Talk Abstract: Board games introduce players to the logic and concepts that are relied upon in programming practices. This is because board games rely on the relationship between the rules, components, and players to perform computational tasks. Thinking through analog games as computational platforms highlight their capacity for education. Specifically, the act of following the rules and interacting with a game’s systems players are taught not only how to act and interpret rules, procedures, but are also introduced to the functional logic found in programming. This presentation offers two ways to engage with the board game as a tool for teaching programing literacy and communication skills necessary for describing computational processes. The first being games that explicitly ask players to perform programming-like problem solving during play. Games like Nicki Valens’ Quirky Circuits are designed so that players engage in the process of assembling actions in a way that evokes the structure of imperative programming languages. Second, board game rules must remain human readable while still describing complex processes that mimic digital computation, participating in game design the analog game design process facilitates communication of complex rule-based procedures. Linking these two themes together illuminates the role of analog gaming in digital education.
Panel Abstract: Research indicates that games are learning spaces, but this argument is often limited to digital/video games. Research on board games and learning is still limited. Yet, the resurgence of board games calls the attention of researchers interested in learning and enhancing learning in different settings, and with different tools. Participants in this session will discuss the learning potential of board games from different perspectives.