This page contains a series of reports and extended conference paper abstracts on the progress and findings of the Play to Grow project.


Issue No. 1 November 2013


This report focuses on the preliminary work begun as part of the UnBox Fellowship and introduces the research to be undertaken with the follow on funding.

Issue No. 2 January 2014


This report focuses on the new game prototype developed at a workshop at IIT Bombay in November 2013.

Issue No. 3 July 2014


This final report focuses on the development and findings of the project in its final stage including playtest evaluations and the development of a digital prototype.


‘Sustaining Stories: Story in games for social impact’, Storystorm Workshop, ACM Design of Interaction Systems Conference, 21-25 June, Vancouver, 2014.

Storying in games can effectively promote pro-social purposes by bringing complex systems, social issues, cultural knowledge and practices to life. This paper considers a case study of the game ‘Bumper Crop’ developed in a specific socio-cultural context with small farmers in India aimed at communicating the real life issues and challenges they face, along with those of rural development and maintenance of sustainable agricultural practices. In particular, it will discuss the way that stories operate within the game and in social impact games in general and how they are an effective mediated environment for knowledge integration and identification.


‘Expanding Minds and Narrowing Divides in India through Gamivism’, Videogame Cultures & the Future of Interactive Entertainment 6th Global Conference,, 17-19 July, Oxford, 2014.

The board game Bumper Crop was designed and its social impact tested as part of the Play to Grow project to explore what game design properties and mechanisms are most effective in promoting change-related agendas. Bumper Crop was designed for both physical and digital platforms, to engage young urban adults in complexities of rural development, agricultural practices and issues facing farmers in India. The project involved a partnership with Digital Green, a non-profit and charitable organisation helping small and marginal farmers in both India and low- income African countries to share best practices with their communities through creating and sharing videos. Combining real life content with serious play, Bumper Crop was designed through a participatory and human-centred design approach with field visits, dialogues and play tests with farmers working with Digital Green in the region of Madhya Pradesh, and with young urban adults in Mumbai. Contrary to expectations, initial evaluation results revealed that the game’s original purpose of generating empathy for farmers was not realised amongst the available pool of samples. Surprisingly, however, it did serve as an effective tool for peer-to- peer learning between farmers themselves, bringing the game back to Digital Green’s core business of creating platforms for sharing of expert knowledge.