wanted to facilitate fantastical stories about use rather than emphasising a certain time and context. So the variables I included are object, design prompt, use feeling, and people involved. I wrote the objects so they include ones that can be in a studio, along with the people (from writers to cleaners).

The exercise has worked fine at both F/S and at my Digital Writers’ Room events, producing quite entertaining stories about weird objects but importantly unusual studio scenarios. There is the problem of instruction delivery needing to be refined, and I find there is a tension between the goals of ideating objects versus ideating situations. It is the latter I’m after and so I’m still tweaking it.