City Planner

Design is a game

Interaction Design

Umeå Institute of Design

Year / Duration

2008 / 3 weeks

In collaboration with

Univ. of the Southern of Denmark

Teaming up with

Linda Bresater and Li


This board game simulates a particular problem in the design process which the lack of communication while working in teams is a problem. It helps to find alternative design strategies for improving the way to communicate and interpret information whilst working to achieve a common goal in the design field.

Professional Inquiries

In order to understand how people work together in a design office, we sought to solicit detailed stories about how people conduct their work with others.

This part of the research was done in collaboration with Joachim Falck-Hansen and Ya-Ting Maggie Kuo. We interviewed people from Plakat a design office in Umeå.


We made a portrait to introduce each person we interviewed. The portrait was used in a collaborative analysis activity later on.


To capture the sequence and important details of the dilemma discovered, the students made situation boards for describing it properly and in a visual manner.The objective of the board game, is to offer alternatives to solve this dilemma in that particular context.

Collaboration with the USD

The ideation stage of the project was done in collaboration with students from the University of Southern Denmark.

The first yearts of the Interaction Design program at UID went to Sønderborg and new work teams were created, where Sønderborg and Umeå students were working together.

Testing ideas

Mock-ups were done to test the ideas.This part of the project was one of the most interesting, and made us realize that the more you ask others to try out your game, the better it becomes.

in the process of game design, it is extremely important to have several user testing sessions to identify areas to improve and validate ideas.


City planner

After having defined the concept of the game we adapted the game to a story, in order to make it more attractive for people.

The goal of the game is to work together as a team to build a city according to a given project contained in one of the project cards.

Game description

Each player must take a clue card with a part of the necessary information to complete the project. The players are not allowed to talk about the information in their own clue cards.

Each player must be very focused on what the others are doing in order to interpret properly the moves the others make.


The rules

Each player has to complete his/her personal task (the task in the clue card) and tries to contribute to the others' tasks in order to complete the project stated in the project card. 

At the end of each round, the project card will be shown and compared with the result on the board. By discussing the results the players will try to build new games strategies in order to succeed in the subsequent rounds.


View the user guide