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New Name, New Game

Feb 2024

Game Designer

An unfolding zine-based game that invites players to draw, edit, change, adopt, negotiate, accept and co-create a new name.

New Name, New Game is an unfolding zine-based game that invites players to draw, edit, change, adopt, negotiate, accept and co-create a new name—a persona that they must ultimately embody. By playfully reimagining their identities, the game invites reflection on the meaning and value that names carry in the hopes of generating empathy.

This game was developed during the Kinaesthetic Time Capsule workshop hosted by Chris Solarski / Solarski Studio in collaboration with the EyeMyth Festival, Unbox Cultural Futures and Pro Helvetia New Delhi.

Across different rounds, players are invited to share the stories behind their names with other strangers, as well as draw, edit, change, adopt, negotiate, accept and co-create a new name for themselves which they embody at the end of the game. In India, our names lay ground for unity and for division, for empathy and for violence. By inviting players to playfully reimagine their identities with these new names, the game invites you to consider all that we carry in our names.

The idea for this game is inspired by the derived importance of names in Indian society, and how our names function as social and informational cues to our background, religion, region, language and many other socio-cultural aspects of our identity. The fact that our society is united (and at the same time, divided) by names and the identities they carry within is a critical issue. At the same time, our name is the starting point of a conversation with a stranger. This game intends to offer a playful, almost irreverent approach to getting to know each other’s names and the stories that come with it. The game also asks you to take up a new name, one perhaps markedly different from the one you have, and speculate about the identity and life of someone with this name.

Read more about the Kinaesthetic Story Capsules game design workshop by Chris Solarski held in New Delhi in February 2024.


Over two and a half days at Chris' workshop, I spent time deconstructing the language of a game, from diving into the history of chess to exploring the synesthesia of a simple pen-and-paper game. With me were game designers, storytellers and artists from multiple disciplines and countries, each of us fascinated by the immense possibilities in play (literally - a slight rule change could unlock a completely different beast!)

We also had a chance to rapidly prototype a game, which we then presented at the Eyemyth Festival that brought together technology, games and art under one roof. The game I came up with, inspired by the humble tippy-tippy-tap we used to play as kids, looks at our names as a starting point for social relations.

Game Elements

Objective: To get to know each other, the stories behind our names, and walk away with a new name.

Players: 2 to 6 players (best suited for 3 players)

Game Components: Main Playing Sheet, Table / Flat Surface, Pen(s), 1 x Dice,
smaller sheets for making notes

How To Play

One by one the players start unfolding the sheet and responding to the prompts written. In Round 1, the players go around the table and get to know each other’s names and the meanings behind their names. In Round 2, they choose one question and ask the other players to respond. In Round 3, they are given 10 seconds to choose one drawing prompt and draw their name in response to that. In Round 4, they start at Square 1 on top left, roll a dice and try to reach the end of the board all the while responding, sharing, acting and doing the prompts written about their name. In the final Round 5, they have a 1-minute conversation using the new names they have arrived at and then, to end the game, they sign the sheet using their new names.

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