Making participation playful

We support the third-sector, local authorities and housing associations to create practical and accessible social games that inspire people to explore challenging issues for themselves, ignite dialogue, build empathy and stimulate practical action.


Two ways we can support you


One-off playful activities

We’ll work with you to create one-off social games that slot into your existing efforts and help build capacity in areas such as civic engagement, social action and relationship building. We take an evidence-based approach to every game we create, which ensures players take the lead in exploring issues and making change for themselves.

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People-led playful programmes

We’ll work with you to create a programme of social games that motivate people to explore and act on social problems, such as isolation; bias and discrimination; or community division. To do this, we work cooperatively to convene credible partners and ensure we attract funding and support for the work. Our aim is to make lasting impact.

How social games can help


Ownership and openness

Games open up spaces and put people in the lead, igniting responsiveness to new possibilities.


Creates connections

Thoughtfully designed games alter and strengthen the relationships between people playing.


Provides permission

Games put social roles aside so people say and do what they normally wouldn’t.


Challenges perspectives

Playful narratives can foster empathy, helping players understand the perspectives of others.


Shifts mindsets

Experiencing other people’s perspectives in gameplay challenges negative imaginations and help to shift mindsets.


Lasting impact

The positive benefits of playful participation can extend beyond gameplay into the real world.

Working with MadeByPlay changed how we designed our two-year programme, aimed at boosting empathy and increasing community cohesion. The social games approach helped people feel a sense of ownership and place, they engaged people in a fun way we hadn’t seen before.
— Historypin CIC

Case studies

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Boosting empathy in communities across the UK and USA

Storybox is a multiplayer story sharing game designed with 40 community organisations to stimulate understanding and empathy between groups of people who’ve never met.

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Activating civic participation and community decision-making

Cove Conversations is a long-form series of games designed with a local authority to activate civic participation and foster collective ownership over local issues amongst residents.

Games we’re play-testing with communities

Playful reflection & cooperation

Race to Space is an adaptation of a familiar board game, designed to strengthen relationships between young people enrolled in a personal development programme. The game stimulates players to share life experiences, reflect on their meaning and cooperate in order to win. We’re play-testing this game right now - contact us to get involved.

Connecting strangers

Glimpse is a multiplayer card game designed for players who’ve never met to view things from each other’s perspective and find commonalities between experiences. It’s the first game in a programme of playful activities we’re developing with a housing association, to support their resident engagement activities.

Interested in how we can work together?