EGO — A Board Game for Self-Awareness

packing for the game

EGO是我在One-Up Design Club的第一份设计,而“Ego”本身这个单词的含义就是“自我”的意思。

EGO is the first draft of design I’ve made in One-Up design Club, and EGO itself means the identity of yourself.


Before I come up with the idea to design a board game, I actually have some different inspirations. The first topic in the club: “Self-Awareness”. I expect my design to solve the problem that everyone might need to face to, about to understand and perceive yourself.


The most frequently occasion that people need to apply their self-awareness, probably when you are forced to “Introduce” yourself. Oftentimes you need to present yourself to a crowd of people, and it will be awkward if you’re not really extrovert person. A board game perhaps can solve the problem pleasantly.


Actually, the game not merely just solve the problem with introduce yourself, but if player could played with each other more trustful and familiar, the game shall bring more connection between people and may break through the self-knowledge. This is the outcome I wish to see or people played after my game could receive.


Where I started with


After the club finished the intro to design, we were ready for the first practical design. Our first topic is “Self-Awareness”. Most of people in the club were thinking about how to present themselves with a poster or a manual book, but I decide to make a design with more utilitarian purpose, which can solve real life problem. I don’t want to make a personal statue.

一开始我的想法是像名片一样的小东西,我可以通过设计在上面创作出很多自定义的图案,来代表个人的特色。或者是一串项链,每颗珠子都是一个元素。但是重点是我想带来的形式,我想用这个设计来解决所有关于自我认知的难题,也就是说,这个设计是通用的 (Universal)

In the beginning, I started with a idea of something present yourself. A business card, that I can edit few icons and patterns on it, for presenting yourself. Another idea is a string of necklace, each bead painted with certain element. But in most essentially, the format I want to use, a design that can solve every kind problem with self awareness. Which means, the design must be universal.

example for business card


New inspiration hit me when I was presenting my manuscripts. I linked with the board game I’ve made in the first semester. I quickly changed my idea, claimed that I want to design a board game.



I have a sense that the board game with the self-awareness topic can be already design by somebody else online, so I did few research and gained nothing. Maybe I’m the first person who want to design a self awareness board game.

Ellen has been mentioned she played a board game before really like mine one. Same topic for self-knowledge. The function of the board game is about, you pick card from a pile, and every card have a painting on it, and you chose the one that fit you. I think the game is sort of: “Check-in” type of game. Not really fun if you play it several times. And you don’t really have rules from it, you can play whatever you want. I suppose my game need rules, and have to be fun to play.



When I was running out of ideas, I thought a lot about the format of board games and the rules. My first thought was that the board game might be a test, and I made it quite clear that at the end of the game each player would leave a set of hand cards, and those cards would represent some of the attributes of the person. The idea came from a set of psychological tests we did in the middle of the semester. In my opinion, an accurate result can be obtained through some questions, which may fit the goal of my board game: that is, to give a reply to the player: What kind of person are you on earth

我觉得也许那些心理测试的过程会很像我的桌游,然后我就去网上找到了一个心理测试的网站,然后选择了personality test。我一共花了大概半小时把这样一个测试做完了。测试一共分为120道题,每道题就是对人的一个简单描述。然后你需要选择0-5分之间的一分。代表着这样的一个描述对你的合适程度。举几个例子:“我很好的保守一个秘密”或者“我很容易被激怒”。一共120个这样的问题,很明显的问题但是它会反复旁敲侧击各种角度的去问你。最终出来这样的一个报告。我觉得还是测试的很像我的,我好像也的确是这么一个人。

I thought maybe the psychological tests would be similar to my board game, so I went to google and found a psychological test website, chose the personality test. It took me about half an hour to finish such a test. The test is divided into 120 questions, each of which is a simple description of a person. Then you need to choose a score between 0 and 5. Represents how appropriate such a description is for you. “I’m good at keeping a secret” or “I’m easily provoked.”There are 120 of these questions, obvious questions but it’s going to ask you over and over again from different perspective. at last it came out a report. I think the test is very similar to mine, and I seem to be fitted with the test result


But it turns out that this is a way of testing that I don’t accept at all. I don’t think I’d want a board game designed like this or borrowed from a test mechanism. That’s why I totally reject the possibility of a serious report being produced. It is also a process in which I am thinking about my design iteration.


And then I went to Chuck and asked him for some academic advice on psychology, like is there a list of words you can use to describe a person. I don’t think I can be very thorough considered. So I think I should seek some academic help. Chuck, on the other hand, wanted me to do something on my own. He thought he would limit me if he gave me some standards. So I jumped right into the creative process.



initial ideas, each card need to have strong or weak connections with yourself










Since I finished my first draft of my board game, I test the game out on our coaching time. The process of game is quite good for my expectation, some of the parts need improvements

I really appreciate to my coaching mates and Ellen. We’ve played my α version of game, and after the test, I came out with hereinafter reflection:










我的原型牌,和 Ellen以及coach mate测试时用的纸牌
The prototype

The game is fully functional right now, and I move on to the visual design section

The work of visual design is basically turn the freehand sketching into more formal, and electronic form that easy to print. The rework on the cards is the progress of simplify and using color to express more stout feelings.

For example the set of the geometric, I’ve simplified redundant lines and used a strong black figure to express the geometric figures, makes it more figurative and could give the feeling of the attribute that the figure contained.(e.g. the circle is saponaceous, or the triangle is spiky..)

Once I’ve been query by Chunyang (the instructor of our club), he advice me that I may cancel out the color in the figures, because I have the color cards in my game. That means if I’m using the color in other cards, the sense of feeling you can get from color cards will be recede, makes no contrast. I take the advice at first, but I notice that if their is no color in the other card, the sense of feeling would be recede in the other hand. For example, I could have use red for the card fire, but there is no color for it, then the sense of warm and burning won’t exist anymore

Now the board game printed out

I’ve been thinking a lot during the design progress, Almost all the design works that you can see right now are decided by myself alone. Actually I didn’t do a lot researches and asking for help in time, so I spent most of the time to think about what kind like design piece I prefer to show to people, what kind like feeling and gain after they finished game. How could the form(board game) help my design to make people feel the information that I want to people to feel.

I would like to praise myself as I’ve done a good job on design a board game such like this. I combined the topic:” self awareness” suitable in to a design work. The come up reflections are telling me that my board game actually work at the time, it really help people to recognize and have a deeper view of them self, those achievements are what I want to see.

But even though I designed a really functioned board game, there still have a lot space that allowed me to do more improvements for a better version of design. As the contents of cards are all based on nothing but all I’ve figured out, it turned out all the design works are not fully reliable, I could do more research to design a more scientific work that might based on psychology knowledges, Philosophy concepts or those more systematically points.

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