Local Brick and Motar

How might we Re-imagine

the  Local Tabletop Game Store

Decentralizing the card game spectator sport

Table Top games

The Challenge:

Redesign a small business strategy to bridge the in-store experience with their digital platforms to increase employee and customer satisfaction.

The Impact:

An Integration of digital services to augment the brick and mortar experience to engage and grow the local and digital community of gamers.

The Skills:

  • Stakeholder Management

  • Community Design

  • Service Design

  • Rapid Prototyping

  • Digital Marketing Strategy

  • Product Development


My Role

I was a part of 2 person company diving into service design and digital content creation that spanned 4 months. I was the principle service designer on the project conducting and distilling user interviews into design specifications. I conducted the extensive contextual inquiry into the sub-genre of tabletop gaming and create new design assets specifically for this industry.


The Overview

The local game store specialized in re-selling individual popular card games such as Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, Dragon Ball Super TGC ,and etc.  The business wanted to engage their local community in person and online differently than the existing competition’s strategy to physically host larger events in the diminishing and aging customer base. This allowed the team to explore opportunity areas in the digital streaming space that was rather untouched by the traditional tabletop gaming industry.

The first prototype event engaging the community with free community focused events.

The first prototype event engaging the community with free community focused events.

The Approach

Our goal was to understand the culture of local competitive tabletop gaming in Georgia to identify gaps that we could fill with new products and services. We framed our research into three dimensions: culture, technology, and business.

The project combined field and secondary research to understand the physical and online retailer experience in the following dimensions:

  • Reframing the customer experience

  • Integrating the community with the culture

  • User-product service system integration

Understanding the Big Picture

During the research phase, we dived into many tools and methods to gather a holistic picture of the local tabletop games industry.

We initially became patrons and observed the store for the first day and identified potential opportunity areas. We then interviewed 75+ Employees and regular patrons in-depth and invited to sessions at the retail store to gather a understanding of the culture within the tabletop gaming context, highlighting common patterns among subcultures of gaming.

Furthermore, we created journey maps of the employees and how they work throughout the day and the week so that we can identify opportunities to improve their experience.

The Discovery

The team researched and designed around the choke point of any small retail store which was their inability to expand physically quickly to house larger events than their competitors and reimagined how to grow their community with technology integration.

The first regional game event held at the brick and mortar new space

The first regional game event held at the brick and mortar new space

A live streaming rig created specifically for tabletop gaming with modular components

A live streaming rig created specifically for tabletop gaming with modular components

Concept Development

Based on the insights we identified two opportunity areas to tackle:

Reframing the Space

Instead of focusing on selling merchandise and products, we created a welcoming environment that reminded the patrons of their best friend’s living room where playing is encouraged. The employees became game specialist where they will host games and even introduce new games for patrons to test.  This allowed for patrons to slowly ease into new games and return more frequently without the burden of returning only to purchase new products.

Bridging the in-person experience with Digital Platforms

The roadblock that limited growing engagement stemmed from the limited space of the brick and mortar. We identified a subculture of local amateur players that would visit and play games while describing each step.

The team created a physical streaming platform to mount a player’s personal mobile devices to stream their games which passively created content and marketing for the brick and mortar’s community and services.

A live demonstration of the live streaming rig engaging with the community


The results of the project were the following:

A Space for Collaboration

The team developed consistent community engagements in the form of game tournaments and created an environment where there are opportunities to play new games provided by the store. The store also expanded its retail space to provide more space during the regional tournament and local conferences.

Local Streamers , International Engagement

An engagement plan to interact with patrons and the digital community by 700% in daily collaboration and viewership by allowing local players to stream their games and further connect with the larger digital community.


Lessons Learnt


This was a great project where I got to create a relationship with the users and customers of the industry and the product. The main learnings from the project were the following:

Exploring opportunity areas outside of traditional brick and mortar allowed our team to incorporated new technology and feasible deployment of existing mobile technology. This process has been fully adopted by our clients and organically growing new avenues to improve their digital services.

Planning from the beginning the type of collaboration with the client and community involvement during the different stages of the project allowed for the community to feel ownership of the evolving services and product