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JUD Game 'Boxed'

This is an article by Drew Mackie that aims to share the 'Join Up Digital Game' (JUD Game) he developed and delivered at our May Event. The purpose of this article is to 'box up' the game we developed and advise how they can use it at their own event. Although this game was developed for digital and ageing, it could easily be modified to be used in any setting where the aim is to get multiple parties to become more connected for social aims.

You may also find this accompanying article with example Network maps useful, and also our directory of digital solutions which we used at our event as the initiative solutions.

Game Outline


We designed a game for the Joined Up Digital project, kindly funded by the Centre for Ageing Better based on its research into what works in helping older people to enjoy a better later life. The initial purpose of the game was to explore various ways in which the voices of older people can be heard in designing the support that they need and the opportunities that technology presents in assisting this. The game was created for the May event to allow national and local agencies and interest groups to discuss the possibilities of digital technology in the ageing space. It became obvious that this discussion had to include the needs and desires of people themselve, the capabilities of the organisations that support them and the design and operation of the apps, platforms and devices that were becoming available. The game was intended to bring these factors together in a creative, entertaining and stimulating way.

Although the game at present is directed at the use of technology by people in later life, its structure and mechanics can be used to explore any form of collaborative delivery for any target group. It is a generic game and one that might be used for a number of purposes.

The game is based on negotiating agreements between players to Fund, Promote, Deliver and Adopt tech ideas, apps and devices. It is intended to track two processes:

  1. The expression of needs and desires of older people as encapsulated in the set of six personas in the Ipsos Mori research commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better

  2. The ways in which developers can get tech solutions to older people


As it is intended to use the game in a workshop and event context, the briefing, mechanics and results have been kept as simple as possible.

The following sections describe the structure of the game and the content that it generates.


Game Versions

There are several versions of the game:

  • A conference game which can accommodate around 50 participants and is used to generate debate around the play.

  • A training game which familiarises participants with some of the issue facing older people, their support organisations and the technology that might be available to help them help themselves.

  • A research game that lets participants explore various strategies within a local scenario


Game Structure


The game revolves around the idea of recorded “agreements” between players representing organisations at national, local and personal levels. Each player has a badge that contains information on their role and a number of “tickets” that denote willingness to Fund, Promote, Research, Deliver or Adopt an initiative or project. Different players have different combinations of these. Initiatives are outlined on cards and players may champion these as they progress through the game.


This “trading” system is at the heart of the game and is governed by a few simple rules:

  • Each player is assigned the role of an organisation with interests in the wellbeing of older people. A badge indicating the name of the role is given to each player. Each badge has:

    • A space for recording the interests and aims of that role - contributed by the player before play. This provides the opportunity for the players to think themselves into their roles

    • A set of four “support tickets” indicating the capability to Fund, Promote, Deliver and Adopt an initiative. These are detachable from the badge. Each ticket has the name of the player and is colour coded to show the level of the player holding the ticket. Each role has a different mix of these tickets. Players representing the personas only have “Adopt” tickets and are the only players with such tickets.

  • During play, the various roles decide whether to support initiative cards that originate either from tech developers, from the needs and desires of the six personas as expressed by players representing close friends and family or from the needs of the national or local organisations. Transactions are recorded by attaching support tickets to initiative cards. An initiative needs three cards to be successful - but one of these has to be “Adopt” and only Friends and Family have those.

  • There is no formal system for negotiating agreements. Players make as many agreements with as many people in the room as they want within the timespan of the game (typically around an hour and a half).

  • At the end of the game, the facilitator leads a reporting session where players can indicate:

    • What they were trying to achieve and with whom

    • The opportunities and difficulties they encountered.

    • Any insights they gained from the game

  • A further session can be used to discuss the general insights gained and lessons learnt.


Facilitator Instructions

These instructions are intended for a facilitator at an event with between 20 and 60 participants.




Play should take place in a room with plenty of useable wall space and no restrictions on blutack. The wall space should separated into “zones” which reflect the various levels represented in the game:






​A section of wall space or a suitable table should also be set aside for the display of initiative cards, both pre-filled and blank. Large network maps will define the national and local spaces. The local space should accommodate six A1 persona sheets and the associated A2 network maps. The diagram shows a typical layout.

