FDG2020 | 3rd Workshop on Tabletop Games

Workshop on September 11 / Conference on September 15-18 | Online Malta

1 Introduction

Analog games have seen a surge of interest, board game cafes, new titles, and a more accepting culture to role-playing games as a pass-time has fueled a boom in sales. However, academic research is relatively stagnating upon the analog domain as an object of design, due to both the interdisciplinary nature taking cues from computer science, narrative creation, psychology, and due to a lack of good publication venues for such works. Although being integrated to achieve severe and crucial outcomes such as brain health diagnosis, industrial training, recruitment process, analog games have been facing the lack of severe attempts for human factors consideration and design improvisation. The workshop endeavours to highlight such issues with the discussion upon existing solutions and potential areas of improvement. Furthermore, the aim of this workshop is to address the gap, looking at the ways in which academics can apply their tools to the discussion of analog games, including but not limited to board games, war games, and tabletop role-playing. New computer-based technologies such as player agents, 3D printing and rapid prototyping, crowd-funding, etc. will revolutionize the industry.

You can see the programme and accepted papers of the 1st Workshop on Tabletop Games (FDG 2018) here and the programme and accepted papers of the 2nd Workshop on Tabletop Games (FDG 2019) here.

2 Important note on scope

We define tabletop games here to include any game played by a group of players (or one player, in niche cases) on the tabletop: this includes board games, role-playing games, technology-enhanced board games (e.g. Mansions of Madness or Alchemists), and so on. Computer simulations of tabletop games are also included, e.g. for simulated board game play for the purposes of artificial intelligence or other computational tasks. Importantly, the topics of this workshop do not include playground activities or urban games, pervasive games (e.g. played throughout the day during other activities), and games intended to be played exclusively on the computer (e.g. digital card games such as Hearthstone). Therefore, while a computer-based generator which outputs a map and description which can be played on a tabletop role-playing game such as Dungeons & Dragons is acceptable, should the same generator only output dungeons played on the computer it would not be acceptable. Similarly, a computer simulation (interactive or not) of Chess would be acceptable provided that it simulates a board game (in this case Chess) which can be played on the tabletop. If you have any questions on whether a topic is within scope of this workshop, please contact us at h.aslam@innopolis.ru or j.brown@innopolis.ru for the specific case.

3 Submissions

We welcome submissions as either full papers describing novel research as well as short papers. Note that full papers may be published at the ACM Digital Library under circumstances (depending on the number of accepted papers), but short papers will not.

We futher welcome playable experiences and demos as part of or instead of a normal paper presentation and we will work with accepted submissions in order to allow for the presentation in a space for such demos.

Submissions can be made via EasyChair at the following address:https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=tgatfdg2020

Tabletop games span a broad range of applications, but indicative topics for papers include but not limited to:

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Player/User Experience Testing and Playtest Methodologies.
Design and Manufacturing of Physical Game Objects.
Impact of 3D printing and rapid prototyping.
Rules Generation, Development, and Extraction.
Crowd-Funding Development and Processes.
Social Networks and Discussion Groups on Analog Games.
Impact of YouTube (i.e. video rule-books) on games rules presentation
IoT Technologies in Games Objects.
Procedural Content Generation.
Technology applied to the understanding of play.
Historical Reviews, Post Mortem, and Lessons Learned.
Dos and Don'ts of Game Design.

4 Programme

  • 15:00 Opening Remarks: H.Aslam and J.A.Brown

  • 15:10 Keynote: Board Games as a Gesamtkunstwerk

    Brenna Noonan, Co-Founder, Quillsilver Studio

    Board game creation necessitates the unification of many disparate art forms and methods, from design, to development, to worldbuilding, to art direction, to illustration, to graphic design, to production, to marketing, and more. How do these parts combine in harmonious and innovative ways to create a complete experience? In this talk we will explore the board game creation process through the lens of the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk, resulting in games that are an integrated, holistic work.

  • 15:45 Ideas Session

  • 16:00Using Ant Colony Optimisation for map generation and improving game balance in the Terra Mystica and Settlers of Catan board games

    Rommel Dias Saraiva, Alexandr Grichshenko, Luiz Jonata Pires de Araujo, Bonfim Amaro Junior, Guilherme Nepomuceno de Carvalho

    Game balancing is one of the most challenging features to be implemented in a typical game design process. Approaches for evaluating and achieving game balancing include extensive playtesting - which typically requires several iterations of games with subtle adjustments in the components and adopted strategies that resemble brute force - and algorithmic solutions that use qualitative and measurable design goals when developing game components. The literature contains examples of methods that employ artificial intelligence to generate maps in computer games that offer balanced and fairness of starting conditions for the players. The use of such methods for tabletop games, however, has been scarce in the academic literature, for the best of the authors' knowledge. This paper investigates the application of the ant colony optimisation metaheuristic to generate content and improving game balance for two well-known tabletop games, namely, Terra Mystica and Settlers of Catan. The resultant configurations satisfy complex game-dependent requirements while optimising a model for game balancing. Moreover, the results showed to be promising when compared with existing game maps and setup.

