Beyond RISD NAIL Redesign DineTime Sort the Court Brown Hackathon Home Visual Design

Sort the Court

'Sort the Court' is a digital strategy game for a single player. The player can select either to be the king or the queen. 54 character comes for advise with around 275 everyday decisions which would increase or decrease the resources of the player's kingdom. The resources consists of people, happiness, and money. When the player makes a decision by clicking the 'yes' or 'no' button, the values of resources are affected. In the current online version, there is no end to the game. Please click here to play the game!

How can we transform an existing digital game into an analog?

Design Challenge

  • What aspects of the game would stay the same and what would be changed?
  • What are the constraints and the benefits?
  • What would the change in user experience be like?

Design Scope

  • Project Length - 3 Weeks
  • 1 Week (Research + Ideation)
  • 1 Week (Prototype + Usability Testing)
  • 1 Week (Final Prototype)
  • Read Tracy Fullerton's 'Game Design Workshop'
  • How structure of games affect user experience (digital/analog)
  • Engage in a interaction design project that is not website or mobile app

Design Research

Sort the Court Main Screen

Digital Game Formal Elements


  • One Player


  • Construction(maintain game objects) and Exploration(explore problems needed solving)


  • Starting - Choose King/Queen
  • Progression - Click the yes/no Buttons
  • Special - Special visits from outsiders and events
  • Resolving - No ending to game


  • Cannot control how results of yes/no decision
  • Cannot control who pays a visit
  • Cannot predict what inhabitants of kingdom requests
  • Can decide Yes/No
  • Can only play alone


  • Smiley face - Numerical symbol for happiness in kingdom
  • Coin - Numerical symbol of money in kingdom
  • Silhouette - Numerical symbol of number of people in kingdom
  • Unlimited time


  • Obstacles - How to use the resources effectively
  • Dilemmas - How to make a choice when resources are low


  • It is mandatory to rule a kingdom and answer requests
  • It is possible to attach a numerical value to happiness


  • The game never ends

Digital Game Dramatic Elements


  • Player needs to strategize so that resources are not depleted from the Kingdom.


  • Player can decide to say Yes or No whenever and how many time he or she wants.


  • Player is the King or Queen of the Kingdom.


  • There are 54 different characters representing different roles in the Kingdom.


  • Player would empathize with characters. This would engage him/her to hear characters' requests.

Design Ideation

I talked to 4 people who had experiences playing 'Sort the Court' online. Their experience and suggestions helped me decide what formal elements of the game can be changed to improve user experience.
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Sketch 1
2 / 4
Sketch 2
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Sketch 3
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Sketch 4

Analog Game Formal Elements


  • Game is for 2-4 players


  • There are competition and race to have the biggest kingdom to win


  • Players choose cards that would define their default resources
  • Players read from scenario cards and keep them for later
  • Three rows of scenario cards would eliminate players from the game
  • Player with the greatest number of resources altogether wins the game


  • The game ends when scenario cards run out
  • The game ends when all player but one is eliminated
  • The game ends when a player has the most number of resources in total

    Boundaries (Added)

  • It is possible to eliminate another's kingdom and take all the resources

    Rules for players (Added)

  • Cannot change their default resources
  • Can use Resource Reset Card Once
  • Can eliminate a player and take resources with three scenario cards that have same character
  • Can play with up to three other players
  • Player with the most number of default resources begins the game.
  • Players take turns clockwise picking up scenario cards
  • Player must use Reset Card when one of three resources becomes a negative
  • Player can choose to use Reset Card or not if the resource is zero
  • Player must give up other resources the same numerical amount if the required resource by the scenario card is already a negative and the player has already used the reset card. Player preceding current player decides which resource to deplete
  • Player is out of the game if two out of three resources are negative value. The player proceeding next gets to take all the remaining resources

Design Prototype

During the prototyping process, I vectorized 56 characters to design the board. I planned to lasercut the resources so that players can easily stack them. Scenario Cards directly quoted what characters say in the digital game. Visual language such as color was incorporated from the digital version.
First Prototype
56 Characters in Sort the Court



Play Testing Table


Design Reflection

Working on this project for three weeks pushed me to time manage the ideation, prototyping, and user testing phases. This project was not only a design challenge, but a challenge to have a working refined prototype with carefully considered user experience and visual design. Similar to how the different elements on a interface influence each other and are interconnected, different states in a game play the same role.

    I learned the following...

  • Game Design is another great way to learn about User Experience Design.
  • Whether designing a digital user experience or an analog user experience, the critical steps in the making process are alike.
  • Playcentric and user centered approach, play testing and usability testing, and the repeating iteration process is crucial in any game design and user experience project.