Game Design: Pilgrims

Two cards with different coloured hexagons on, laying on top of a game board. Next to the hexagons are questions, two of them are readable and say 'What game did you love playing as a kid?' and 'If you could sit down with your 15-year old self, what would you tell them?'.

Pilgrims is a social board game for 2 - 10 players who take on the role of pilgrims completing a 800 km journey from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

The game box of Pilgrims, slightly open. The front of the box has the Pilgrims logo, the word Pilgrims in a fancy script, the tagline 'A social game about growth and discovery', and five hexagonal shapes in different colours forming a path. Across the path are black footprints. Underneath the game box lies the game instructions, and to the right lies a stack of rectangular cards and another stack of hexagonal cards. The rectangular cards have five hexagons in the same colours as the game box, as well as text next to it, to blurry to read. The top hexagonal card says 'Lagrono' and 'Leapfrog over the nearest Pilgrim!'.

The game is based on a real pilgrimage undertaken by several hundred thousand people each year called the Camino de Santiago. In 2015, Matt walked the Camino and wanted to share the experience he had with people who are unable to go on the Camino themselves. However, he found it difficult to express in words or pictures his meetings with people and the feeling of togetherness with people who elsewhere would just be absolute strangers.

A straight dirt road that seems to go on forever, with green fields on each side and a low mountain range in the background. Picture taken by Matthew Deline during his Camino in 2015.

Together with Tommy Graven, we decided to tell the story through the medium of a game. In Pilgrims, players get to experience that feeling of meeting people on a common journey, brought together because they’re doing something apart from normal life.

You can read more about Pilgrims on Matt’s blog.