The Invisible Game

This student project was part of the Empathic Equality course in the Master´s Programme in 2021. A group of four students, Daksh Chhillar, Theresa Höller, Jichun Ma and Olivie Lyhning Nissen, created an educational board game around the chronic pain disease fibromyalgia.

The project

We designed a board game to learn more about the chronic pain disease – fibromyalgia. We designed this game because we found there is a lack of communication and understanding between people suffering from this disease and their surroundings. We collaborated with the Fibromyalgi – & Smerteforeningen in Copenhagen and through them with several people, suffering from this disease.  

First we held an online workshop with small activities to get to know them and the disease they are facing on a daily basis and built trust and a relationship for working together on the project. 

After these online workshops, we clustered the data and translated the key insights into workshops to dive more deeply into the main issues. 

For one of these physical workshops we co-created a tactile probe kit, consisting of a doll and materials in diverse shapes, to help them to visualise their pain, emotions and issues. 

As we collaborated with the association and our participants, we became aware of the emotional journey they go through every day. We wanted to bring awareness to this journey by using metaphors and visualising them as a map for the game, the island of fibromyalgia. 

The idea for the game came from the key insights: 

They experience a great deal of negativity, stress and suffering on a daily basis. Each individual experiences it differently and lives in their own invisible world, leading to a lack of understanding and communication issues. The disease is also surrounded by a lot of confusing and false information making it hard to deal with it. 

With these four insights in mind we designed “the invisible game” that combines positive communication with personal experience to help people gain more knowledge about the disease in a guided way, communicate better with their surroundings and learn tips and tricks to deal with fibromyalgia. 

This is accomplished by traversing the map through collecting a total of 12 cards out of 4 different categories: 

Knowing cards: questions to gain a basic knowledge of fibromyalgia 

Talking cards:  expressing your personal experience with the disease  

Doing cards: tips and tricks that you can incorporate into your daily life, making this game more active  

Expressing cards: using tactile probe kit in a more refined shape to visualise issues better  

Through this game, people can learn more about fibromyalgia together, building empathy and creating understanding for people who are suffering from this disease, whether they have it themselves or just want to gain more empathy for them. 

Project Partner: Fibromyalgi – & Smerteforeningen,

Supervisors: Kerstin Bro Egelund kbe[@], Kathrina Dankl 

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