Poppies was designed as a response to images of the military cemeteries of the First World War with their countless white crosses and fields of red poppies (this theme is later developed in Commandopede. In Britain and Canada, the corn poppy is used a symbol of remembrance for the war dead, particularly those of the First World War. The symbol was popularized in the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written by John McCrae, which describes poppies growing in the military graveyards of Belgium. However, the poem has an underlying patriotic pro-war theme where the reader is encouraged to follow in the footsteps of those who died before so that 'they shall not have died in vain' (despite the fact that this was exactly what they were doing), thus arguing for a continuation of the long, pointless, and bloody conflict. Poppies retains the sense of loss and remembrance initially suggested by the poem and the images of military graveyards, retaining imagery more in line with Eric Bogle's “The Green Fields of France.”
In the game, the battlefield is an empty grid on a green board, filled only with discarded military equipment. There are no gravestones here, no bodies of the dead, only the material that was left behind, suggesting the memory and trauma of war. The game is perhaps considered a puzzle game, and the player's role is to remove the gear of war from the battlefield and replace them with poppies as symbols of peace and remembrance. The player's piece is a dove, a symbol of hope and peace.
The poppies are represented by small, bright red sequins. The sequins stand out on the dark green of the game board, creating a bright mix of colors. Because the sequins are so small and light, they are not only difficult to pick up but can also easily be blown away by the player's breath, suggesting both the frailty of human life and the fragility of memory and remembrance: the poppies are something to be cared for, to not be roughly treated or forgotten as they can easily be lost or destroyed and are difficult to recollect. In addition, the placing of the poppies follows a system of meditation and remembrance – it is calming to drop the poppies onto the game board, and the game's slow pace prevents a feeling of urgency that would shatter the experience.
A digital version is currently in development for Stagecast Creator.