The SMeFT Decks: A Card-Based Ideation Tool for Designing Hybrid Digital Boardgames for Distanced Play

Melissa J Rogerson, Lucy A Sparrow, Sophie O Freeman

Session: Games and Play - Friday 2022-12-02 09:30-11:00 AEDT
Paper Track
Remote Presentation


Increasing numbers of people have turned to playing boardgames with physically distant friends and family via technological tools, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, commercial hybrid digital boardgames (HDBs) are designed for co-located, rather than distanced, play and there is a need for more specific tools to support hybrid game design. This paper introduces the SMeFT Decks, a set of card decks to aid in the design of HDBs for distanced play, which support Story, Mechanism, Function and Technology. We describe the use of these cards for design ideation and demonstrate four game concepts for distanced play stemming from the use of these decks in participatory workshops. We report evaluative feedback from a pilot study and from 46 participants who used these cards across nine design workshops and reflect on what we learned from observing this process. Results suggest that the SMeFT Decks are a productive ideation tool for aiding in the design of HDBs for distanced play in collaborative workshop settings.