Stranger Things boardgame for Jodi Leo's Interaction Design class, Fall 2017—a boardgame created in collaboration with Ishaan Bose Verma which translates the digital experience of watching the Netflix series to an analog game, with gameplay akin to Dungeons and Dragons.
"Welcome to Hawkins, Indiana. On the surface, this small town is just like any other. Friends go to school and play, parents squabble and work. Will, Mike, and their friends never pass up a Dungeons and Dragons quest, and not much else ever happens. But under the surface, a government conspiracy is turning Hawkins upside down!"—Stranger Things Manual
"Players are split into 2 teams—Good and Evil. The Good players work together and support each other, and the Evil players can work together, or work on their own. Players play through 3 Chapters in order to either close the Gate, or keep it open. It’s recommended to play with a Gamekeeper, who can keep track of the rules listed in the manual. If Mike is an active player, he is the Gamekeeper. If not, Will is the Gamekeeper.
To begin the game, place each active player token on its respective board space (see player origins in the player table on page 14).
Players must be assigned in order (Eleven, Will, Demogorgon, Brenner, Mind Flayer, Hopper, and Mike). The game can be played with 4–8 players. The primary players are Eleven, Will, the Demogorgon, and Brenner. If there are 5 or more players, the remaining secondary players are assigned in order. To determine player assignments, each person roles the die. Whoever rolled the highest number is assigned that player, then the other players are assigned in order."—Stranger Things Manual
The players try to win each Chapter with player-specific tokens. Health, energy, transport, and tool tokens enable each player to operate within the game. Certain tokens can be attached to the board magnetically to affect the gameplay.
The board segments can be rotated so that players can travel between Hawkins and the Upside Down. Moving the slider engages an internal rack-and-pinion gear system, which rotates the board segments. Players can play on either side of the board, since all of the pieces are magnetic.
General tokens can be used by members of either team, especially during Chapter 3.
Custom, pixelated renditions of the fonts used in the Stranger Things title sequence were used for the board, game pieces, and manual.
The game went through many play tests to refine the gameplay and rules so that the players' experience would be fun, somewhat challenging, and reminiscent of the experience of watching the series.
The graphics for the board, tokens, and other game pieces were plotter-printed on glossy paper. They were then cut and applied to chipboard, which had laser cutouts for magnets, or areas where strips of steel were embedded.