Cape of Empathy - Conference Board Game



Cape of Empathy is a game that can be played in a variety of ways to promote empathy for our customer’s experience. The game can be played in the context of a design workshop to energize a team, or at a sales conference to educated our partners.


I coined the phrase “Cape of Empathy” to describe what we as UX professionals must do to identify and remedy customer pain points. An idea was hatched to gamify this concept as a way to foster empathy and empower customer-centric solutions in our designs. The game or activity can be used in the context of a design thinking workshop to energize a team, or at a sales, a conference to educated our partners. Models for such games are well known in the domain of the superhero genre.

My role

I worked as a product designer and the chief architect of the game, and partner up with the visual designer, design director, and content strategist. Total of 4 team members.


By having participants suspend belief and wear a Cape of Empathy, they will become empowered to both identify and remedy customer pain points and defeat the Villains of customer experience.


  1. Small: a deck of cards (ala Luma), perhaps 20-30 scenarios, and an easily learnable group of heroes and villains (10 each?)
  2. Medium: e.g., a larger deck of cards or deck of cards + game pieces
  3. Large: e.g., Boardgame (includes cards) die, game board, game pieces, timer, more elaborate rules. Could have a booklet or poster as a companion.
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Game ingredients and play

Oath of Empathy

The player whose turn it is for the first time must take the Oath of Empathy before the Cape of Empathy is bestowed on them to wear. The following is the Oath:

  • I will listen to the user’s’ perspective.
  • I will meet the user’s where they are.
  • I will help users to solve their struggles.
  • I will ensure the user feels valued.
Deck of cards
Super Powers Cards
  1. Axe-S - wields an ax to barriers of accessibility
  2. MicroX - applies the powers of micro-interactions
  3. Formless - Shape-shifts to do away with excessive form fields
  4. Captain Clarity - Helps simplify the experience to make it clear and easy for the customer
  5. HumanT - Adds a human touch to everything to better support and connect with the user
  6. SigMo - brings a memorable charisma to the product fostering loyalty and brand value
  7. -Magic Sourcer -uses innovative powers to transform a product into something special–rising above the competition
Cx Villains/Dark Patterns Cards
  1. Doctor Apathy - Knows product problems but places customer pain as a lower priority compared with other concerns
  2. Mr. Obliviousness - Wreaks havoc on customer experience by not bothering to know or learn about the customer
  3. The Jobker - Makes customers work hard when using their products
  4. Colonel Confusion - Creator of an obstacle course of illogic and non-intuitive interface
  5. Bog Man - Creator of hidden frictions in the Ux details that bog down the customer
  6. Thinkster - Forces users to read, study, cross-reference, etc. Causing un-due cognitive burden on the customer
  7. The Complex - Overly complex designs and
  8. Professor Dogma - Relies on outmoded knowledge, fold examination and perpetuates false.

UX challenges sorted on the spinner wheel


Setup & Instruction