Going Unplugged with Jennifer Ann’s Group as game challenge finalist

The Big Build Up Tower setup
The Big Build Up

Lien Tran, Matters at Play director and DePaul’s School of Design assistant professor, and Lynn Baus, DePaul’s graduate student in the Experience Design program, teamed up to propose an analog game concept for Jennifer Ann’s Group (JAG)’s 14th Annual Game Design Challenge, which challenges game makers everywhere to design compelling prosocial games for violence prevention.

This is the first time the challenge has gone Unplugged. This year the prompt is to design a non-violent unplugged game that will help those who play it better understand the role and impact of Power & Control in dating relationships.

Build self-esteem in the Big Build Up, a cooperative game where players learn the warning signs of dangerous relationships and explore ways to safely get out before their world tumbles down.

Lien Tran and Lynn Baus, DePaul University

Our proposal is for a cooperative, ‘players vs. game’ tabletop game called The Big Buildup which gives physicality to the abstract concept of self-esteem. The game system is a metaphor for how self-esteem can be built up or deteriorate (damaged and even destroyed) due to your choices and response to signs of power and control that could turn a healthy relationship to unhealthy or toxic. Cooperation takes place between a player who is in a relationship and possible bystander(s), reminding us all that we can play an active bystander role.

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