Each participant is issued with a neck badge with their role name, a space for indicating role interests and a set of four “tickets” to be used during play. Different roles have different mixes of ticket. The ticket types are:

  • Fund

  • Promote

  • Research

  • Deliver

  • Adopt


Developer, National and Local players all have a mix of tickets. Players representing the close networks of the personas have only Adopt tickets and are the only players to have these.


Introduce the game as an exploration which uses the combined experience and expertise of participants to address a set of real and compelling issues. Stress that we are looking for creative approaches and that the game is just a framework to encourage these. There are no right and wrong answers, but all actions will be discussed at the end of the process.

Initial conversations in levels

Before the game proper starts, it's a good idea to get participants to gather in their level zones and to get to know each other and the roles they’re playing. At national level, if the players are playing their actual roles, get them to indicate the mix of their blank support tickets by initialling the coloured part of each ticket (F = Fund, P = Promote and D = Deliver). Continue this initial conversation for about 10 to 15 mins.




Players are now free to adopt any negotiation or strategy that can draw support of various kinds from other players for initiatives they select from the Initiative Table or for Initiative cards that they create on the blanks provided. Agreements can be negotiated to gain support tickets for initiatives and these tickets are attached to the Initiative card. As soon as a card has three different support tickets it is deemed to be successful - but one of those tickets has to be and “Adopt” ticket, indicating the acceptance of one or more of the personas. That’s pretty much it. The game consists of negotiations between players to gain support, to implement initiatives and to create new ideas. There are no further rules - although there are a few wrinkles. For instance players may decide to give their support tickets to organisations rather than initiatives and then trust the organisation to promote and deliver a series of initiatives that they approve of. This may, of course run the risk of promoting and funding organisations rather than assisting the end users, but it may be an effective way of making something happen.




At the end of the game successful initiatives will be commented on by their champions. It is a good idea to strictly control the time of these presentations to around a minute. One bit of theatre we have found effective is to use the “yellow/red card” system. Presenters are shown a yellow card at 50 seconds and the red card at a minute. Most comply. Adjust the times if you want longer feedback, but remember most people find long feedback sessions tedious. A short time restriction sharpens up most presenters delivery!



The results of the game can be written up based on:

  • The successful initiatives - who collaborated and what tickets did they contribute. Are these likely collaborations?

  • The unsuccessful initiatives - what were the blocks to success

  • The Feedback session and any comments made by players after the game.  


Player Instructions

The purpose of the game

The game is intended to explore, i9n a creative and entertaining way, the opportunities and pitfalls in helping older people to use digital technology (apps, platforms, devices) to improve their lives. The drivers for the game are:

  • The needs and desires of older people and their ability to take advantage of digital tech to address these

  • The development of apps, platforms and devices that might help older people and the organisations / individuals that support them.


Your role


A description of your role is given on the back of your badge.




Developers are people who create the apps, platforms or devices that might improve the lives of older people. You will try to take an Initiative through to successful adoption by one or more of the Persona Close Networks.

National Organisations

You represent one of the organisations and agencies that act UK wide and have an interest in policy and programmes. You will try to assist Initiatives through to successful adoption.


Local Organisations

You represent one of the organisations and agencies that act locally and have an interest in policy and programmes and projects. You will try to assist Initiatives through to successful adoption.


Persona “Close Networks” support


You represent the Family, Friends and Support (carer, doctor, etc) of one of the 6 Personas you will see on the wall. You will try to ensure that any initiatives that are suggested to help them are appropriate to their needs and wants.

How to play

Following a short period of discussion amongst roles at you level to establish any common goals and existing collaborations (see the network map displayed in your “zone”), there is an extended period of negotiation with any other role in the room that you think might be appropriate to you aims.


Your badge will have four “tickets” attached to it. Each ticket displays:

  • A colour indicating the level of your role.

  • The name of your role

  • A type of support that you can offer - Fund, Promote, Research, Deliver and Adopt. The Adop tickets are only held by players representing the Personas. Different roles have different mixes of support ticket




Although there are technically no individual winners and losers in the game, success will be gauged by the number of supported initiatives adopted by the personas and the extent of new collaborations that benefit the broadest range of Personas and their immediate support. The point of the game is to encourage more joined up delivery that is responsive to older people’s needs, desires and capabilities.