City Pets is a card game linked to the IN-HABIT project. It created for one of the project’s pilot cities, Lucca, and was developed around the theme of the relationship between humans and animals. It is a serious game – a game that aims to entertain but also to explain the central themes of the IN-HABIT project – and is the result of the collaboration between two IN-HABIT partners: the Department of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Pisa, and Lucca Crea, a company with many years of experience in the Edutainment (Educational + Entertainment) field.
This first version of the game, which was launched on the occasion of the 2022 Verdemura and Lucca Comics & Games events, features man’s best friend as its protagonist and requires the use of a deck made up of 110 cards split into three different categories:
The family cards depict families that the players will have to distribute between the four Lucca neighbourhoods of San Marco, San Concordio, Sant’Allessio, and Centro Storico (the old town). These neighbourhoods were chosen because they differ in terms of services, spaces, and characteristics. The aim of the game is to assign each family a dog card, making sure that the needs of the family’s four-legged friend (need for space, activities, and resources) are best met. For example, a small breed dog will need less space than a larger breed, while some breeds will require more exercise than others. The illustrated family cards also aim to convey messages of integration and inclusion, another central theme of the IN-HABIT project, representing families of different ethnic groups and sexual orientations.
The City Pets game design was curated by Andrea Angiolinofor Lucca CREA between February and March 2021. A professional with over thirty years of experience creating games on commission for entities, institutions, and companies, it is thanks to him that the central themes are communicated and highlighted by the very functioning of the game, following the principle of “learning by playing”, for example:
But how is it possible to learn by playing? As with all games, and specifically educational projects, the messages to be conveyed are highlighted even better if the games are followed by moments of reflection and lessons together with the educators. For example, the project includes activities aimed at primary school classes in the city. Pupils will thus be able to participate in class lessons and events, and in a tournament that lasts throughout the school year and concludes with a final award ceremony at the international Lucca Comics & Games event. In this way, the gamification dynamics activated throughout the project drive healthy competition and a spirit of belonging to the team. Despite this, the IN-HABIT card game is designed in an inclusive way so it’s accessible to all, even casual players.
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