UP!

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  • 2022

Designed By:

  • Matthew law

Commissioned By:

Massey University

Designed In:

New Zealand

UP! is a board game about reaching new heights and designed to inspire children, specifically those living with chronic health conditions, to develop the skills to overcome personal and social challenges.


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Image: Hamish Johns
Image: Hamish Johns
Image: Hamish Johns
Image: Hamish Johns
Image: Hamish Johns
Image: Hamish Johns
Image: Hamish Johns
Image: Hamish Johns
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • For young children living with a chronic health condition, progressing to full ownership of their self-management and health can be challenging and confronting. Social stigma from feeling 'different' is a critical factor in neglected daily treatments. While existing tools developed by healthcare professionals recognise the importance of treatment, they are presented in ways that feel controlling and discourage children from speaking openly about their condition in social situations. This presents the challenge of how we might encourage children to feel open about their condition and become more confident to engage with their self-management proactively.

  • UP! is a board game about reaching new heights and developing the skills to overcome personal and social challenges. Designed for 3-6 players, UP! is based on the challenges of climbing a mountain and combines elements of cooperation and strategy. Like real mountaineers, players are in control of their journey as they ascend the game’s three-dimensional board toward the mountain’s summit. Along the way, action and objective cards fuel friendly competition, while open-ended question cards prompt comfortable and meaningful discussion about players’ aspirations and personal challenges.

  • UP! addresses the need for medically-focused tools to be child-centered, rather than under the control of carers and healthcare professionals. With a mission to not be another tool that makes a child living with a chronic health condition feel different, UP! is designed to be inclusive and played by all children along the health spectrum in a space in which they feel comfortable. UP! transforms how healthcare professionals work with children by leaning into gamification to help develop self-management skills such as goal-setting and problem-solving. Using UP!, a child can build self-efficacy for personal and social situations.

  • UP! takes a gamified approach to teaching chronic health self-management, combining elements of industrial and graphic design. The physical construction of UP! steers away from the contemporary trend for games to be minimal and card-led. While UP! involves the picking up and actioning of playing cards, the focus is on the tangible and interactive elements. From earning and trading acrylic tokens to placing 3D-printed pitons and flags onto the three-dimensional game board (that assembles with the snap of a magnet) — UP! pushes the norm of a medically-focused tool for children.