Shinyi Kang
Product Design

'Cocoa' incorporates educational elements in its settings and rules, mirroring the realities of cocoa plantations. The game operates on a circular economy, reflecting the challenges faced by cocoa farmers in the real world. It also addresses sustainability issues by presenting sustainable and unsustainable cocoa trees, as well as different types of plots representing deforested and forested areas.

Utilizing wellness hearts to represent family well-being, 'Cocoa' sheds light on the hardships faced by farmers, such as child labor. The pixel art style was chosen for its simplicity, timelessness, and child-friendly appeal, complementing the game's goal to raise awareness among a broad audience. The game box is designed to resemble a chocolate bar, and the website is structured to provide all the digital components needed for gameplay.

Shinyi conducted two rounds of user testing to refine the game, emphasizing its functionality over artistic critiques. The finished version of 'Cocoa' was showcased at the Interactive Media Capstone Exhibition, where it garnered positive feedback from players. Participants expressed frustration when drawing negative cards, found interactive cards entertaining, and some even expressed interest in purchasing the game.

The exhibition setup included two tables and six chairs, creating a homey environment for players. Shinyi also incorporated a poster and chocolate booth, providing additional information about the chocolate industry and posing a moral dilemma to those interested in taking free chocolates. The exhibition allowed for public testing and valuable feedback from players, contributing to the overall success of 'Cocoa, the Farmers of Chocolate.'"

Read more about Cocoa's design process in detail here.

For her capstone, Shinyi Kang designed the physical-digital board game 'Cocoa, the Farmers of Chocolate' to raise awareness about the dark side of the chocolate supply chain system. In the game, players become smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa, tasked with cultivating the plantation, selling cocoa beans, and overcoming challenges associated with poverty, child labor, and deforestation in the cocoa industry.

As the game is designed for 2-3 players, aged 10 and above, with a duration of 15-30 minutes, the objective for players is to survive as smallholder cocoa farmers. Shinyi incorporated a unique combination of physical and digital components, where most parts of the board game are physical, but the card deck is accessible online. This online component allows for the display of interesting facts about the chocolate industry alongside the cards, creating a more immersive and educational experience for players. The online format also enables easy updates to keep the game relevant in the ever-evolving chocolate industry.


See more