ATLAS

Type: Board game
Application: Service co-development, service project planning
Role: Game designer
Website: http://atlas-research.fi/
Available: Rules and game material available online under Creative Commons 4.0 BY, download here (.zip, 10,6 MB) 


ATLAS is a board game with which service designers and professionals plan service co-development projects and that can also be used as a tool for learning about service co-development methods. The game allows players to bring their own real-life problems into the game, analyze their project's situation and fit it with the correct participants and service co-development methods.

I have run a dozen games of ATLAS as a facilitator in both research and business settings, and every time players have both enjoyed the experience and expressed interest in bringing it to their workplace. If you want to have a facilitated experience of ATLAS, send me a message and we'll figure it out!

The game was created as a part of the ATLAS - map for future service co-development project and the model for defining projects is based on scientific research conducted in the project. My Master's Thesis centered around analyzing ATLAS and creating a novel theoretical framework for explaining its role in co-creating knowledge among the players. The thesis has since been awarded the best thesis of 2014 award by DiGRA Finland and Aalto School of Science.

In the beginning of the game the players define for themselves the objective of the service project i.e. what is its purpose? The answer is written down on a sticky note and placed with a green motivation card at the center of the play area. The game is then played by taking turns in selecting a hexagon card from one of the four categories: project definition, participants, methods & tools, and challenge. Every card has a question that the players must answer together and write the answer down. As the game progresses, the players share and combine their knowledge to better understand the requirements of their project - hence ATLAS is best played in multidisciplinary teams!

My role in ATLAS  was to design game rules and material that would fit the co-creation of a project plan that the game is all about. Earlier versions of the game focused more on exploration of methods and tools where the players gathered the answers into a backpack along the way before returning home. The idea that the purpose of the project should be literally central to the game and having the players construct the game map over time proved to be powerful elements in facilitating the best possible planning experience.

I have written about the game's design philosophy in the design document, available by clicking on the document cover or right here.

The ALTAS game in progress. (c) Aalto University 2013

The ALTAS game in progress. (c) Aalto University 2013

A finished board of the ATLAS game. (c) Aalto University 2013

A finished board of the ATLAS game. (c) Aalto University 2013

A design document I authored for the ATLAS project's end report (click to get to the full report) (c) Aalto University 2013

A design document I authored for the ATLAS project's end report (click to get to the full report) (c) Aalto University 2013