Inside the Box Internships

Oxford University Microinternship Scheme

What is a Microinternship?

Micro-internships are short, full-time work placements, which are available at the end of each Oxford University term with organisations across Oxfordshire and Greater London.

All placements last 2-5 days. Each placement presents a specific, cohesive work project to be tackled: one which will develop students’ professional skills, add to their CV, and make an impact on their host organisation. Placements can be research-based or professional, with host organisations ranging from investment banks and consultancy firms to tech start-ups and board game publishers!

Why do a Microinternship?

Internships offer the opportunity to acquire a range of employability skills such as problem-solving, self-management, presentation and communication skills, and commercial awareness (see more in our webpage about Employability Skills). These skills are highly valued by employers, and the ability to demonstrate them is vital during the recruitment process – particularly on CVs, cover letters and application forms, and in interviews.

The additional significant benefits of micro-internships include:

  • Convenience – all micro-internships last 2-5 days and take place during 9th week of Oxford’s term, so you can gain work experience even if you have a busy schedule
  • Accessibility – all micro-internships are based in Oxfordshire (most of these within Oxford) and Greater London
  • Insight – a micro-internship will give you a concise insight into a particular sector or type of organisation. If you are considering pursuing a career in a certain sector, a micro-internship is a great way of helping you to decide if you might like to pursue it further
  • Variety – because placements are both short and voluntary, a great variety of different organisations are able to offer placements through the programme, many of which would not ordinarily be in a position to support interns – particularly start-ups and charities

Example Projects

Project 1 – “I want to play a game…”


ITB’s latest title, Sub Terra, is a survival horror cooperative game set in an unexplored cave. Throughout the design process the Sub Terra team have integrated a variety of influences from popular culture and from academia in terms of communicating the key themes of fear within the game.


The objective of this project is to produce a concise piece of secondary research detailing representations of fear in popular culture and how they relate to contemporary thinking on the psychology and physiology of fear.

In addition to this report and accompanying presentation, this team will also produce a series of short, accessible blog pieces that will cover material relevant to this topic and the Sub Terra project as a whole.


Possible article topics could include:

  • Representations of fear in modern board games
  • The Psychology of fear in horror movies
  • Representations of fear in graphic novels/comics
  • The Physiology of Fear
  • Caving in the UK and Europe
  • A case study of a particularly nasty cave or dangerous expedition
  • Cave-dwelling cryptids throughout the world (what could the horrors in Sub Terra be?

Project 2 – Game Theory for Games


ITB produces high quality games, which doesn’t just mean they’re made out of good materials. Every game has to be robustly tested and analysed for its strategic depth, to ensure that players have a variety of intuitive and strategically distinct options at each point during their game.

The objective of this project is to comprehensively analyse ITB’s latest title, Sub Terra, to ensure that players are not able to  ‘game’ the system, and that the key objectives of the project are mathematically embedded into the game’s mechanics.


In addition to a concise report and accompanying presentation of the statistical and analytical findings of this research, this team will also produce a series of short, accessible blog pieces that will cover similar analysis of mainstream modern board games in addition to some classics.


Examples games:

  • Monopoly
  • Chess/Go/Senet
  • Ticket to Ride
  • Pandemic
  • Carcassonne

Project 3 – The World’s Biggest Game


ITB is one of dozens of indie board games publishing companies across the UK, but is one of only a handful that has connections across the globe with key distribution markets. As ITB grows and its projects reach wider audiences, the company needs to ensure that it is prepared.


The objective of this project is to conduct serious, comprehensive market research of the hobby games industry to inform pitch materials that ITB will use in proposals to large retailers and distributors.

Key information the intern team will seek to find will include


  • The size of the various key markets (UK, EU, US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan, S. Korea etc)
  • The make-up of the market (size of largest publishing companies versus number of hobbyists and indie companies)
  • Demographics of hobbyists interacting online through social media and other platforms
  • Analysis of the size and health of the crowdfunding market in relation to hobby games
  • Key targets for retail distribution of ITB products in the UK and overseas


In addition to a concise report and accompanying presentation on their findings, the intern team will be expected to write a series of short, accessible blog posts which highlight key results from their work.

Project 4 – Engineering Fun


Prototyping is an important part of any product design process, and being based in the UK where there are no specialist board game prototyping services, means that process for us is expensive. Currently the industry standard is being delivered by several US and China-based companies.

The objective of this project is to produce in depth research into the feasibility of in-house prototyping or outsourcing various aspects of the prototyping process to UK/European companies.


Prototyping Equipment/Services to be investigated:


  • Laser cutting/etching
  • High quality 3D printing
  • Low quality 3D printing
  • Box printing
  • Cardboard die-cutting
  • Vinyl printing
  • Playing card production


In addition to this research and an accompanying presentation the intern team will write a series of blog posts which outline their research, in addition to an analysis of available print-on-demand board game printing services across the world.

Project 5 – Level Up


In addition to a growing portfolio of modern tabletop games, ITB is branching out into events management, recently hosting an incredibly successful industry networking event, and now moving into competitive ‘Game Jam’ events and mass participation, immersive, high production value, ‘MegaGame’ events. (Think escape room but with added geek).


The objective of this project is to produce a detailed report on the feasibility and logistics of ITB running MegaGame events in London and other cities nearby (Oxford, Cambridge, London, Southampton, Birmingham etc)


Key information to be determined:


  • Venue
  • Dates & Timings
  • Entrant Price
  • Format of Possible Games
  • Ticket Sale Platform
  • Target Audience
  • Production Costs
  • Personnel Logistics
  • Event Logistics
  • Long term scalability/repeatability


In addition a report and presentation on their findings, the intern team will be expected to write a series of short, accessible blog posts on existing MegaGames and other immersive events available.