First Circle: A Perfectly Harmless Card Game

Presenter: Kieran Sheldon

Research Category: Humanities and Arts
College: College of Arts Media & Design
Major(s): Game Design
Student Type: Undergraduate
Graduation Date: 2021
Additional Authors: Kathryn Minor, Beatrice Tolan
Award Winner Category: Design

First Circle is an experimental horror card game. Two to four players delve into the depths of Hell in a cooperative experience that stretches the bounds of tabletop game storytelling. The game incorporates narrative devices inspired by alternate-reality games to extend its story beyond the table and into players’ real lives.

This project began as a three-semester directed study class, before earning a PEAK Summit Award to facilitate the creation of visual assets for the game. Most of First Circle’s development incorporates iterative design methodology, which involves a rapid cycle of prototype production, testing, and refinement. This process has produced a finished first level for the game, supplemented by web fiction. We hope to produce a full physical copy of the game’s first level by the end of the semester, and begin a crowdfunding campaign by the end of the year.