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Events + Workshops

Bridging digital and physical spaces with tabletop play

Game Board with Pieces

Board at home: Bridging digital and physical spaces with tabletop play

Friday February 26th, 2021

UCSC Geek week is all about celebrating our passions.  The Digital Scholarship Department is engaging through our yearly event with a group of faculty, lecturers, and librarians who have a passion for board games.  We invite you to view this years talks integrating a broad range of topics that integrate both physical board games and digital interaction.  Learn more about Geek Week here!   

The event was held on February 26th 2021. The short talks covered a variety of topics each of which can be viewed below.

Board At Home 2021 Presenters:

A Public Archive of Japanese Board Game History
Nathan Altice,
Assistant Teaching Professor
Computational Media

In this talk, Professor Altice showcases Analog Joy Club, an ongoing research, archival, and translation project focused on the 20th-century history of Japanese board, card, war, and roleplaying games. He shares the details about the project's scope, its goals, its challenges, its participants, and, of course, many beautiful images of the games that comprise the archive.

Adaptation and Playing Apart- How "In-Person" Play Is Responding to the Pandemic
Elizabeth Swensen
Assistant Professor
Art and Design: Games and Playable Media
Digital Art and New Media

How do we capture the aesthetics and dynamics of embodied and tabletop play, now that we're apart? In this talk, Assistant Professor Elizabeth Swensen discusses the rising popularity of digital platforms, tools, and practices used to adapt and rethink board games, escape rooms, and roleplaying experiences for digital distanced play.

Problematic Faves: Games and the Black Gaze
A.M. Darke
Director, The Other Lab
Assistant Professor, Digital Arts and New Media;
Critical Race and Ethnic Studies;
Art & Design: Games and Playable Media

Professor A.M. Darke hosted an interactive talk and play-through of her latest game, ‘Ye or Nay?, a polemical take on the classic Guess Who? where all of the characters are Black men and half of them are Kanye West. 

Indie Tabletop RPGs: They Exist, They’re Cheap…and You’ll Love Them
Tad Leckman
Computational Media
Art & Design: Games & Playable Media
Digital Arts and New Media

Dungeons and Dragons is not only one of the first and best-known tabletop roleplaying games of all time, it’s also more popular now than at any point since it was first published in 1974. The core D&D rulebooks are still in the Amazon top 100 bestseller list eight years after they first went on sale! And while D&D enjoys the popular spotlight, hundreds of independent game designers, writers and artists have been quietly creating, playing, selling, and often giving away, alternatives roleplaying games in every genre. In this presentation, Tad provides an overview of the indie TTRPG (tabletop roleplaying game) scene and highlight some of the hobby’s most interesting, unusual and successful titles.   

Words, Sentiments, and Games - A textual analysis of board game reviews
Kristina Golubiewski-Davis
Director, Digital Scholarship Department
University Library, UCSC

Have you ever wondered what you can learn from board game reviews beyond an average ranking?  In this talk, Kristy explores and compares the reviews of popular games as ranked by Board Game Geek using text analysis tools and sentiment analysis to look specifically at how popular board games compare to educational board games.  Do the terms people use for educational board games suggest different aspects of the game are being judged? What types of sentiments are associated with different board games?  How do reviews on gaming specific sites, such as Board Game Geek, differ to reviews on more general sites, such as Amazon?  Watch to find out!

Bridging Mediums: The Design of App-Integrated Board Games
Andrew Fischer
Senior Manager of Digital Development at Fantasy Flight Games

App-integrate board games such as 'Mansions of Madness' combine the camaraderie and tactile nature of physical games with the complex systems and hidden information of digital games. Creating mechanics that leverage the strengths of both mediums while still creating a seamless experience presents significant challenges. In this talk Andrew Fischer, head of Fantasy Flight Games' digital development, shares the conceptual knowledge his team has learned while designing several of these unique cross-genre games.