Venessa – A Game of Storytelling

Derrick Lin


Designer: Katie Story
Project Type: Student Project
School: Pratt Institute
Course: Senior Project
Tutor: Anita Merk
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Packaging Contents: Book, Tabletop Game
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Paper
Printing Process: Letterpress

In Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, Marco Polo tells stories of wonderful and sinister cities from the empire of Kublai Khan. In the game Venessa, you create your own fantastic narratives inspired by these cities. Two or more players take turns telling a sprawling story based on illustrated city tiles. Tiles provide prompts around which the narrative grows, and form a map as the story progresses.

Venessa comes with a drawstring pouch, 55 illustrated tiles, one copy of Invisible Cities, and instructions.

Venessa was created to embody the spirit of Invisible Cities, as a book about storytelling. The name “Venessa” is a pun on Venice, the inspiration for Calvino’s cities. The packaging and tiles are made with tactile letterpress paper to support the dreamlike and sensory experience of the novel. There are eleven categories of city, with eleven styles of illustrated map in Venessa. Like storytelling, the possibilities of the game are limited only by the imagination of the participants.

What’s Unique?
Venessa is packaged in a unique wedge shaped box that stands out on the shelf, with playful die cuts and letterpress printing. The design keeps the contents visible and secure within the package.