Re-imagining games that use the ‘roll and move’ mechanic to work in zero gravity environments.
Play helps alleviate stress, nurtures creativity, and promotes collaboration – factors that are essential for maintaining mental and emotional well-being, particularly in isolated conditions. I want to explore how board games could be re-imagined for use in zero-gravity environments.
In spaceships, board games are currently tethered to a fixed point with velcro or magnets, and players float freely in various directions. These games continue to utilize a sense of gravity for their mechanics, even though players are suspended in a weightless environment.
But what if these games were designed to defy gravity?
Why are games so important in the context of space missions?
“They allow for the ability to detach from the seriousness and monotony of being trapped in a potentially dangerous workplace environment. They allow crew members to engage with each other socially, free of making a mistake that could damage the space station or ruin a complex scientific experiment.”
-Gary Bevan, Chief of Aerospace Psychiatry at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
This game features a spherical or cubic "playing field," depending on the specific game, equipped with a grid of silicone buttons emulating the tiles found on a conventional board game. Beneath each of these tiles are lights that activate upon button presses.
To determine their move, players activate the same number of tiles as indicated on the dice. The dice itself would levitate within a cylindrical device with electromagnets on its ends. When the player activates this device, the dice would become stationary, simulating the roll of a regular dice.