Solving the biggest issue

Amplify is a US-focused educational publisher reimagining the way teachers teach and students learn. At the heart of this ambition is a groundbreaking digital curriculum featuring a series of Maths, English Language, Arts and Science games.

One of the most significant of these is Story Cards, a game designed to inspire a love of reading and, as a result, fundamentally improve the chances of that child’s success in school.

The strongest indicator of whether a child will succeed in school is how much they read.

A virtuous circle of reading and play

Story Cards is a collectible card game (or CCG) designed to work alongside an ebook reader. As students read books, new character and author cards become ‘collectable’ for use within the game, creating a virtuous circle of reading and playing.

Each collected card has gameplay abilities which reflect the characteristics and exploits of the character or author featured, further bringing to life the books they have read about. Whilst playing the game against AI or Friends, new characters can also be encountered, piquing their interest and providing a direct way into these new, unread books.

Each collected card has gameplay abilities which reflect the characteristics and exploits of the character or author featured

A CCG that everyone can play

Digital CCGs are inherently complex, with busy interfaces and heavily structured play creating an experience that requires commitment to enjoy and master.

Making the game appealing to everyone – and critically, easy to play – was the principal challenge. This was achieved through a simple turn-based card-slot system which players play their cards into in an attempt to outwit, out-manoeuvre and out-think the opposition.

This simple system makes it easy to pick up and play for novice players, but also provides enough emergent complexity required for expert gamers. Advanced CCG concepts like status effects, card combinations and passive actions have been distilled to ensure they’re simple, engaging and fun to use while providing strategic depth and longevity.

High ceilings are further supported through a deck builder which allows students to assemble their own card decks to support their specific play style. A player’s knowledge of books can also be used to craft advanced decks which combine authors and their characters to devastating effect. In-game, book knowledge can also be leveraged via Chance Cards, offering in-game rewards to those who can answer a quick multiple-choice question, giving them an edge and reinforcing the game’s strong theming.

This simple system makes it easy to pick up and play for novice players, but also provides enough emergent complexity required for the advanced gamers.

Inspiring characters, inspiring readers

Cards are grouped into five themes: Journey, Love & Friendship, Mystery, Battle and Fall. These were all deliberately chosen to transcend traditional genre categorisation, and engender a deeper curiosity in the cards themselves.

The Cards’ unique actions range from simple attacks, such as Alice’s ‘Flamingo Mallet’ inspired by her attempt to use the Flamingo as a croquet mallet in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, to Long John Silver’s theme token stealing ‘Pirate Raid’ and The Artful Dodger’s ‘Pick Pocket’ action which steals health from the opposing player.

Each turn, theme tokens are accumulated, which can then be used to activate these actions. The more powerful the action, the greater the number of tokens required.

The game includes a fully featured single-player campaign mode, where the player goes head-to-head with the most famous authors and their characters, and an asynchronous multiplayer mode allowing students to battle each other with customised decks, and engender a competitive spirit which further drives deeper interest in reading and collection.

As players compete, the game also writes a unique story based on how each duel played. By allowing players to craft their own narratives, Story Cards aims to not only inspire reading, but also the next generation of novelists.

Story Cards has been rolled out to a number of US schools as part of the Amplify pilot programme.

As players compete, the game also writes a unique story based on how each duel played. By allowing players to craft their own narratives, Story Cards aims to not only inspire reading, but also the next generation of novelists.

Character Art: From Sketch to Final

Preloaded are a rare breed, extraordinarily talented in the craft of making great games and passionate about finding new ways to help people learn.”

Justin Leites , VP Games, Amplify Learning

Serious Play - Silver (Education)

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