BUDDiBOTS
Game Design & Packaging
September 2020 - April 2021
Indirectly educating children on emotional intelligence through a fun board game. Travel around the board and complete missions in order to collect all four stars! Whilst doing so, develop your emotional vocabulary, get to know your fellow players, and express your emotions all in this fun game.
Awards & Recognitions
RGD 2021 Student Awards
Honourable Mention – Award for Placemaking Design
Emotional Intelligence Education
When researching emotional intelligence education for children, it was found that formal education methods were not effective.

By conducting a survey it was revealed how most young adults recall learning about emotional intelligence through events in their childhood. Buddibots was made to create a fun and memorable environment where children will be able to learn about how to perceive, manage, facilitate and understand different emotions.
Creating the Game
The game was created through understanding the four pillars of ability emotional intelligence (AEI): perceiving, managing, understanding and facilitating. These four pillars were able to translate into the board game through the use of missions that the players had to complete. For example, facial expression guessing games allows players to perceive different types of emotions.

Some missions also include memorable actions such as team cheers and fun nicknames to create a connection between players that last beyond the game. The four pillars were also used when creating the four mascots: Perci, Manni, Stani, and Filli- who all represent a different pillar.
The Subtle Details
Psychology, ergonomics, and playfulness were all considered when constructing the game. Sensory learning is shown through the use of a 3D board and textured play-pieces. The board is also split in half, to be able to fit into the packaging. The two halves can be easily put together by snapping it together like a puzzle piece.

The drawing boards are made to allow children to be creative and to allow children who are more shy to express their emotions through writing or drawings. Overall, Buddibots is a game made to be memorable, educational, and fun for all!
Emotional intelligence education not only deals with how you perceive others, but how you express and understand your own emotions. For these reasons, there are "Solo Missions" included to give players the space to talk about and understand their own emotions. At the end of each round, players have a "Team Mission," which has players work together and build their relationships with one another.
Ready to play?
Duplicate the Figma file, grab your buddies and play online!
Duplicate the Figma File!
But how did I make it?
Click to see the full process & research
The Key Inspirations
The desire to research about emotions to understand my own emotional intelligence
A capstone project to perfect reflect my strengths of playful design
Continued interest and exploration in designing for younger audiences
BUDDiBOTS began with the question: "How might we understand emotional intelligence in young adults in order to develop emotional intelligence education for children?" With this question, I began my research by looking into emotional intelligence and the current emotional intelligence education plan.
Definitions
Emotional Intelligence
Involves perceiving emotions, facilitating thinking, understanding emotions, and managing emotions. Emotional intelligence is an umbrella term that comprises multiple concepts and level of emotional knowledge. Also referred to as EQ.
Trait Emotional Intelligence (TEI)
One out of two ways emotional intelligence is used. TEI is more of an internalized reaction to emotional intelligence, which can incolve understanding your own emotions. TEI is claimed to be a key component to creating successful/problem-solving coping mechanisms.
Ability Emotional Intelligence (AEI)
Speaks on being able to understand what can be done in emotional situation. Is focused on "doing" or externalizing emotional knowledge, and can be broken into four branches of AEI:
Perceiving Detecting emotions though visuals, actions and voices
Facilitating How you can harness emotions to perform cognitive activities
Understanding The ability to comprehend emotions
Managing Being able to regulate emotions for ourselves and others
These four branches later became the main inspiration for the mascots and concept of the final game.
Scholarly & Primary Research
Scholarly Research
Through researching various psychologists who were studying emotional intelligence in children, I was able to gather the following findings:
Emotional stability and intelligence greatly affects children and adolescents in social environments
There are direct correlations between emotional intelligence and mental health
Depression and avoidant coping methods were found in subjects that lacked TEI
Numbers do not necessarily show accurate results when it comes to emotional intelligence levels
Directly educating children on emotional intelligence did not have an effect on their emotional knowledge "scores."
TLDR; this an important subject, however it is difficult to measure and execute.
Primary Research: Young Adult Survey
I conducted primary research through two different surveys. The first survey received over 50 responses and was towards young adults and was studying how they have been exposed to emotional intelligence education as a child, and how it may have affected their emotional levels now. I did this by asking about particular experiences or events they experienced as a child, as well as asking about how they behave and control their emotions presently.

Here is some of my findings:
Most participants did not have any emotional intelligence education as a children, but rather learned about it through events in their lives and/or their own personal research
Surprisingly, my assumptions made about people’s emotional intelligence levels and their childhood experiences were greatly varied. For example, I expected people who were hugged and reassured more as a child to be more willing to open up about their emotions, however answers showed otherwise.
TLDR; this an important subject, however it is difficult to measure and execute.
Primary Research: Parents/Educators Survey
My second survey was towards current parents and teachers to see how they are incorporating emotional intelligence learning for their children/students

Here is some of my findings:
The most common way they are incorporating emotional intelligence learning is through creating safe spaces and providing reliable emotional support systems
Participants said they were interested in lessions plans, exercises, games/toys, and/or informational websites to assist them in teaching their children and/or students about emotional education.
TLDR; this an important subject, however it is difficult to measure and execute.
Creation
From my research, I wanted to create a memorable experience for children to indirectly learn about emotional intelligence.

Let's make a game that:
Creates a fun and safe environment
Allows children to learn about how to perceive, manage, facilitate and understand others AND their own emotions
Helps to deepen friendships between players to continue the welcoming environment past the gameplay.
User-Testing
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to get creative on user testing. I decided to set up a Figma document with the game board, drawing boards, and cards then I invited my friends to play while in a call. Through user testing, I was able to finalize the wording on the instructions and the mission prompts. I was also able to develop the game further through understanding where they might have gotten confused, or where the game rules could be adjusted for better game-play. I conducted user-testing three times, with different groups of people.
The Missions
The highlight of BUDDiBOTS are the missions the players have to complete. To allow players to learn more about themselves and their teammates, the missions are divided on how many players participate in the mission. These include: Solo Missions, Partner Missions, 1 Vs. All Missions, All Player Missions, and Team Missions.
Other cards in the game include Chance Cards and Team Missions. Team Missions are completed at the end of each round to build up teamwork between the players. Chance Cards are used within the game to help players achieve collecting all four stars. Some card missions include "bonus points," where if a player collects 5 bonus points, they can pick up a Chance Card.
The Board
When designing the board, I wanted to take into account of the following details:
Sensory learning
I took into account my own childhood, and how I would enjoy learning through different textures and feelings. I looked into sensory learning, and learned that this is an important part of development for children. For this reason, I stepped away from the traditional flat board, and made a 3D board so children would be able to physically feel the different pathways they can explore in the game.
Easy set-up
Since the 3D board was not able to fold like a typical flat one would, I got creative and made the board into two equal pieces. To put together the board, I created a puzzle pieced pattern on the sizes so that the pieces would easily click together. When in the box, the two halves easily rest on top of each other.
Accessibilitiy
When creating the board and game pieces, I divided the missions and spots on the board into colours. However, I realized that solely relying on colour was not visually accessible. To combat this, I also created unique and easy to see shapes to represent the different missions and board spaces, so there was another layer of association with each different type of mission/card.
Special thanks to
Gabi Schaffzin, for being the best thesis mentor

Glad you enjoyed BUDDiBOTS!
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