Set for Entrepreneurs: An Augmented Reality Game

The idea of the game Set combined with a Deck of Lenses for Game Design creates a new game for entrepreneurial exploration.

Constructive augmented reality is most associated with Google Glass and Pokemon Go. This kind of augmented reality is tech driven and focused on one individual’s experience of the world around them. But augmented reality has the potential to change how people interact with each other, and can be created with tools such as paper and pen just as well as high tech.

This is the goal of the Roadmap project; to create fun, cheap tools for people who build entrepreneurial ecosystems outside of major coastal cities. Specifically with the game Set for Entrepreneurs, the goal is to prompt entrepreneurs to think of important questions about their start-up and do so in a way where they simultaneously create the connections that they need to build their start-up.

The game’s mechanics are founded in the game Set. Set is composed of 81 different cards with three different colors, three different shapes, three different numbers of shapes on the cards, and three different patterns. A Set is comprised of three sets of cards that all share a common attribute (all are diamonds, or all are red) or are all entirely different (all different shape, pattern, color). Traditionally, a dealer lays out twelve cards on a table until a player yells “Set!”. If there are no Sets, the dealer continues to lay down cards. The goal of Set is to pick up more potential combinations of cards than your opponent.

Different combinations in the Set card game:

In the game Set for Entrepreneurs on each card there would be the shapes of the Set game along with important questions founders should know about their start-up. These questions are derived from the concept of Lenses in Justin Schell’s book “The Art of Game Design.” These lenses provide potential game designers different paradigms to look at their game. From the Lens of Passion, game designers ask themselves why they are passionate about their game. The Lens of Motivation asks how they will motivate their players to play their game. Game designers do not get answers from these cards, but new directions for their thinking which ultimately makes their decisions more informed.

Deck of Lenses from the Art of Game Design:

The Lens concept adapted for entrepreneurs would have the Lens of Emotion that asks founders what they want customers to feel towards their company. The Lens of Problems asks founders how people currently solve the problem their start-up tackles. The Lens of Skills asks what skills are needed to build a company which defines for founders what kind of team members they should search for.

The large shift between the traditional game of Set and Set for Entrepreneurs comes in the game play. Set is traditionally played over a short duration of time between two players and a dealer. This modified game is played with up to 81 people in a shared space (a conference, a meet-up, etc.) over the course of several hours. During the event founders have to find Sets amongst the participants of the gathering. When they find a Set, they can take a picture of their Set cards with their Set group. At the end of the gathering, the conference or meet-up moderator can offer a prize (a gift card, a t-shirt, etc.) to the person who got the most completed Sets.

This game encourages entrepreneurs to talk about their ideas, which founders often find nerve wracking when their ideas are new. But getting different perspectives helps entrepreneurs better pitch their ideas, clarify their thinking, and find potential pitfalls early. This game also encourages participants to meet at an event, and to facilitate more meaningful conversations than what traditionally happens at networking events. This game is designed with loose time and prize constraints specifically because this is meant to be a general tool that university incubator leaders, entrepreneurship directors, and other community leaders can adapt to meet the needs of their specific ecosystem. To play with fewer than fifteen people, each person might get two cards. To play with more than eighty people, a second deck can be added. The structure of the game is meant to be malleable to the needs of the event organizer.

The Pack of Lenses for Entrepreneurs can be downloaded here. To download the game, visit

Interaction Writer and CEO of Adjacent