Root of Play - Game Design for Digital Humanists


  • Andy Keenan University of Toronto
  • Matt Bouchard University of Toronto


College courses, video games, game design, game play


Root of Play (stylized as ?play) is a simple card game used to generate game design ideas in a short period of time. This game was designed to meet the needs of a unique classroom – a weeklong intensive summer workshop with students ranging from undergraduates to full professors. The purpose of Root of Play is combining theoretical discussions of games with practical applications of game design. The result is a card game that generates playable games. Using the principle of creativity through constraint, Root of Play leads students from brainstorming to playable prototypes. The game is suitable for all levels of gamers, from novices to game designers. Cards provide prompts and frameworks for players to make simple games and test out different development ideas. Currently, the game is utilized at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria, BC, Canada. 






Tool Box