FDG2018 | 1st Workshop on Tabletop Games

August 7-10 | Malmö, Sweden

1 Introduction

Tabletop games have seen an increase in sophistication, and a desire to explore new themes, mechanisms and play complexity, and even innovate technologically. Tabletop games have also been consistently popular over the years, with ever larger conventions, publicity, and community involvement. Finally, there is a broad range of research interest in tabletop games from the functional aspects of board game play (abstracted for artificial intelligence play) to anthropological studies of role-playing or historical studies of proceduralism on the tabletop. However, much of this research occurs in isolation, without sufficient interaction between researchers in this broad application field. The goal of this workshop is to advance knowledge in tabletop games by bringing together researchers and fostering discussion about the current state of the field. Moreover, it serves to establish connections and link research topics and researchers in this highly interdisciplinary field.

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 the organizers at tg2018@easychair.org for the specific case.

3 Submissions

We welcome submissions as either full papers describing novel research (up to 6 pages) as well as short papers (2 pages).

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

  • Ethnographic studies on playing or designing board game play.
  • Comparisons between specific board games or a study in a game’s historical evolution in case of multiple editions and remakes.
  • Studies in design patterns, taxonomies or other elements of board games.
  • A procedural reading of board game design.
  • Board games for a purpose (e.g. education, psychological support, training).
  • Artificial Intelligence for playing board games, card games, or tabletop role-playing games.
  • Automated generation of board game elements (rules, pawns, board setups, cards, tabletop role-playing dungeons, ...).
  • Technology-mediated board game play, e.g. as game master, time keeper, or audiovisual stimulus.
  • Lessons learned from commercial (or otherwise) board game design (including post-mortems)
  • Critical analysis of board games.
  • Board game design informed by game studies research.

4 Submission Guidelines

We welcome research papers of up to 6 pages in length. We also welcome short papers 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 pages). Submissions for game demos and other artifacts will be open at a later date, but accompanied descriptions will not be published.

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 ACM SIGCONF format and need to import ACM CCS 2012 concepts. Both LaTeX and Word ACM SIGCONF templates are acceptable for producing the PDF file.

Papers should be submitted through EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=tg2018

5 Important Dates

May 31 Paper submission deadline
June 15Notification to authors
June 31Camera-ready submission
August 7-10
(half day)

6 Programme

The workshop takes place on August 7, 16:00-18:00
16:00-16:20Designing a Questionnaire for Tabletop Gaming Motivations by Mehmet Kosa and Pieter Spronck
16:20-16:50Player Perceptions of Fairness in Oddly Shaped Dice by Francesco Boschi, Hamna Aslam and Joseph Alexander Brown
16:50-17:10Blood Bowl: The Next Board Game Challenge for AI by Niels Justesen, Sebastian Risi and Julian Togelius
17:10-17:40Drawing without Replacement as a Game Mechanic by Fernando de Mesentier Silva, Christoph Salge, Aaron Isaksen, Julian Togelius and Andy Nealen
17:40-18:00Demonstrations and Group Discussion

7 Organizers

  • Antonios Liapis is a Lecturer at the University of Malta. He has organized numerous workshops at FDG, AIIDE and ICCC. He is the general chair of EvoMusArt conference (2018-2019) and has served as local chair (2016) and demonstrations chair (2019) at the Computational Intelligence and Games conference. He is a Guest Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Games special issue on AI-assisted and AI-based Game Design and a chapter author for the book Procedural Content Generation in Games. His research interests include the mixed-initiative design of game content, procedural content generation, digital aesthetics and human-computer interaction. He has received several awards for his research contributions and reviewing effort.
  • Cameron Browne is an Associate Professor at Maastricht University's Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) where he is running the five year Digital Ludeme Project funded by the European Research Council (ERC). He received a PhD Queensland University of Technology (QUT), winning the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Thesis. He is the author of the books ​Hex Strategy, ​Connection Games and Evolutionary Game Design, which won the 2012 GECCO "Humies" award for human-competitive results in evolutionary computation. He is a Section Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Games and the ​International Computer Games Association (ICGA) ​journal, and Editor-in-Chief of ​Game & Puzzle Design.
  • Web Design and Management

    David Melhart is a PhD student at the University of Malta, where he is a member of the Institute of Digital Games. His research focuses on artificial intelligence in games, affective computing for games user research, and AI-assisted game design, under the supervision of Georgios N. Yannakakis and Antonios Liapis.

8 Program Committee

  • Michael Cook, Falmouth University
  • Amalia Kallergi, Tilburg University
  • Mehmet Kosa, METU
  • Phil Lopes, University of Geneva
  • Tobias Mahlmann, Moon Mill Studios
  • Emily Short, Spirit AI
  • Fernando Silva, New York University
  • Pieter Spronck, Tilburg University
  • Björn Strååt, Stockholm University
  • Anne Sullivan, University of Central Florida
  • Aaron Trammell, Rutgers University
  • Mike Treanor, American University
  • Henrik Warpefelt, Uppsala University
  • Joe A. Wasserman, West Virginia University