Exergame Generator

Games benefit from at least a grain of play. So I designed a game for designing exergames with experts.

I turned the design workshop with 4 physiotherapists into a design an exergame game; my Exergame Generator.

It is a board game designed to design exergames while iteratively exploring the playful qualities of a set of specific physical movements and exercises.

It is developed for expert involvement in the design process. In this case physiotherapists working in the field of balance training for elderly people.


In the case of developing games for specific (professional) purposes, getting information – and the right information, from experts is important. However, the process of doing so is not necessarily very playful.

Description, Rules and Gameplay:

This game is a design exergames game. It is designed for active expert involvement in the design of exergames. The objective for the game is to work with specific physical exercises aimed at balance training for elderly people.

The game is played in two separate parts. Part one must be played first, and then part two.

In Part One the aim is to create 5 game elements each person. For each element, the player gets an avatar “body part”. To continue to Part Two a player must have a whole avatar body.

In Part Two the players explore the game elements from part one while taking care of the avatar. As the players progress through the game board path, they are step by step designing an exergame. By defining the kind of game, matching and adjusting game elements, and finally adding rules for advancements, the players will end up with an exergame.

Note: If more people are using the same objects, try to either find a substitute for the object, chose another object and, if necessary, change the game element accordingly, or make a mutual agreement of use of the object.

If a player gets stuck or lacks inspiration, it is recommended (and quite wise) to get help by drawing a tips card as many times throughout the game as needed. There are corresponding tips cards for part one and part two.

Materials needed:

Exercise cards

The exercises or movements you want to work with. In this case specific balance training exercises for elderly people. Create at least 30 different exercise cards.


A pool of objects you find suitable for your players to work with. The objects might represent technologies, game pieces, or thematically fit with your project; training accessories, kitchen equipment etc.

Story cards

Cards with images or words on them. Serves as inspiration to create a game universe; story, purpose, and or feel of the game.


Game type cards

These games are based on your players’ game preferences and should be as simple as (this is an example of a rescue game): Your game is about rescuing _______ from _________.

Part One:

In pairs, you will start by creating game elements. A game element is a new version of an exercise (from the exercise card) in combination with the use of an object (from the object pool). Take turns doing this sequence (the other person assists):

  1. Pick an exercise card
  2. Chose an object from the pool
  3. Combine the exercise from the exercise card with the object creating a new version of the exercise. The exercise should maintain the exercising qualities, and explore a possible play potential or “scenario”. You can tryout various artefacts.
  4. Write the combination/new exercise down on the Game Element Sheet. The exercise card is put on the handout and the object is put back into the pool for other people to reuse it.

The explanation on the handout, the exercise card and the object together make up an element. Repeat the sequence 5 times resulting in 5 elements each (10 in total).

Put all handouts on the wall for the others to see them.

Before starting part two of the game, spend 10 minutes going through the other group’s elements on the wall. Make sure you have a good overview and understanding of all of them. If not, please ask for explanation. Alternatively, you can also take turns demonstrating the elements to the other group(s).

Transition to Part Two:

Each person draws a “story card”. Form new pairs. In (new) pairs they draw a game type card. Based on thematic inspiration from the story card in combination with a specific game objective from the game type card, they create a simple game concept; a game objective with a theme/universe. Part Two of the game is about creating the procedure for the game concept.

Part Two:

Choose at least 2 elements from the wall. You cannot choose your own elements – but you can choose your partner’s.




Combine your chosen elements to fit with your game concept answering these questions: What actions based on the elements are the players to do in their pursuit of reaching the game’s objective/goal? Do the activities/actions make sense together with your game concept? Particularly for physical games, do they combine into a meaningful sequence of actions leading to the game’s objective? You are allowed to change and exchange your game elements as you wish.



Create rules for player advancement; How will your player advance in the game? Remember no points, badges, leaderboards or stars are allowed 😉




Follow the game board until the game’s objective is reachable. Good questions to keep in mind: What is needed to reach the game’s objective, and how can it be done doing actions from the element?




When the game’s objective is reachable through rules and changing game elements, write down your game in the game document.




Congratulations! You have created an exergame!

  • Optional: Present/play your game to/with the other group. What is it called?