Jiayi Liu

Service Design
UI&UX Design
Digital Badge
Digital Badge
Online Activity
Board Game




Board puzzle game

Duration : 12 weeks
Date : Jan. 2020 - Apr. 2020
Type : Personal work

Break is a puzzle game that sets the scene in a fictitious Chinese Suzhou Garden, Qi Garden. This game poses questions such as how to represent a culture by design, how to explore a place through the creation of an experience, and how design or craft can help break people away from day-to-day pressures.


For thousands of years, in Chinese culture and philosophy, reclusion — removing oneself from society — has been considered ideal for mental cultivation and transcending worldly troubles.

- Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, by Li Shida -

However, reclusion means being alone, and staying by oneself sometimes equals loneliness. How to balance the wish of escaping from dilemma and lonely experience? To deal with this problem, Chinese gardens were built.
The gardens were designed to mimic the natural environment for reclusion; simultaneously, the locations were still in the urban life circle. Wild scenes in gardens relieve daily pressures, and people in gardens bring togetherness.

Field Trip

Observation 1 
Different gardens are similar. Each garden is a new combination of identical elements. By rearranging them with a particular design, a new garden is created.

Observation 2 
Except for natural elements, artificialities complete the scenes in gardens. Suzhou Gardens are famous for unique ornamental windows.

Observation 3 
People were relaxed while in gardens, no matter with family or with friends, or by themselves.  

Experiment: Playing Cards

Digital illustrations of common elements in Suzhou Gardens and printed on a set of playing cards. This set of cards is designed to inspire players to learn the aesthetics of Suzhou Gardens and a medium for people to have fun together.



What kind of experience are users looking for?
According to the feedback, players are paying more attention to the game instead of experiencing the culture of Suzhou Garden, which is another primary purpose of this game except relaxing. Thus, further development should be processed for two goals:
        1. leave users/players with deeper impressions of Suzhou Garden culture
        2. enhance the gaming experience

Final Idea

The final output is presented as a game. Its name is Break, which is the component of the phrase “take a break”, to represent that this game is for players to relax and release themselves from daily pressures.

1. Box

The box functions as a container for the props of the game set. The patterns covering the surface and the translucent acrylic texture are inspired by the windows in Suzhou Gardens. 

2. intro card

The intro card indicates the game rule, both through the words on the card and the shape/intrigue of the card. 

 The words are bilingual. One side is in Chinese, and the other side is in English. 

3. booklet

The booklet provides clues for passing each level in the game.

4. map

The map is the core of the game. It illustrated the scene of a fictional Suzhou Garden.

5. reward

The reward is a desktop ornament. The 3 layers of laser-cut line drawings on translucent acrylic sheets compose a scene that mimics the looming effect. Players could change the order of displacement depending on their preferences to form different scenes.

6. how to play

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