mercredi 19 septembre 2018

2018-2019 Role-playing Projects

  • Designing TREx, a thesaurus on TRPG: 80% done
  • Writing essays on :
    • Hospitality, hosting and TRPG: 20% done 
    • Citations practices in published TRPG: 20%
    • Piracy and downloading practices of TRPG: 10%
  • «Donjons & Données probantes» (Evidence-based Dungeons)
  • Reingineering of the Zotero database (new keywords from TRex, selection of content): 90%
  • Roleplayification of information literacy learning activities

lundi 20 août 2018

ThesaurusRex: a controlled vocabulary thesaurus for RPGs

Merci Faerandel !

Sébastien Delfino the ludographer invited me to design a controlled vocabulary thesaurus for indexing and retrieving informations in references database about :
  • Research on role-playing games;
  • RPG game designs;
  • RPG techniques.
Browse and comment ThesaurusRex here

From now on, I will use it to index my database on RPG: ZOtRPG. This database will include more and more references on game designs and techniques (before it was more focused on academic research). Related topics are moved to another database : ZOtRPG_B-side (literature, video game, games, gamification, etc.).
You can use it for your own information system (blog tags, reference manager, etc.). The rules of a thesaurus are:
  1. Only one keyword for all synonyms of the same concept possibles.
    Example: game master = used for GM, dungeon master, DM, arcane keeper, referee, etc.
  2. If the keywords are organized hierarchically, it allows the user to navigate in concepts.Example: mechanics > task resolution > action > extended action. If the user starts a research with pacing + action, and if he wants to go further, the thesaurus shows him which keywords to combine with pacing.
  3. « By using this keyword to retrieve informations, does the user will be satisfied by this reference? ». If the answer is Yes: you can attribute this keyword to your reference.

jeudi 9 août 2018

Bibliometry 101: role-play in PubMed

I recently read in the awesome Role-Playing Game Studies :
« By 1960, the concept [of role-play] had been introduced in settings ranging from schools (Gillies 1948) to industry (Bavelas 1947) to prisons (Lassner 1950). Many papers would follow. Having been wholly absent from psychology journals before 1948, "role-playing" appeared as a keyword in three Pubmed citations in 1960, rising to a hundred papers per year in 1975 and even more thereafter. » (Bowman & Lieberoth 2018, p. 245)
PubMed is an open access database. Researching the keyword "role-play*" leads to this result. It is possible to export a CSV file, import it in Excel and produce this:
"Role Playing" term was created as a MESH (Medical Subject Headings, the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus) in 1991. Before the term redirected to "psychodrama" (from 1975 to 1990).
Bowman, Sarah Lynne, & Andreas Lieberoth. 2018. « Psychology and Role-Playing Games ». In Role-Playing Game Studies: Transmedia Foundations, edited by Sebastian Deterding & José P. Zagal, 245‑64. London: Routledge.

mardi 31 juillet 2018

Questions in TRPG: socratic questioning & improv theater

The question the gamemaster traditionnaly asks is « What are you doing? » However, since the fashion of the TRPG inspired by Apocalypse World, the gamemaster asks more and more authorial questions in game to his players. For example, « Tell me right now why you are the ennemy of this person? », « Describe me this city you visited once. », etc.

This kind of exchange is based on the improvisation theater, where each participant build with good willing on the previous proposals with minimum negation. It is also based on socratic questioning, a pedagogical and psychological technique that uses a series of questions:
  • focused on the current fiction,
  • stimulating (relevant, surprising, challenging, with valued answers)
  • summarizing (synthesis or reinforcement of previous proposals)
  • Inquisition: bad bad questioning
  • inclusive (to draw all the players in the fiction).
It asks a lot of preparation and/or experience from the gamemaster. The risks are that he can be (or
perceived to be) non-respectful, non-interesting, incompetent, manipulating or lazy. For example :
  • the questions are hiding a lack of preparation
  • the questions are adversarial to the players
  • the answers offered have no value
  • the players have to answer what the GM wants to hear,...
To ask good questions, the principles are :
  • trust (the gamemaster will not humiliate or punish the players)
  • reciprocity (the gamemaster learns from the players, values theirs answers and answers their questions)
  • openness («what’s going to happen, why, what students will get out of the experience, the risks involved, and how it may feel»[Handelsman]).
  • fair (each player is consider equal). 
This post is inspired from Is the Socratic Method Unethical? by Mitchell M. Handelsman.

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).