301117075 Final Project Grand Proposal

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CRUSADES FOR A CAUSE - Final Project Grand Proposal

Team members: 

Michelle Lee | 301117075 (author of this grand proposal)
Christie Wong | 301145526
Peter Tang | 301155835
Jesica Chu | 301166686

Part I. Abstract

In this project, we aim to demonstrate the power social media holds in spreading information in contemporary societies. More specifically, we are aiming to illustrate how theKONY 2012 movement, created by Jason Russell, had spread its awareness worldwide in an astonishing short period of time. The project format we wish to approach is a multi-player card game, called Crusades for a Cause, involving players to strategically use the resources available to expand a chosen cause, which will then consequently impact the number of people it influences through campaign and propaganda tactics. This topic is in our particular interest because of its relevancy in time period and influence on human value. We hope to better inform the players, as well as ourselves, the effects of using the right tools or medium to spread information. In addition, we hope to increase self-reflection and critical thinking on how we receive information in the new media age.

Part II. Project Narrative

What makes it original?
The idea of this multi-player card game originally derived from our personal encounters with the KONY 2012 campaign. The afterthoughts of watching the viral video had such great impact on us individually that it led to inquiries of the credibility and information construction behind this movement. From researching through the Invisible Child Foundation (the foundation of KONY 2012 project) and analyzing the KONY 2012 video, we identified several strategic propaganda uses and emotional manipulation within, such as featuring famous graphic designer Shepard Fairey and showings of graphic photos of the issue. As a result, we developed the basis for Crusades for a Cause; its objective is to gather the largest amount of human resources and recruit participants by using the mediums and propaganda methods provided in the game. Instead of a board game, we are solely using cards and game figures as representatives. As well, the players for this game are asked to draw a “Cause” card that represents a charity foundation at the very beginning; this is intended for setting an altruism mindset for the players apart from personal gains exemplified in majority of alike board games.

Why is it important that you undertake this project?
It is important for us designers to undertake this project because, by studying in the digital design industry, we are well aware of the impact media holds in contemporary societies. As the number of people that are in tuned to social media websites increases, the power and responsibility of people dispersing information through these social medias increases correspondingly. We think it is essential to analyze the construction process behind KONY 2012, which is often overlooked at the receiving end of the information.

Through this project, we hope to raise the players’ awareness of media influences and manipulation, and develop critical thinking towards future campaigns presented by the media, regardless charity or political work.

Conceptual approach & Issues:
In William Mitchell’s Playing Words, he notions that ‘digital devices rarely operate in isolation, but are linked to one another by communication channels.’ (Mitchell, 2005). This partially explains why theKONY 2012 video went viral in a short period of time: a piece of information dispersed from one social media managed to obtain exponential growth of supporters overnight due to its network’s connectivity with other communication channels. This became our inspiration for categorizing various network resources as “Wild” cards in our game, Crusades for a Cause.

Furthermore, the medium used to spread the campaign also played a major role in KONY 2012’s success. Invisible Children had begun a war against Joseph Kony since 2005. However, it is not till now, seven years later that the campaign started attracting the public’s attention. In Kevin W. Sweeney’s ‘Medium’ (2009), he discussed that each medium carries its own characteristics, which will consequently generate a certain value and belief amongst its audiences. This brought our attention to examine the types of medium we could and should incorporate in our game. For example, KONY 2012 created an aesthetically pleasing video via YouTube to attract the young generation, who are more inclined to graphics than words. Therefore, we have considered implementing a variety of mediums such as videos, official websites, posters, commercials, merchandise, phone calls, amongst many others, as tactics in the game.

Finally, from an analytical point of view, we felt it is important to educate the players the issue of encoding and decoding of information discussed by Stuart Hall (1980). Hall argues the raw, original information can be distorted in many ways as it goes through regulations and protocols. What we see on screen or read in books may not be as transparent as we think they are. Through planning strategic moves in Crusades for a Cause, we hope the players will gain insight and awareness to methods of information manipulation current social medias adapt to.

The game will be composed of solely cards and game figures as representatives. We chose these mediums because we wish to create a casual and simple learning experience to attract the young generation. As well, we intentionally eliminated other components, such as money or a board game interface, for this project in order to have a clear focus on the relationship between media use and society.

Till this day, the creation of KONY 2012 video has only been a month old; the movement is still emerging with major prospective actions to further spread the awareness, recruiting participants from all over the world to partake on the action in the near future. What this movement has accomplished, through its viral video, is to make first-world nations care about a third-world issue amongst thousands of other charity works. In addition, it has successfully prompt its viewers to take actions that consequently stimulate others around them. As prospective interactive designers, we strive to learn these effective approaches in order to become influencers ourselves through use of multi-media platforms. Our vision for the final project is to provide a casual platform for the players to experiment and explore ways to impact society; their objective is to gather the largest population as the game play allows them to through the resources they manage to assemble together. We hope as the players are interacting with the game, they are able to relate their actions back onto what is happening to the actual project in the real world.

