The awesomeness of the Game of Awesome

The awesomeness of the Game of Awesome

Among the big winners at the 2016 Best Design Awards: a game that gets people interested in reading and writing.

Let’s talk about literacy. Being able to read and write – and to do those things well – plays an enormous role in how we view our world, and the opportunities we have. The reality is, struggling in these areas severely limits one’s opportunities in life. And the unfortunate truth is far too many people are indeed struggling – especially early in life.

Enter Game of Awesome.

Game of Awesome is an educational card game designed to inspire students in years 5 to 8 to write creative stories. Doing this, the logic goes, will increase their literacy levels. And the game uses creative strategies to make the traditional, “unplugged” game compete with the electronic gizmos of today.

The game presents undefined pieces of a story – such as “crisis”, “evil scientist” or “the pyramids” – and then challenges players to choose inventive ideas from their hand of cards. These cards then become the building blocks of stories.

The brainchild of design director Aaron McKirdy, creative director Dave Turnbull and contributors Robert Whittaker, Gavin Mouldey and Morgan Davie, winning the game involves using card combinations in the most entertaining way. In other words, players string disparate ideas together to create a singular, cohesive story.

Designed for three to six players at a time, the inventiveness of the stories players come up with isn’t simply limited to sessions played among friends and families. Published as Creative Commons by the Ministry of Education, the game is distributed free to schools.

But Game of Awesome isn’t just some retro-style novelty hoping to get the word out. It has also won a bevy of awards, like a Purple Pin in the Public Good Category at the 2016 Best Awards, and was a category winner at the 2016 Pride in Print Awards.

Awesome, right?