  • 16:20Refugeoly Building a Serious Game through refugee testimonies

    Vinny Montag

    Refugeoly is a Serious Game which it main purpose is not just playing for fun but playing to understand a humanitarian crisis. This board game is designed to experience based in real facts the dramatic journey of refugees trying to get into a country that can give them asylum. Playing Refugeoly turns the player into a refugee and becomes conscience of the real circumstances that a refugee has to go through in the journey to safety. Refugeoly has been built into a game with the testimonies of refugees and NGO volunteers in refugee camps of Greece, Turkey, Spain and France and with information from different organisations. This paper aims to explain the design process, the game mechanics, the different tested game formats, the feedback from the general public, academics and students that have played it and it future development.

  • 16:40Boardgames and Computational Thinking: how to identify games with potential to support CT in the classroom

    Marco Scirea, Andrea Valente

    Boardgames exist that explicitly address Computational Thinking (CT for short) concepts and practices. Some are actual games, while others are more akin to gamified learning activities. And since CT has been formalized only recently, many existing boardgames unknowingly might support aspects of CT. To help educators and game practitioners navigate this complex landscape, we analyze a selected sample of analog games, and propose to categorize their features with respect to CT concepts and practices. The main contribution of this paper is a novel way to identify potential CT-relevant games, that leverages on the authors' experience with digital and analog games, playful and game-based learning. Although limited, this approach appears promising and practical for CT teachers and game designers interested in adapting existing games to the classroom or developing better CT-supporting boardgames.

  • 17:00The making of La Mancha: Games as Literary Criticism

    Christopher Totten

    This paper considers the ways in which game making may be a means for deeply analyzing literary and artistic works. This work is done through a game design postmortem of La Mancha, a storytelling card game based on Miguel de Cervantes' 1605 novel Don Quixote. The game allows players to interact with and reshape moments from the novel through guided storytelling using quotes from books that influenced Cervantes. This postmortem describes two approaches to design: design precedents and the "collected work theory" of game analysis; that were integral to La Mancha's creation. To accomplish this, this postmortem describes previous efforts to translate literary works into tabletop design and the different ways those efforts allow players to interact with their source material's content and themes. It also describes how individual moments from Don Quixote, its themes, and critical analysis were used to design not only the overall game, but individual interactions, cards, and even pieces of artwork for the game. Finally, the role of these concepts in La Mancha's Kickstarter funding campaign and commercial release will be described, including ways which the lessons learned will be incorporated into future works.

  • 17:20 Ideas Session

5 Important Dates

11 May NEW - 31 May 2020Paper submission deadline
11September 2020Workshop
15-18 September 2020Conference

6 Submission Guidelines

We welcome full papers of 5-8 pages in length. We also welcome short papers from 2-4 pages on positions, visions and work in progress on topics that are relevant to the topic of tabletop games: short papers should include some key references. We also encourage the submission of demonstrations of research prototypes and various interesting tabletop designs, which can be accompanied by a long or short paper (of 2-8 pages). Note that full papers may be published at the ACM Digital Library under circumstances (depending on the number of accepted papers), but short papers will not.

Papers submissions will be subject to double-blind peer review, and each submission will be peer reviewed. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to give an oral presentation of their paper at the workshop. All submissions should be anonymized, as the review process is double-blind. All submissions (short and long papers) should be in PDF format and comply with the new ACM format and need to import ACM CCS 2012 concepts. Both LaTeX and Word ACM templates are acceptable for producing the PDF file.

Papers should be submitted through EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=tgatfdg2020

7 Organizers

  • Hamna Aslam received the B.Sc. in Computer Engineering and an M.Sc. in Computer Engineering from UET, Lahore, Pakistan. Previously she was a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Business Management, University of Engineering and Technology Lahore (UET), Pakistan. Besides, Hamna Aslam worked in the energy sector of the government of Pakistan in the capacity of Software Developer. Presently she is a Ph.D. student at University of Toulouse, France and instructor at Innopolis University.

    Her research interests include Human Factors in Gaming, Intuitive Game Design and User testing.

  • Joseph Alexander Brown was born in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Canada, on July 6, 1985. He received the B.Sc. (Hons.) with first-class standing in computer science with a concentration in software engineering, and M.Sc. in computer science from Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada in 2007 and 2009, respectively. He received the Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Guelph in 2014.

    He previously worked for Magna International Inc. as a Manufacturing Systems Analyst and as a visiting researcher at ITU Copenhagen in their Games Group. He is currently an Assistant Professor and Head of the Artificial Intelligence in Games Development Lab at Innopolis University in Innopolis, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada.

    He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, a chair of the yearly Procedural Content Generation Jam (ProcJam). He was the proceedings chair for the IEEE 2013 Conference on Computational Intelligence in Games (CIG) and is Vice-Chair for the IEEE Committee on Games.

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8 Program Committee

  • Daniel Ashlock, University of Guelph
  • Staffan Bjork, University of Gothenburg
  • Michael Cook, Queen Mary University of London
  • Mehmet Kosa, METU
  • Phil Lopes, Immersive Interaction Group, EPFL
  • Brenna Noonan, Quillsilver Studio
  • Luiz Jonata Pires de Araujo, Innopolis University
  • Marco Scirea, University of Southern Denmark
  • Bjorn Straat, Stockholm University
  • Aaron Trammell, Rutgers University
  • Henrik Warpefelt, TBD
  • Joe A. Wasserman, West Virginia University
  • Sofiia Yermolaieva, Innopolis University
  • Jose Zagal, University of Utah
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