Cultivating Transformational Communities

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 5SD318

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Game Design A1F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 3 November 2021
Responsible department
Department of Game Design

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university, and Introduction to Transformative Game Design, 7.5 credits, and Transformative Game Design 1, 7.5 credits. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of Cultivating Transformational Communities, the student should

be able to:

  • Show Knowledge of the Field: Discuss topics, themes, and theories related to building and managing communities featuring transformative analog games with an emphasis on safety and inclusion.
  • Develop Safety Design and Playtesting: Design, experience, iterate, and critique safety and analyze community building practices related to transformative analog role-playing games that have specific growth-related goals.
  • Perform Academic, Professional, and Reflective Writing: Compose written texts and other communication materials on safety practices and community building related to transformative analog games in various formats for distinct audiences.


Building on the work done in previous transformative game design courses (Intro to Transformative Game Design, Transformative Game Design 1 and 2), this course explores the potential of play communities as containers for personal and social change. Students will study various playful spaces and their affordances for exploring identity, creating empowering social systems, and approaching complex problems. This course will examine best practices from leisure, therapeutic, and educational playful communities with an emphasis on establishing and maintaining safety to explore edges for growth. This course will emphasize the importance of intentionality, goal-setting, transparency, agreements, accountability, and responsibility in establishing functional group dynamics.

This course will also emphasize principles of consent, explicitly establishing the social contracts which defines the container around play. Central to this discussion will be issues of social justice, diversity, equity, indusion, and accessibility. The course will emphasize facilitating off-game negotiation, communication, integration, and processing. Students will experience various workshopping, safety, and debriefing techniques. Students will create a safety design and community building plan for their game design project as well as an academic paper.


The course is delivered through group discussions, lectures, and flexibly scheduled group meetings. Curricular materials may include some or all of the following: video-recordings, research artides, popular texts, game design documents, etc. Students will create tangible game design related projects (mainly within analog role-playing games), alone or in teams, and play and test their games. Students will show and critically discuss the results with their peers, the teacher, and other researchers/stakeholders where indicated. Feedback and guidance on writing will be provided throughout the course.


The basis for assessment is the students' active participation in course-related activities, presenting regular progress of agreed-upon deliverables and adhering to deadlines. Moreover, the students should meet regularly with the teacher, following through on directions and conducting themselves professionally throughout the course. Deliverables include oral presentations and written assignments.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Uppsala University does not accept cheating or plagiarism. Suspected incidents of cheating or plagiarism are reported to the Vice-Chancellor, which may issue a formal warning to the student or suspend the student from studies for a certain period.