Client: English Heritage
Made with Holly Gramazio as part of our work with Matheson Marcault
Goodrich Castle is an amazing place – a set of walls and towers and castle fragments that Wordsworth considered the “noblest ruin in Herefordshire”, now cared for by English Heritage.
And in Summer 2018, we made a game for English Heritage to run as part of the castle’s on-site family interpretation. If you visit, you can check it out for free from the visitor centre – something to play while you walk around and explore.
It’s a card game for families and groups to play as they explore the castle that draws on the real history of the castle, and the people who were there around 1296 and 1297 – from countesses to clerks and coachmen. We put together a small team of specialists capable of of both beautiful work and rigorous historical accuracy, including researcher Sarah Cole, writer Iván Gonzalez and illustrator Ilaria Urbinati.
The game itself is very simple to play – part of our aim was that people should be able to pick up the rules quickly, and not have to make a special effort to learn. It needed to be possible for either adults or children to drive gameplay, and had to fit in with the physicality of clambering around a ruined castle, which affected the design structure.
At different places in the castle, one player – often a parent – picks a person who lived in the castle and reads out a description of them from a little wire-bound set of illustrations. Then they read out a sentence, something that that person might have said…
Everyone else races through their bundle of cards to find a good way to end the sentence. There’s no single “correct” answer – instead, players can choose between trying to get it right, and just being funny. It’s a format that takes inspiration from flipbooks, Consequences and card games like Apples to Apples, and it’s situated in the real-life castle where those people lived over 800 years ago.