Comic Turns

Best IG Game of the Year (BIGGY): 

Nominated

Best Cross-Curriculum Game Award: 

Nominated

UK Games Expo Players Choice Award: 

Nominated

Number of players: 

1-6

Game duration: 

5-20mins

Country of origin: 

United Kingdom

Created by: 

Published by: 

Distributed by: 

Comic Turns is a comics storytelling game system – a deck of cards where each has a comic panel all carefully designed so that they can be arranged in any order to make countless new comic strips and infinite stories. The panel art is simple and iconic so that there are multiple interpretations to each card.

Comic Turns is an extremely versatile and fun game, with four different ways to play included in the deck: A warm-up activity to get the creative juices flowing, two collaborative games, and a competitive game.  But this is not the end: players are encouraged to make up their own ways to play and submit ideas to the website. It makes a great party or family game as well as an educational tool; not just for making comics and creative writing, but for literacy, language learning, exploring emotions and expressing ideas.

Gameplay is mainly turn based, with players choosing cards from their hand to progress or change a shared story, narrating their creations as they go.

Comic Turns is a comics storytelling card game system. Each card in the deck features a different comic panel. Arrange them in any order to create countless comic strip stories. Collaborate or compete with friends and family, and get creative! Players choose cards to build comic strip stories, working collaboratively, competitively or solo. The object of the game is to make great stories!

The more imagination you can bring the better! If that character died earlier in the story and you have to bring him back is this his clone, a robot, an alien replacement, a zombie?!

When playing the competitive version – read the room: Think about what your friends would find the funniest or most interesting story to make sure they vote for you!

Comic Turns contains no words, meaning it can be played anywhere with speakers of any language, as well as being accessible for children and adults with low literacy or difficulty reading. The artwork has high contrast (dark blue/white) and low detail making it easy to see and completely colour-blind friendly. Comic Turns can optionally also be played entirely non-verbally.

  • Co-operative, Competitive or Solo
  • Subjective
  • Language Independent
  • Storytelling
  • Imagination-Led
  • Portable and Accessible

Skills that can be developed include:

Learning about story structure and how narrative works – creating a story structure in pictures before beginning writing can be really helpful to see the “big picture”.

Narrating your comic strip and choosing the names for the characters, explaining their relationships and what is happening can build confidence in speaking aloud and listening.

Interpreting the ambiguous panels, and thinking of how the meaning changes in different contexts exercises the imagination.

Working as a team to create together builds the skills of improvisation and collaboration, learning to say “yes, and...”

Playing a social game with no pressure to win helps to create bonds and nurture friendships.

Playing Comic Turns or using it as a learning exercise helps to understand how comic strips work: how they communicate stories, jokes, and how a sense of character and time is created.

Comic Turns can also be used to help those with low literacy/language skills and also children with SEN, particularly learning disabilities or autism, express themselves and their creativity in images.

The cards can be used to discuss issues and feelings with children with SEN – parents and teachers of children with autism have told me anecdotally that they are using Comic Turns for this and that it is useful, although I would like to get more data before making recommendations on usage with specific conditions.

Comic Turns can be used for learning a different language using the panel cards as prompts.

The comic strips created can be used as a starting base for drawing and comic-making activities.

Comic Turns can be used as prompts for writing or drama improvisation activities.

 

One of Comic Turns early enthusiasts, Eric, was really keen to try out the print and play version before the game was released, with his daughter Olivia who has Autism, and found that Comic Turns helped with her development in different ways. “Even being literal as she is, she started to not only accept but create different interpretations of each picture (trust me, it is a HUGE step for her)”

Eric was very keen to spread the word to other parents of children with Autism and to Olivia's school. I asked him how things were going now.

"My daughter Olivia is on the ASD spectrum. We moved home and school at the start of her P5 year. At the same time we had the chance to try the game Comic Turns by Karen Rubins at home and at school with her Teacher and PSA. The game, in its wonderful simplicity, really helps Olivia to manage her Autism and help her PSAs and Teacher get a better understanding of her struggles. Now in P6, Olivia has a copy of Comic Turns in her tray at school and uses it not just for her Autism, but also to make new friends. And she has made a lot of friends, in part thanks to this little game."