Values-based Transformative Games: From the Physical to the Digital


  • Khushbu Tilvawala University of Auckland
  • Michael Myers University of Auckland
  • Ton Spil University of Twente
  • David Sundaram University of Auckland



Values, transformative games, young, serious games, sustainability, game design


In the context of game-based learning, learning is often limited to basic literacies such as math and reading, even though several educational institutions acknowledge the importance of Values education. In this paper, we discuss how to bring values into a game. We discuss the design and implementation of a customisable version of the popular board game, Snakes and Ladders to teach values to the young (ages 0-8). Values refer to “a centrally held, enduring belief which guides actions and judgements across specific situations…”. This implies that there is an inherent element of choice or decision-making in demonstrating one’s values. We discuss the process of adapting the Snakes and Ladders board game to a physical artefact by applying a Values-based Transformative Games Design Model, and further digitizing the artefact to make it more accessible. A prototype of the digital artefact is presented to demonstrate the concept. The Insider Action Game Design Research methodology is applied to create a physical artefact given the researcher’s involvement in volunteer work on values-based education for the young. The findings of this research are of immediate benefit to those wishing to introduce a digitized version of a simple and popular board game to teach values to young children. The values-based questions used in the game are easy to adapt so the game has the potential to be extended to various other basic literacies, as well as different types of values such as sustainability and cultural values. The Values-based Transformative Games design model can also be adapted and improved with further research.

Author Biographies

Khushbu Tilvawala, University of Auckland

Khushbu Tilvawala is a PhD student and Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland Business School. Her aspirations involve designing and creating tools to bring about positive changes in individuals, families, organizations, and ultimately society. She aims to achieve these through her research and teaching activities.

Michael Myers, University of Auckland

Michael D Myers is Professor of Information Systems at the University of Auckland Business School, Auckland, New Zealand. He is a Fellow and LEO award winner of the Association for Information Systems. Michael currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of European Journal of Information Systems.

Ton Spil, University of Twente

Ton Spil teaches in the area of Business Information Systems. He is track chair on e-health in main conferences and published on ISI A level. In 2021 his main topics are adoption of IT, business modelling, serious gaming and digital strategies applied on (tele)health, music, and banking.

David Sundaram, University of Auckland

David Sundaram is an engineer by background, a teacher, researcher, and consultant by profession, and a lifelong student. His primary research interests are in the modelling, design and implementation of sustainable adaptive intelligent systems that are flexible and evolvable and support informational, decisional, knowledge and collaboration needs of individuals, organisations and society.