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The Tale of a Playdate on an Island

We are all in some way or other affected by substance use disorder, yet it is still highly stigmatized within our communities. Inspirado Recovery Board Game strives to change the conversation about substance use into one that mends, not segregates our society.

The Inspirado journey started off as a crowdfunding campaign in Autumn 2017, and though it did not reach its target, the campaign served as a platform to launch the game into the public eye. Inspirado gained a reputable online presence with recognition from service providers across the UK as well as the media with interviews at both BBC Cumbria and BBC Newcastle.

Building on this momentum, the project launched a countrywide tour, the Inspirado Hubs Playdate, to enable interested parties to see and play the game, ask questions and realise it’s usability within their services. Invitations for Playdates were received from Addaction Dundee, Recovery Dundee, Addaction Glasgow, Blenheim London (RISE) and Aspire Doncaster and Rotherham. Some players found the game tricky at first, as is often the case with a new activity, but by the second and third rounds of play, the engaging and competitive buzz created by the game soon eclipsed any initial reservations. Furthermore, the overarching theme from the feedback received at each event was Inspirado’s inherent fun and interactivity, as well as the provision of an atmosphere for discussing sensitive matters in an engaging yet non-intrusive manner.

The tour surpassed its intended goal, and was overwhelmed with the trails of recovery that blazed through the host cities and towns. Furthermore the online promotions prior to each event fostered conversations not just within the recovery community, but also the wider populace, adding further weight to its potential to permeate households, educating and building recovery within communities.


The Oxford Dictionary defines gamification as ‘the process by which the typical elements of game playing are applied to other areas of activity to encourage engagement with a product or service’.

How and why should this should be applied to behaviour change and recovery? Well gamification is known to be a strong motivator because it taps into the innate human desire to have fun and be competitive while still enabling a process of learning and developing to take place. What makes Inspirado recovery board game truly unique is the gamification of pioneering behaviour theories into an interactive intervention which is practical, beneficial and enjoyable.


Inspirado recovery board game is a social learning project developed with the recovery community to support treatment. It highlights the foundational pillars of building recovery within local communities, namely: recovery planning, recovery capital, relapse prevention and motivation building.

Playing Inspirado involves:

  1. The activation and deactivation of behaviour to either gain or lose ‘morale chips’.

  2. Reflection on motivational quotes - positive affirmations read out loud to give each player the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings.

  3. Building awareness of the impact of others on an individual’s recovery journey, and

  4. Highlighting the nonlinear nature of the recovery journey.

As an interactive psychosocial intervention, the board game provides practitioners with insight into novel ways of engaging with the participants in a group therapy session. The structural design of the board is built on Prochaska and DiClemente’s theory of the cycle of change. Players originate from a pre-contemplative state, starting as a caterpillar, and are transformed through each stage of the cycle, finally emerging as a butterfly.

Throughout the game, players acquire recovery plan cards. These cards are then used to respond to events as they progress along the board. The content of the cards employs BJ Fogg’s behaviour theory for the activation and deactivation of the behaviours on either event tiles or alert cards. The incorporation of a reward system which represents recovery capital is based on both BJ Fogg’s behaviour theory and B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning. An additional attribute of Inspirado recovery board game is the integration of the mutual peer support system enabling players to share experiences and inspiration – building motivation amongst themselves.


As part of our commitment to the recovery community, Inspirado Hubs will be conducting further robust and rigorous research into its usability at therapeutic sessions at the University of Sunderland.

The game is due for release in Spring 2018. In the meantime, you can get involved by pre-ordering your copy now. We encourage you to take that positive step towards building recovery in your local community!

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