Zip a Zit


Yu-Chan Cheng

| Instructional Objective | Learners & Context | Object of Game | Game Materials |

| Time Required | Rules | Design Process | References |

Instructional Objective

The learners will be able to identify the factors that lessen or aggravate the acne and be able to get better understanding of the causes, symptoms, and available treatments of acne and simple skin structure

Learners & Context of Use

The game is designed for teenagers, age 12 to 16, who are interested in acne information.

This board game would be used off school for self-learning, or be used after a unit of study on acne problems. Discussions would precede the playing of the game and a debriefing would follow.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to remove all the zits on the face card and have some treatment left.

Game Materials

  • Game board
  • 4 playing pieces, each a different shape
  • A six side die
  • 4 pieces of face paper
  • A bunch of zit stickers
  • a bunch of playing money
  • 1 stack of chance cards
  • I stack of opportunity cards
  • 1 stack of treatment cards
  • 1 stack of do or don't cards
  • 4 copies of cheatsheets contain correct answers

Time Required

The game is for 2 to 4 players and will play for approximately thirty minutes to an hour. Players can determine the length of the game by deciding to either assign a certain amount of time for responding questions or a designated amount of treatments or money needed to collect before they begin. 

The Rules

  1. Roll the die to see how many zits the player needs to put on. Highest amount of zits goes first. 

  2. Roll the die again to decide how many spaces to move.

  3. on their turn, each player rolls the die and moves the number of spaces shown on the die in a clockwise direction around the board.

    If the player lands on a:

    Opportunity Space-Take one card on the top of opportunity deck. Read the card to the group and either follow the directions or answer the questions. The rest of players either check the answer or respond the request. For example, the direction could be "Choose one player to explain why stress aggravate acne", "Ask one player point out the sebaceous gland on the picture of skin structure" or the player have to demonstrate the proper washing routine and the rest of players will be the judge.

    Chance space- Take one card on the top of  chance deck. Follow what the card indicates, either positive results (remove zits, collect money, and etc.)  or negative results (put more zits back on, lost turns or lost money)

    Question-mark space-Take one card on the top of  do-or-don't deck. Read the card to the group and answer the yes-no questions. If correct, remove one zit away or gain $10; if incorrect, put one zit back on. 

    Triangle-face Space- Take on card randomly from the treatment deck and keep it until needed or sold. The player negotiate to decide the selling or buying price.

    Ghost-face Space-Put one zit back on.

    Smiling-Pumpkin Space-Remove two zits away.

    Clinic Space-Lost three turns unless the player has the pass card.

    Chain Space- Move to the inner or outer circle . The inner circle is designed to be the Risky Path where player will have more chance to remove zits meanwhile have larger possibility to put more zits on.  

  4. If the players do not sure about the correct answers, they can refer to the cheetsheets.

  5. There are two discussion activities shown on the opportunity card which are designed to make the game have different level of difficulity. If the players know the contents well, they can discuss in-depth issues such as the side-effect of the medication, the questions they should ask the doctor when they have a clinic visit, the glossary of acne and etc.

  6. When the player removes all the zits away and has the designated amount of treatments left, he/she wins the game. 

Design Process

In the beginning, I try to design it as a race game. The player arrives at  some place first will win the game. However, it's not really relevant to the instructional goal. Then I start to think my goal, help players lessen the acne, and another idea comes up. How about remove or  put zits on?  Therefore, I design the layout of the board as two square cycles, inner and outer. The inner would be a risky path to increase the excitement of the game.

Another question arises, how to create a time- and cost-efficient way on the put-or-remove zits process? How about paper and pencil ? Put zits by drawing and remove zits by eraser. Mm...seems not good enough. Drawing and erasing on the same paper again and again will make a mess. Having new blank papers every time when play is not cost efficient. Having this question in mind for a while, one day I think about one of my hobbies, sticker collect. Then,  a solution comes up. View the zits as round stickers and a page of sticker-collection book as a human being's face. After that I begin to decorate the paper face and the rest of game materials. 

After I build the game prototype, I ask two of my friends to actually play it. They as well as the instructor provide me with some good feedback on my ideas. I modify the game based on those feedback, such as different category different color, less reading on the cards, money as prize and etc. One thing that I didn't do is design a 3D structure board based on the skin structure. Because I couldn't think any feasible method to create it.  Moreover, because of the time limitation, the players that I can find are not teenagers. That could result in some problems that I didn't recognize so far.  



  • E-Body is a great web site for providing health information (
  • Face facts is a wonderful web site for solving teenager acne problem (
  • Yahoo! Health is a web site provides acne overview and treatment (
  • National institute of arthritis and husculoskeletal and skin diseases (

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Last updated October xx 1999