RazzyFarm was part of a course in CMU called Deliberate Design. It was as refreshing as it was intense. Professor Haakon Faste led the course teaching us to think outside the box, to think of design as addressing more than just a person with a screen. Through this project, we designed a multi-player table-top RPG that educated people about the pressures and challenges faced by small local farms while still being fun.

Our Design Process:

  • Carried out two rounds of concept generation, brainstorming and narrowing down before settling on the effects of different factors on small farm owners as a focus
  • Researched factory farming - how it works, what impact it has, and how this impact actually reaches different social circles and communities
  • Identified external players that influence small local farms and the powers and driving forces of each player
  • Settled on building a multi-player table top RPG with a strong social dynamic
  • Conducted three rounds of play testing with different levels of fidelity, tweaking social factors with each round. We aimed achieve a good level of entertainment while still being accurate and educational
  • Designed and developed rules for a game that we watched people play for 45 minutes without a quiet moment. People made decisions that made them feel extremely guilty, and they learned things
  • Added one traitor, who was a small farm owner partnering up with a factory farm to influence local farmers. This introduced a great dynamic, and kept people guessing

Lessons that made me a better designer:

  • There is a fine line between simplifying and dumbing down, and it's a very important line to identify
  • The user is never a lone entity. Social and environmental factors sometimes make all the difference
  • When designing for a specific domain, it is important to address people with varying levels of knowledge about the topic


Social Reach vs Environmental Factor matrix that helped us identify our focus

Play testing with a paper prototype of the final game to identify roadblocks and opportunities to improve social dynamics

Final game including round cards, turn cards, score cards, currency and instructions