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Board Game Jam - Design Informatics


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Full day Board Game Jam workshop run for the postgraduate Design Informatics students at the Edinburgh College of Art.

Games from the day can be viewed at:

During the workshop students were introduced to the differences between copyright and licensing, how to identify licensed material that is free for re-use, where to find these materials, and how to licence their own work. They were then guided through all the steps to create their own board game. Including prototyping, play-testing, and adding variety and fun by employing different game mechanics. The play testing provides feedback and an opportunity for students to consider the mechanics and design of their games.

In this workshop groups were provided with packs of postcard images from the University of Edinburgh Image Collections with information on the image’s source and licence. Students then had to select which images in their pack were suitable for their needs and used the images to inspire the setting and theme of their game.

Information on how to run your own Board Game Jam can be found at:

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Board Game Jam - Design Informatics

  1. 1. Design Informatics Board Game Jam Design and share your own board game as an OER! Stephanie (Charlie) Farley Open Education Resource Advisor Learning, Teaching and Web Services
  2. 2. Aims for today • Know more about OER when you leave than when you came in. • Be able to identify licensed material. • Create your own fully attributable, shareable game. By AIGA [Public domain], via Wikimedia
  3. 3. Timetable 11:00 Introductions (What are OERs, Board Games Renaissance). Play some games. 11:40 OER and copyright. 12:00 Game kits and Images. Quick start game building. 13:00 Lunch 14:00 Design your game! Create your pieces. 15:00 Game Testing. 16:00 Test your game. 17:00 Refine and write-up your game
  4. 4. Not just Monopoly! • A “golden age” of board games (Duffy, The Guardian, 2014) • Increase in sales of 25% + over last four years • Move from specialist suppliers to the mainstream • Rise in games cafes / clubs • Noticeable increase in games which tackle social issues. • Also games in teaching: • Copyright the Card Game • Curate! The digital curation boardgame
  5. 5. Role of the internet • Cheap digital versions of games – “try before you buy” • Online retailers make buying process easier • Blogs / social media create buzz around games
  6. 6. Games are improving! • Merger of “Eurogames and Amerigames” traditions • Eurogames (e.g. Settlers of Catan): strategy, mechanics, abstract • Amerigames (e.g. Risk): aggression / direct conflict, theme more important than mechanics • New games coming out which combine a strong theme with diverse game mechanics (e.g. Game of Thrones) • Board games and digital games borrowing from each other
  7. 7. Game mechanics • Acting • Co-operative play • Dice rolling • Player elimination • Variable player powers • Route Building • Auction / bidding • Memory • Story telling • Trading • Voting • Grid movement Comprehensive list available at
  8. 8. Things to consider • Theme • Game mechanics • Target audience • Incentives / win conditions • Game length • Number of players
  9. 9. Create a game to be shared as an OER • Today you will build a game document through the course of the session. This will include: • Attribution details for images used (identify at least 3 images from the cards provided to be used in your game). • Description of the Theme and Setting of the game • Description of each type of card including: the image used for that card, what happens when that card is played. • Incentive / win conditions for the game. • Set of rules/ gameplay instructions. • 2 plasticine avatars/pieces for your game
  10. 10. What is an OER? An Open Educational Resource, OER, is a freely available and openly licensed digital resource. “OERs are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge” The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  11. 11. By applying an open licence to a copyrighted work, rights holders give permission for others to copy or change their work in ways that would otherwise infringe copyright law.
  12. 12. Definitions Intellectual property rights (IPR): Are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds (usually for a set period of time). Image via Pixabay by geralt [Public Domain]
  13. 13. Is an area of IPR that covers the rights of authors of creative works. Copyright: Image via Pixabay by Peggy_Marco [Public Domain]
  14. 14. is the permission, or authorisation, to re-use a copyrighted work. A licence: Image via Pixabay by kartik27 [Public Domain]
  15. 15. A Creative Commons (CC) licence is one of several open licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. Image via Pixabay by Kriemer [Public Domain]
  16. 16. For the games created today we will be using a CC BY 4.0 licence: Except where otherwise stated, this work by [author’s names] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
  17. 17. Creative Commons licenses
  18. 18. Select 3 images for your game Keep in mind: • Will you need to modify the image? Only use part of the image or edit it in any way? • Is the licence suitable for your needs? • Is there any information about the image that is missing?
  19. 19. CRC Flickr account (select 3 images – 5min) • The Centre for Research Collections’ Flickr account is an example of an Open Educational Resource. • It contains several hundred images from our images database • crcedinburgh/albums
  20. 20. Theme and Setting (5min) Theme – The underlying premise or set of assumptions the describe what the players are doing in the game. Setting – This can be the geographic location, time period, and/or imaginative environment where the game is taking place.
  21. 21. Mechanics (5min) Select 2 mechanics from the list provided. “These are the procedures and rules of your players can and cannot try to achieve it, and what happens when they try.” Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design, A Book of Lenses
  22. 22. End Conditions (5min) What are the end or win conditions for your game? What objective or purpose are your players working towards (or to avoid)?
  23. 23. Gameplay / Rules Write out a basic set of rules on a spare sheet of paper (NOT on your game document) that will guide your players through your game mechanics towards the end/win condition of your game.
  24. 24. Gameplay / Rules (10min) Confirm your rules as a group and write these down on your game document. Would you be able to follow these rules to reach the end/win conditions of your game?
  25. 25. Title - What is the name of the material? Author - Who owns the material? Source - Where can I find it? Licence - How can I use it? Lastly, consider if there is anything else you should know before you use it. Attributing images in your game
  26. 26. It’s a good idea to note down attribution information as you go (and keep it if possible). Attributing Creative Commons Materials by ccAustralia & CCI ARC, licensed under CC BY 2.5
  27. 27. The good, the bad, and the ugly The Creative Commons Wiki provides detailed information on how to correctly attribute resources in a number of contexts: Good: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol is licensed under CC BY 4.0 Average: Photo by tvol / CC BY Incorrect: Photo: Creative Commons
  28. 28. Feedback and Follow Up @OpenEdEdinburgh