Sources of inspiration & Differentiation:
The card game design for Crusades for a Cause is inspired by Monopoly Deal, a multi-player card game derived from the board game Monopoly that aims to gather properties and money through action cards. However, what determines the definition of “success” in our project is based on tactic-use in order to gather a large amount of people throughout different cultures and societies. This is inspired by the amount of people KONY 2012 was able to reach worldwide, including the use of video via social network and the propaganda methods adapted by the campaign.

Similar works in the field include board games such as Risk, Monopoly, and Monopoly Deal. However, this game’s key focus is not on personal gain, but around constructing information around available media platforms in relation to conspiring human believes and values.

Advance in current creative context and conversation:
Since the major inspiration of this project, KONY 2012, is currently an on-going social event, the relevancy in time era will create a direct comparison and reflection between the two. This game will spark discussions about the tactics used in the KONY 2012 video and generate close scrutiny on promotions of upcoming events. However, it may advance and benefit the movement itself as the public becomes more educated about propaganda use. It may drive the Invisible Children movement to construct innovative propaganda methods and strive for higher quality and credibility works to capture the audience’s attention again.

Part III. Process

The research process of this project has already begun in terms of researching existing campaign methods. Amongst the designers, we have researched around the topic individually and collaborated our findings during meetings. After gaining a well-rounded understanding of advertisement and propaganda use, we plan on creating a prototype for Crusades for a Cause first before entering mass production. We will use resources that are available to us to experiment with various interface designs and constructing game figures to best illustrate our vision.

1. Pre-production research

  •  March 8 – April 10, 2012: individual research and meeting times

2. Production schedule itemizing task and allocating time

  • April 11 – 16, 2012: creating prototype

3. Post-production

  •  After April 20, 2012 (after the KONY 2012 project date): mass production

Part IV. Biography

I have been involved in a range of fundraisers and charity groups in my community and school. During my secondary school years, I was in charge of raising funds for the Graduation Committee and Student Council along with fellow students. Outside of school, I was a volunteer at Street Team, founded by the Richmond Youth Foundation, which focuses on raising awareness for youth crisis. Through these various clubs and events, I’ve experienced the obstacles in spreading information, persuasion, and capturing people’s attention. As well, through laborious works such as setting up stands in festivals, I have gained some insights to the strategies existing clubs employ in order to reach out to the community in an effective way. Because this project’s target audience is aiming at the younger generation as well, my previous experiences in these social events and organizations have allowed me to contribute to the construction process of the game design in addition to the pleasure aspects.

Part V. Outcomes

Through the production process of this game, it will improve my understanding of media and social relations. In future life or design situations, I am liable to be more aware of the information I receive, even from credible sources. Moreover, I am to be conscious of the influence of medium use at hand, and how that may have impacted my thought process and emotions. This project will also expose me to analog game design aside from digital works, which is what I am familiar with. This will drive me to learn how to work with the limits of analog tools and maintain creativity within the limitations.

The specific format of our project is a 5-6-player card game, involving only cards and game figures. The main interaction happens between players instead of game board interfaces. Other possible venues we have considered to portray this project include a video format or a website interface. We plan to present our works to teenagers and young adults who are mature enough to understand the underlying concept of the project and are aware of the current events going on around the world. We plan on presenting and testing the prototype ofCrusades for a Cause on students at school during leisure times in order to best represent a relax gaming atmosphere.

Part VI. Budget

Items Company  Amount  Price
Cardstock & Printing SFU Document Sol. 2 $30.00
Clay   Daiso 2 15.00
Paper 1 1.00
Subtotal: $46.00
Mass Production: 15,000 games
Decks of cards CHICAGO Printing 30,000 27,600.00
4 color set up charge CHICAGO Printing 1 110.00
Subtotal: $27, 710.00
Game figures  RolcoGames 500,000 16, 205.00
Instructions eprintFast 15,000 1,072.38
Custom cardboard boxes The Box Co-op 15,000 3,122.62
TOTAL: $48, 156.00

Type: Double sided
Color: 4 color 2 sided (4/4)
Size: 8.5” x 11”
Custom cardboard boxes:
Type: Tuck End
Size: 12” x 6” x 2.5”


Chicago. (2012, March 21). Prices. Retrieved from http://www.saltz.com/chicago/PRICES.htm

ePrintFast. (2012, March 21). Brochures Printing. Retrieved from http://www.eprintfast.com/brochures.html

Gane, N. & Beer, D. (2008). New Media : The Key Concepts. New York: Berg.

Hall, S. (1980). ‘Encoding/decoding’. Georgetown University. Retrieved from http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/theory/SH-Coding.pdf

Hasbro. (2012, April 1). Monopoly. Retrieved from http://www.hasbro.com/monopoly/en_US/

Invisible Children. (2012, March 8). KONY 2012 Project. Retrieved from http://www.invisiblechildren.com/

Jason Russell. (Producer). (2012, March 5). KONY 2012. [video]. Invisible Children, Inc. Retrieved March 8, 2012 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc

Mitchell, W. (2005). Placing Words: Symbols, Space, and the City. The MIT Press.

Rolco Games, Inc. (2012, March 22). Product View. Retrieved from http://www.rolcogames.com/product.php?id=9

The Box Co-op. (2012, April 2). Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.boxcoop.com/standard_boxes.htm?gclid=CL3BuY2yl68CFYYHRQodoilyyw