Storydice – UX Games

One metaphor for good experience design is the impeccable host. One who greets guests, anticipates their likes/dislikes, prepares a menu of intriguing items that will be devoured (or worst case, tolerated), introduces people, stokes conversation, curates some amusements, and then caps the evening off with a nice treat.

This summer I had the privilege of creating a course from scratch, one that I dubbed Spacetime UX. I went a bit meta–I remembered this fictitious, Martha Stewart-esque host metaphor–and I knew that I would have to end the course with some type of a takeaway. A class souvenir! Since we often went analog in class, and invented and played a lot, this souvenir of course would have to hit the same notes.

Then I remembered Storycubes. Though they are intended for children, I always thought there should be a UX design version–something that helps us boring, regimented adults exercise our improv, flash fiction and scenario building muscles.

So building off this and in the spirit of rapid ideation, I whipped together a blank set for each student in my class. I dubbed these Storydice (not terribly creative, I know).

Making a set of UX Storydice

If you’d like to make your own Storydice, here’s what you will need:

7 blank dice (I found wood ones but you could also make your own from cardstock, or even something fancier like polymer clay)

7 themes (1 for each dice)

If you want to keep your themes pretty open-ended you might use:

  • Character
  • User Goal/Task
  • Setting
  • Device/Platform
  • Emotions/Feelings
  • Action
  • Wild Card

Though if your work is in a more specific domain, or if you’re trying to solve a particular design problem, I imagine you could narrow your themes down. You could also include some icons that are more abstract/vague that are open for interpretation. And of course you’ll want to include a few silly ones to keep things fun.

What to do:

First you will want to populate your dice with symbols for each of your dice’s themes. I would recommend a simple icon rather than a word. For example, for  “Setting” you could draw recognizable icons for:


  • Forest
  • Hospital
  • Home
  • Subway
  • Airplane
  • Amusement Park

How To Play:

After each facet has an icon, you’re ready to roll (literally!) You simply take all of the dice and toss them. Each symbol may be used as a prompt to help create a story–basically it’s a story constraint. See how many prompts you can include and still tell a cohesive story. If you’re with a group, see how many different stories you can tell with the same prompts. Experiment with telling a silly story and a serious one with the same prompts.

If you make interesting variations, or do something fun with your Storydice, please let me know!

If you’re making a blank set as a gift, download instructions herestorydice-instructions-web



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