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Game of Awesome

Ministry of Education

Best purple pin
best gold
Best finalist

Game of Awesome won the coveted Purple Pin in the Public Good category at the Best Awards 2016. The very best piece of design in each discipline is given the supreme Purple Pin and held up as work that raises the bar of New Zealand design. It was also a Finalist in the Packaging, Design Craft, and Colour award categories.


An unconventional educational card game co-designed with students to improve literacy.

Game of Awesome is a hilarious, educational game designed to inspire year 5–8 students to write creative stories — whilst increasing their literacy levels. Playing the game helps students generate ideas quickly, from which they can explore, expand and write stories.

Teachers can order the game from Down the Back of the Chair. A DIY version of the game can also be downloaded for free, and printed from PDFs. Visit http://awesome.tki.org.nz for your digital copy.

Watch the awesome video trailer on Vimeo (4.30 min).

As seen on TV3 Story — watch now (4 min). 

About the game:
The Judge presents undefined pieces of a story, such as “Crisis” and “Expert”, then challenges players to choose inventive ideas from their hand of cards. These ideas then become the building blocks of stories. Winning the game involves using card combinations in the most entertaining way — by stringing disparate ideas together into a cohesive story.

The game aims to inspire imagination, lift literacy and foster a love for writing. It acts as a ‘safety net’ for struggling learners, and also challenges more accomplished students. It is a tool for getting started, and kicking off with ideas — widely considered the hardest obstacle to overcome in writing. What’s more, it’s fun and desirable to play again and again. 

Over 200 cards, in four themed packs, were co-designed with input from students. Each theme presents a unique challenge.

Into the Danger Zone!
Stories of action, bravery, fast cars, superheroes, quests and missions. Better bring a change of underpants. Things are about to get real.

Adventures in Space and Time
Do you want to write about life in other times? Get out your exercise book, step out of the past, into the future, and beyond!

Best. Day. Ever.
This set of cards turns your ordinary days into extraordinary ones. Open this deck and unlock stories about home, whanau, celebrations and romance, and the occasional fart joke.

Just the Facts
Time for some straight talking. Write about sports stars, dinosaurs, politicians and other strange and curious beasts. Open this pack and get starters for compelling non-fiction writing. 

Published under Creative Commons license by the Ministry of Education, the game is distributed free to schools, and can be adapted and remixed. There are many ways to play the game, beyond the basics. As a result, more students reading and writing creatively in schools across the country. We reckon that’s awesome.

Play it if you dare...

Ordering the game:
The game is available free to schools. Teachers visit Down the Back of the Chair to order your copy. The game is not available for purchase commercially, however, a DIY version can be downloaded for free, and printed from PDFs. Visit http://awesome.tki.org.nz for your copy.

Co-designers and collaborators:
The ideas on the cards were developed with groups of boys from Te Aro School (Wellington) and St. Patrick’s College (Wellington). Special thanks to the teachers of Newtown, Houghton Valley, Korokoro and Kilbirnie Schools who helped with the design of the game.

Our team of pedagogical experts, game and visual designers worked very closely to bring the game to life. Thanks in particular to our valued partners Gavin Mouldey (illustration) and Evaluation Associates (Educational expertise).

Design and writing team:
Robert Whitaker, Aaron McKirdy, Morgan Davie, Nic Gorman, Dave Turnbull

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