unhappy campers: concept
Game design, Product design, Branding, Print
The front and back packaging stickers designed for Unhappy Campers' packaging.
The wilderness survival game's story.
Unhappy Campers is a game I created that functions as both a family card and board game. Three players take on the role of campers who are trapped in the middle of Nowhere Forest after a storm strikes. Each camper must fend for themselves before the hungry grizzly bears attack. It is a very hands-on game, as players build their own personal board games as they go and collect supplies.
Besides making sure the game’s core mechanics worked, the greatest challenge was making sure players could be fully immersed with the game’s camping diegesis. Thus, this is is where creating a solid visual identity is very important. I wanted to have simple, clean, and fun visuals that enhanced the player’s experience as stranded campers.
Snapshots of Unhappy Campers' game-making process from paper prototype to alpha stage to beta stage, before the final goldmaster stage.
Constant refinement was the key throughout the entire game-making process. I took into account critiques that I received from playtesting sessions I conducted throughout the four design development stages I went through.
Before I started aestheticizing the game, I did a lot of prior research on camping gear and forest environments in order to re-create a believable experience for players. I chose the best items that I could digitally design artwork of. Materials were another aspect that needed to be considered. Instead of doing a standard box for the packaging, I settled on an unconventional one. I used a Tyvek-insulated lunch bag, which is made out of waterproof paper. This allows for durability if this game were to be mass-produced. The paper bag goes with the overall camping diegesis of the game. I designed clean stickers to function as part of the package branding on the front and the back of the paper bag with artwork used on the playing cards.
The color palette chosen is one that conveys energy, while keeping with colors people associate with forests and the outdoors. Yellow and orange bring energy, whereas, green, blue, and brown are characteristic colors in forests.
Artwork for Supply cards, Event cards, and Camper markers
The grizzly bear I designed became the main mascot of the game’s branding because it plays a central role in the entire game. I used the typeface Mouse Memoirs for all game components because of its fun personality and animated look that would best engage family-friendly players.
As for the game’s artwork, I came up with imageries that would best represent each card in the Event and Supply card deck. For example, the Thief Event card has an image of a black eye mask that burglars are classically depicted to wear. The player markers are special because I decided that each camper could play as one of the three hiking backpacks to represent themselves moving through the game. The hiking backpack ties into the gear campers usually bring with them on camping trips.
One of the other challenges was to simplify the rules into components that would be easy on the eye to read and comprehend. Based off of a map’s layout, I created a rule set that utilized the artwork I had previously made for the game components and expanded upon it. The rules are broken down into separate sections on the map with clear visual cues to game pieces.
Ultimately, Unhappy Campers is a fully functional game ready to be played and sold!