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The Mixed Reality Game Cards are a deck of 93 beautifully designed ideation cards and cover a wide range of design opportunities and challenges of mixed reality games. The cards are based on several years of rigorous academic research at the Mixed Reality Lab of the University of Nottingham. They encapsulate design knowledge derived from designing, developing and staging mixed reality games and distill best practice of dozens of mixed reality games and experiences from industry, artists, and academia alike. The cards were refined over the course of several workshops with a total of over 250 participants. They support multidisciplinary groups of varying backgrounds and levels of experience. In fact, they might even better the more diverse the team is!

Card Session

The Mixed Reality Game Cards can be used in two ways:

  • rapidly generating a large variety of unique game ideas
  • in-depth creation and reflection of a specific game design

The deck consists of a 3 different types of cards to achieve these goals:

  • 51 Opportunity Cards talk about typical (or untypical) design elements that make up mixed reality games.
  • 18 Question Cards help to further think about an existing game design idea by providing prompts from different relevant areas.
  • 24 Challenge Cards describe typical issues and problems that mixed reality games might encounter.

In addition each deck also comes with a set of blank cards that allow you to extend the range of the cards even more to your liking!

For Educators and Professionals

Ideation cards are a great tool for brainstorming and developing ideas in small groups, and the Mixed Reality Game Cards are no exception. They are a playful way to explore the design space of mixed reality games. The cards were developed over the course of several workshops, and have been intensively used since then. Professional developers, academics, artists, students, charity members, children, … whoever used the cards praised them for being hugely inspiring and very enjoyable to use. The cards work as well for experts as inexperienced users.

No matter whether you are an expert in the field of mixed reality games, or want to take your first steps in this exciting new field – the Mixed Reality Game Cards will support you in these endeavours. They work great in small groups of 2-5 participants, or even alone, no matter your previous experience.

If you are a professional developer of mixed reality games you can use the cards to introduce your clients to the rich possibilities and find out what really excites them. Or just use them with your team to get some new ideas to explore further. The cards were used to design Detect, a mixed reality game taking place at Format 15, UK’s biggest photography festival, organized by QUAD Derby. Another game that was originally conceived with the cards is Taphobos, an immersive coffin experience that has since travelled to international festivals and conventions in London, Berlin, New Yorks, Brisbane, and others.

If you are a lecturer you can use the cards to educate your students about the design space of mixed reality games. The cards make it easy to gain an understanding of not only the core concepts of these games, but will also give them a thorough overview of the design challenges that await them. The cards have been used successfully in computer science as well as art programmes, for example at the University of Nottingham, University of Lincoln, De Montfort University Leicester, and TU Graz.

Card Close Up


“The cards were a fantastic way to explore the game mechanics and investigate the issues and points to be wary of. What was also great about using the cards is that it felt like you were playing a game to design a game.”
– Curator at a gallery

“I like the use of cards because it gives you a good amount of ideas, with a big range of issues and challenges we didn’t even think about. Also the cards were very good at reminding us on what the main ideas were and being able to select cards that focused on our idea made us tidy up our idea very early on.”
– Student of Games Computing

“I really enjoyed having the cards. And the positives are that it helped me visualize and keep track of the ideas. Cause we can attribute those ideas to a card, and group them, and rearrange, and so on. So it is nice to sort of have a kinetic way of organizing ideas that isn’t just writing down notes on post-its. You know, something visual.”
– Technologist

“I think the combination of cards were excellent. The cards were just so off the wall, you didn’t know what was gonna come. So rather than all sitting round going ‘Ooooh, don’t know where to start’, they got us talking.”
– Member of a British charity with no previous knowledge of mixed reality games

“I see a lot of young artist coming out wanting to make their first mixed reality game. Or their first phone app. And they are not getting that much further than we did when we first started. People should be allowed to get a bit further now, because the technology is better. People know these things. I think it is really good as a tool. I kind of got bored of saying, ‘Oh, you should think about this, and the orchestration…’ That kind of stuff. It gets boring to have to kind of worry about that.”
– Artists who has been developing mixed reality games for over a decade