mardi 19 juin 2018

Interview in the Chroniques d'Altarides [french]

No. 42, pp. 56-58.

Benoît Chérel, editor of the Chroniques d'Altarides, invited me for an interview in his open access TRPG magazine. I talk about my role-playing gamer past, and also about my current academic projects on TRPG : teachings, databases, this blog, graphs, publications, etc.

You can download the issue no. 42, or read it online, or order a paper copy.

vendredi 15 juin 2018

Call for Papers: Essays on Transmedia Storytelling, Tabletop Role-Playing, and Fandom

Call for Papers: Essays on Transmedia Storytelling, Tabletop Role-Playing, and Fandom

[a chapter]
Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2018
Editors : Jennifer Grouling & Stephanie Hedge
contact email:

This edited collection will be a part of McFarland & Company, Inc.’s Studies in Gaming series. It will be peer reviewed.

vendredi 1 juin 2018

Side-Quests & Character Sheets: Four Handouts to gamify the ACRL's Framework Threshold Concepts [WILU 2018 Lightning talk]

My character sheet

I will be presenting a lighning talk at the WILU Conference 2018, in Ottawa next week. 3 of my 4 handouts are based on role-playing game designs.
  • The « scholarly character sheet » is for my graduate students in information literacy courses. It is used to assess the previous skills and knowledge of the students, show them the program of the activities to come and then, at the end of the workshops, as a wrap-up and measurement of progress. It is available in open access (CC-BY), with the teacher presentation and the whole WILU presentation.
  • The other two are self-driven « side-quests » with minimum mentoring. One is about begining to contribute to Wikipédia, the other is about starting your own blog on your research topic [mise en abîme: I actually started this blog to test this learning activity]. They are also available in open access (CC-BY)
I will give more details soon, as I will present them again in Montreal during the Colloque des bibliothèques de l’enseignement supérieur (November 13th, 2018).

lundi 28 mai 2018

North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA): 2018 registrations are open

Registration is open for the 2018 annual conference of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association, to be held on 16-19 October in Rochester, NY.
« The North American Simulation and Gaming Association (NASAGA) is THE home for instructional designers, game developers, performance improvement specialists, consultants, trainers, teachers, and educators who use active learning methods to increase engagement, enhance retention, and improve performance. The conference is an interactive experience! Breakout sessions let attendees brainstorm, collaborate, and play games with a focus on learning and improving results. Attend the conference to share your expertise, gain inspiration, experiment with a new idea, and meet one of the founders of the organization. [source: NASAGA website]»
(via PaxSims)

vendredi 18 mai 2018

Role Playing in Children’s Literature. Zilpha Keatley Snyder and The Egypt Game [Review of peer-reviewed article]

The Egypt Game, 1st ed.
Martin, Cathlena. “Role Playing in Children’s Literature. Zilpha Keatley Snyder and The Egypt Game.American Journal of Play 10, no. 2 (2018): 208–28. 

Gaming scholar Cathlena Martin is demonstrating how The Egypt Game (1967), a famously acclaimed children novel by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, preceded (and maybe influenced) the role-playing gameplay designs of Dungeons & Dragons (1974). Through the TRPG elements of world building, collaboration, role playing and immersion, she is showing how :
« Snyder codifies in her fiction and presents to young readers is a game in which a player assumes the identity of a character in a fictional setting. (...) [the players] do voluntarily create unnecessary obstacles and attempt to overcome them when they play their Egypt Game. To use computer game terminology, it is a game that resides in an open world or sandbox state of immersive creativity, which means it offers more freedom of choice than the usual linear structures of game play.  And it is a game that includes rules the players agreed to bring enacted via role playing.» (p. 225-226)

Moreover, the novel is also an invitation to design and play your own game :
« As the children create their game, they model role playing for readers. This children’s novel is not merely an escape, but also a guidebook, establishing possibilities for other children to read about and enact. (...) when you read The Egypt Game you are being shown possibilities for role playing that you can perform whether in a playground, in an abandoned lot, around a table, or at a computer. » (p. 226)

jeudi 10 mai 2018

On the shoulders of dwarves: Citation practices in tabletop role-playing games

Dwarf on the shoulders of a giant. Detail of a german book, XVe, Library of Congress.

I am collecting citation practices in TRPG to make a paper of it someday. As a librarian interested
in scientific publishing, the motto On the shoulders of giants resonates strongly inside me, and I am making sure it resonates in the ears of my students every day.

I was happily touched by what Romaric Briand said on his 31th podcast La Cellule when he was asking a friend to playtest his last game Vade+Mecum (red is from me) :
« (01:42:30) In Vade+Mecum, everytime I am using a mechanic from another game, I insist to cite its author and his game. (...) So people who read my game can go to see other games and see what it looks like.

» It's all because this scientific serious methods we learned at the university (...) : when you have an idea, it doesn't come from nowhere. The least you can do is to provide a bibliography and a precise citation. Not at the end of your book, where nobody goes. Not in the aknowledgements, where nobody knows what you are thanking for. But in the body of the text. (...)

» [I wrote a RPG theory named the Maelstrom] Thanks to your tests, your experiment, you saw the limits of my theory. We almost have a scientific TRPG here. Played RPGs sessions are an experimentation of the theory. (...) They test its limits, they inspire critics and make me grow because they make me see stuff I didn't see before. (...)

» By making ourselves acessible, clear and simple, we get stronger. We are opening ourselves to critics and it make us grow and go forward. » 

1) His game Vade+Mecum seems to be the first game ever to cite its ludographic references in the body of the text. Congratulations! Since the "independant" movement in TRPG publishing, I noticed TRPGs are more and more citing their references. Examples :
2) Romaric Briand also shared an interesting idea: a role-playing game session can test a role-playing game theory. By its iterative designs, designing, running and assessing a TRPG can look like a scientific method. I spoke about it a little in an interview I gave to the Chroniques d’Altaride (no. 42).

The title of this post is for fun. It's important to « climb on the shoulders of dwarves to slap the elves who doesn't stop complaining about how it was better before.» There is no link with the excellent podcast On the Shoulders of Dwarves.

mardi 24 avril 2018

Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations [book release], Sebastian, and José Zagal, eds. Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations. London: Routledge, 2018.
A new multidisciplinary academic book on TRPG. The editors gathered most of the renown authors in the field to write chapters on TRPG with different disciplinary angles.
Without conflict of interest, I suggest you ask your college or university librarian to buy it. I did.
Bowman, Sarah Lynne, and Andreas Lieberoth. “Psychology and Role-Playing Games.” In Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations, edited by Sebastian Deterding and José P. Zagal. London: Routledge, 2018.
A very clear, evidence-based and comprehensive chapter about everything you wanted to know about TRPG and psychology. It is partially readable via Google Books.