Session 4a: Modern Times – University of Copenhagen

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Board Game Studies Colloquium XX > Program > Session 4a: Modern Times

Session 4a: Modern Times

Will Technology Set Us Free? The Impact of Digital Systems in Non-Digital Gaming Experiences

Thu 18 May, 10:30 - 11:00 (KUA3, Room 4A.0.69)

Dr Antonio José Planells de la Maza
Associate Professor, Tecnocampus-Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain

In recent years modern board table games have innovated in both mechanics and narrative models. Thus, proposals such as "Legacy" titles or games built from a central narrative (T.I.M.E. Stories, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective) have emerged as great referents for the current ludic experience.

In this exploratory research we investigate the impact of the different technological approaches to contemporary board games. To do this, we analyze the use of digital media in the games Alchemists, XCOM: The Board Game and Mansions of Madness (Second Edition) from the perspective of the MDA model (Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics) established by Matt Leblanc.

Results show how the use of technologies in the game can substantially modify the experience itself, facilitating the management of information or the conversion of the game into a more cinematic and visual experience.

Antonio José Planells de la Maza (PhD), researcher and professor at Tecnocampus-Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain). He has studied Law, Media Studies and the Master of Applied Research to Mass Media at University Carlos III of Madrid and the Master of Advanced Studies in Social Communication at University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain). His main research interests are related to fictional and possible worlds, ideology and character design.

Select Publications
Planells de la Maza, Antonio José (2015). "Video games and the crowdfunding ideology: From the gamer-buyer to the prosumer-investor" in Journal of Consumer Culture (OnlineFirst, 18 October 2015).

Planells de la Maza, Antonio José (2015). "The expressive power of the possible worlds theory in video games: when narratives become interactive and fictional spaces" in Comunicação e Sociedade, vol. 27, 2015, pp. 289-302.

Adaptations in Play: Strategies of Adaptation in Digital and Non-Digital Games

Thu 18 May, 11:00 - 11:30 (KUA3, Room 4A.0.69)

Ida Kathrine Hammeleff Jørgensen
PhD Fellow, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Since the early days of digital games, tabletop games have served as a source of inspiration for many game designers. Recently we have seen the occurrence of tabletop game adaptations of popular digital games such as StarCraft (Blizzard 2010). While tabletop games have evolved and been subject of adaptations throughout time (Parlett 1999), digital media provides an opportunity for a different spatial and temporal logic (Backe 2015), which should be taken into consideration in the study of adaptation of non-digital games to digital games and vice versa.

Adaptations make use of different strategies for capturing the various aspects of their source. Talisman: Digital Edition (Nomad Games 2014) largely adopts the same primary mechanics of the board game Talisman (Fantasy Flight Games 2008). The board game Doom (Fantasy Flight Games 2014) on the other hand, adopts characters and background story along with a fast pace and an asymmetrical gameplay, but nevertheless conveys a different experience of warfare than its source, the first-person shooter Doom (id Software 1993-present).

This presentation explores such adaptation strategies. It will study a number of adaptations and answer the question of what are the differences in the representational properties between the source game and its adaptation?

Ida Kathrine Hammeleff Jørgensen is a PhD fellow at the IT University, Center for Computer Games Research. Her PhD project revolves around games as representational systems. The project is part of the ERC Advanced grant: MSG – Making Sense of Games. Other research interests have to do with animal play and games for animal.

Inductive Settings, Deductive Mechanics, and How Pandemic Legacy Connects Them

Thu 18 May, 11:30 - 12:00 (KUA3, Room 4A.0.69)

Dr Ivan Mosca
Academic Researcher, Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, University of Turin, Italy

Since their origins, Eurogames have focused on mechanics and not on theme, setting, story, or meaning. Many Eurogame designers conceive their art as an abstract matter from which to induce a thematic cover, whereas "American" simulation designers deduce the mechanics from the theme. But a disruptive innovation is changing the Eurogame panorama and its consequences are surely on the same level as other revolutionary mechanics, such as "deckbuilding", "cooperation", "instant poolbuilding", and "card drafting". We are referring here to the LEGACY system introduced by designer Rob Daviau, the mechanics of which lead to the irruption of storyline-based Eurogames.

The framework of LEGACY games is a campaign mode with a well-designed plot, revealed within a series of matches. The openness of the abstract mechanics to thematic meaning is due to the introduction of a particular double irreversibility. Normally, game studies lay the foundation of games on reversibility (Caillois 1958) and non-linearity (Aarseth 1997), to the extent that the fundamentals of gaming have been tied to the possibility of restarting from scratch. But in LEGACY games there is a new kind of permanent death that transforms the gaming experience, structurally connecting mechanics and meaning.

I am a researcher in the fields of social ontology, game studies and bioethics for the University of Turin, Italy. I have a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a PhD in philosophy. Recently, I have investigated the notion of permadeath, gaming rules, ontology of games, and the role of gender in gaming. I explore these topics also through the design of gaming apparatuses for exhibitions, gamescons and other events. I am member of Game Philosophy Network, In gioco, Labont, Philosophy for Children, Consulta di Bioetica, and Bioethos.

Select Publications
32. (2017) "Legacy's Legacy: Irreversibility and Permadeath in Legacy Games" in Analog game Studies, IV, I.

31. (2016) "The Testing Shift. Game testing as embedded empirical study of user response" in Versus. Quaderni di studi semiotici, 1/2016.

30. (2016) "What is it like to be a player? The qualia revolution in game studies" in Games & Culture: 1-20. DOI: 10.1177/1555412016666367.

27. (2015). "Why society depends on games ... but is not a game" in Mustekala (ISSN 2341-9873), peli 3/15, vol. 60.

26. (2015) "Jeu/Genre" in F. Lignon, (ed.) Genre et jeux vidéo. Tolosa: PUM.

23. (2014) "The Social Ontology of Digital Games" in H. Agius and M. Angelides (eds.) Handbook of digital games. Wiley-IEEE: 607-644. ISBN: 9781118328033.

20. (2014) "The Ontology of Gender in Computer Games" in Mise au Point, 6.

18. (2013) "From Fiction to Reality and Back. Ontology of Ludic Simulations" in International Journal of Games and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 5 (1), 13-31, January-March.