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Posted on Mon 19 Dec 2016


Beasts of Balance

Two years ago a brilliant games developer, Alex Fleetwood, and an intrepid design academic, Elies Dekoninck, stood in front of a room of their peers, Watershed Producers and a group of 7-12 year olds from across Bristol...

Beasts of Balance play session

Posted by

Jo Lansdowne

Jo leads Watershed's Creative Technology team; supporting research activity, talent development and the resident community to deliver brilliant work.

Just over two years ago a brilliant games developer, Alex Fleetwood, and an intrepid design academic, Elies Dekoninck, stood in front of a room of their peers, Watershed Producers and a group of 7-12 year olds from across Bristol. They had a pencil drawing of a game they had dreamed up called STRAX - a digital physical hybrid that would allow people of all ages to play together in a way that was immediately fun but allowed players to build strategy over time. 

The young people in that room (Young Coaches) were excited by the potential of this vision and, with us, they agreed to take a risk and commission Alex and Elies to do some research and devlopment as part of REACT's Play Sandbox programme. I have written more about that process and the game that emerged here: REACT news post (note that there have been two name changes since the early days). 

Alex has now built a team and formed Sensible Object, a tabletop tech company who specialise in games that connect beautifully designed objects, custom hardware and personal devices, and Beasts of Balance is available to buy online as well as in John Lewis (UK) and Marbles (USA).

We brought the some of the Young Coaches back together to play the game and introduce it to an enthused Bristol audience. They were - in their words - proud, pleased, happy and confused (fair enough) to see the final product.