John Doe and S.O.S

For my honours project during my final year at Abertay University I created a series of games with the core idea to focus on fostering empathy and connection through gameplay mechanics.

As part of the final piece which was displayed at the university’s showcase I displayed two board games inspired by the works of Brenda Romero’s Mechanic is the Message. Both of the board game are based of already established board games as a way to see if deeper meaning could be driven from their mechanics and as people who are not video game/ board game literate could have a chance to be involve with the project as the base games would be familiar to them.

The first of the two games was John Doe, based of the classic Guess Who. The players were given the purpose of trying to find their loved one after a natural disaster, reflecting missing people boards which are commonly seen after such an event the players would have to ask a range of yes/no questions with the aim to find their person from the many on the board in front of them.


The second game S.O.S has been inspired by Battleships, in which one player takes on the role as a coastguard while the second player fills the role of a refugee who is fleeing by boat from their country. Were in John Doe the two players were working together to help on another, in S.O.S the two players are working against one another to reach their initial goals however there is the opportunity for the situation and goals to change over the course of the playthrough.

The entire board was laser cut with the assistance of Dundee’s Maker-space.

The final product would be awards an Diversity Award for the range of techniques and methods I used over the course of the project by Abertay University and The Chinese Room. While the final dissertation that was written alongside these games was awards the David Carnegie Award by Abertay University for best dissertation in Game Design and Production Management.


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