Exeter University

Working with the Evidence Synthesis Team

“It was an absolute delight to work with Matt who was able to take our vague ideas and turn them into something way beyond out expectations.”

Dr Jo Thompson-Coon PhD, BSc, Director of the Evidence Synthesis Team

Evidence Synthesis Team, University of Exeter Medical School

IPG was approached by the project lead, Professor of Evidence Synthesis & Health Policy and the Director of the Evidence Synthesis Team at the University of Exeter Medical School with, a simple question…

“Can you make us a board game?”

We then embarked on an exciting journey to develop a physical board game to accompany their paper, ‘How do “robopets” impact the health and well-being of residents in care homes? A systematic review of qualitative and quantitative evidence.’

Design Process

Working with the whole team, we created a game based on the traditional snakes and ladders board game to include key points and content from their paper.

The idea was to come up with an inventive way to deliver the knowledge acquired in their research. A game that could be used in care homes, aimed at senior managers and staff, to educate all on their findings.


A decision was made early on to use hand drawn illustrations in coloured pencil. This was a visual tool used to create a sense of fun and a style that was approachable.

The game play was to operate like a standard snakes and ladders game, with the information being delivered by sets of cards that players would read when they land on particular points of the board.

Information Cards:


Providing information on positive interactions with pets in care homes


Delivering evidence of negative interactions with pets in care homes


Giving examples of positive interactions with Robopets in care homes

Compiling the Content

By creating sets of cards that delivered the information we were able to leave more room on the board for artwork and the ‘game play’ experience.

A pack of cards for each category was made to sit on a specific area of the board, allowing the player counters space to travel along the board.

Additional content from the original paper was added to the board at ‘Ladder’ and ‘Snake’ points; ladders offering a positive point, and snakes a negative one.

Characters: A set of animal characters were created for the player counters

… And So ‘Pet Purrsuit’ Was Born

IPG supplied the client with a physical board game including a foldable board, three sets of game cards, counters, dice and a fully printed game box with separate instructions card.

The team then delivered the game to a number of care homes to trial the playability within the intended environment.

“Pet Purrsuits has provided us with a really fun way to share our research with care home staff.”

Dr Jo Thompson-Coon PhD, BSc, Director of the Evidence Synthesis Team

Accolades & Awards

The response and feedback was really positive and the team were encouraged to enter the game into the SRA (Social Research Association) annual research competition at the Royal College of Physicians in London… which we won!

Awarded – the ‘Peoples Choice’ award at the SRA Annual Conference Research Gallery 2019.

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