mercredi 21 novembre 2018

TRPG Elements to Engage Students in Information Literacy Workshops

I had the chance to participate to a librarian conference in Québec (colloque BES-CPI). I presented 6 gamified activities (3 with TRPG elements) to improve the engagement of the university students in the information literacy workshops.

Download the presentation presented in English at McGill U. one week later : (the original in French
(CC-BY Pascal Martinolli UdeM)

My librarian flavors : Hospitality + Science + Game
(/RPG + Simulation + Science populatization)
Photo: Lëa-Kim Châteauneuf, CC BY:SA
150+ participants came from all Québec province, mostly from higher education (universities, cégeps, engineer & business schools). Exective staff, librarians & technicians. A great opportunity to show how interesting TRPG can be used to design active learning activities (I was cited in the next 3 presentations, so I think I made an impact). The 3 roleplayified activities were :
  • A scholarly character sheet ;
  • Publish & Perish ;
  • Self-driven side-quests.
I will develop these activities in future posts. Thanks to my fellow coworkers at the BLSH for your help and support. Thanks to the participants of the Donjons & Donnees probantes study day where I playtested a part of this presentation.

mercredi 31 octobre 2018

Torgos Zooth teaches Zotero on Halloween

Right : Torgos Zooth is teaching Zotero, the open source bibliographic manager, at the university, on Halloween 2018.

He is the moon man majordomo of the poetic and deadly Maze of the Blue Medusa, Zak Sabbath & Patrick Stuart, 2016, Satyr Press.

The shape is from the tradition of giant heads of the Nice carnival parades.

Below : a do-it-yourself poster of the design process.

lundi 29 octobre 2018

How to Organize a One-page Wikipédia Editathon ?

Our library hosted an editathon workshop to create and develop the Wikipédia page Jeu de rôle sur table au Québec (tabletop role-playing games in Quebec). Here is my report of the event.


  1. Use this dashboard to record the contributions and avoid IP address ban. Example.
  2. If the page doesn't exist yet :
    1. Write a short paragraph to introduce the page, without source (keep it for the demo in the workshop).
    2. Create all the pertinent sections and sub-sections.
    3. In the source code of the page.
      1. At the beginning, add the banner
        {{under construction |placedby=username|2018-10-24}}
      2. At the end of the page, add categories and portals.
      3. In Discussion, explain the page is part of a editathon workshop. Example.
  3. Prepare sources (and sourcerers!).
    1. URL in a shared folder.
    2. PDF in a shared folder.
    3. Encylopedias & dictionaries.
    4. Books.
    5. (one or more librarians to help find and assess sources).

Editathon workshop

  1. Receive your guests. Ask them to
    1. Connect with their Wikipédia account
    2. Subscribe the Dashboard with an URL placed in a txt file in a shared folder
  2. Demonstration
    1. Short introduction (max. 5-10 min.) on : how to write, how to cite and how to link pages.
    2. How to cite: Take a source you prepared for the short introduction paragraph. Show how to make an automatic citation + modify to improve it. Cancel. Then show how to make a manual citation. Publish with documenting what was done, insisting it is important.
  3. You are the editor
    1. Ask who wants to edit what.
    2. Ask them to click on Modify for the selected section, not for the whole page (because everybody is on it).
    3. Ask them to compose their text in the notepad software, then copy-paste it when finished to reduce the time the page is on hold.
  4. Go!

Final notes

  • Everybody can come and go and leave.
  • Some people will edit at the same time but remotely, they are mostly admins who supervise and verify what's going on.
  • Thanks to the scanned archives of the BAnQ !
  • Thanks to Catherine Bernier, Raymonde Champagne, Benjamin Constantineau et Mathieu Thomas for your help !
  • After 2h of workshop, the page was born. It weighted 1800 words and 24 sources. The parents are expecting a Featured article ★ status within one year.

jeudi 18 octobre 2018

Exhibition Donjons & Données probantes in the Université de Montréal

From October 17 to 25, 2018, the Library of humanities and social sciences of Université de Montréal is hosting an exhibition named Donjons & Données probantes («Evidence-Based Dungeons») on the academic research and tabletop role-playing games.
Designed by Sébastien Savard and me, this exhibition shows :
  • how the scientific studies answered the moral panic of the 80s ?
  • how the academic and para-academic researches reattributed the original authorship to the creation of tabletop roleplaying games ?
  • how and why the design of D&D evolved through the decades ?
  • what designed the Québec and Canadian publishers and authors ?
  • how the innovations in game design evolved from 1974 to 2018 ?

Different editions of D&D (from Dave Arneson basement in 1971 to the 5th ed.)
Scientific peer-reviewed answers to the moral panics of the 80s
do-it-yourself culture in the design of TRPG (side A)
culture in the design of TRPG (side B)
Québec authors and publishers
Walkthrough map by Jason Bradley Thompson (@mockman) : OSR, dungeon crawl & humor in The Tomb of Horrors
(a link with a lot of maps)
Nouvelle-France map of the XVIIe by Dyson Logos for the Scenario from Ontario (Ennie award 2018)
Map homemade with pencil and Photoshop, illustrating how TRPG can inspire a strong engagement in self-learning (author: Zulaan)
Hidden level : « On the shoulders of dwarves » or a Timeline of innovations in TRPG designs from 1974 à 2018

dimanche 14 octobre 2018

Greg Stafford (scholarly) obituary

While studying the citation practices in the tabletop role-playing games industry, I was very touched to find that Runequest 1st ed. and 2nd ed. were among the earlier published products to clearly cite and credit previous role-playing game authors for their innovative designs. Dave Arneson then Gary Gygax (in this order) then Ken St-Andre, are cited in a dedication on the first line, on the first page of the rule book.
In the first edition, the dedication is followed by a list of playtesters and inspirations. At page 116, there is half page of bibliographic references.
In the second edition, the critics, special thanks and contributors of Alarum & Excursions, The Wild Hunt and The Lords of Chaos are added to the playtesters. At page 111, there is a full page of bibliographic references, citing not only literature material (Tolkien, Leiber, Howard,...) but also 27 tabletop role-playing games !

The editor and worldbuilder was Greg Stafford
. I need to find more evidence to compare, but I consider it quite something for 1978.

lundi 1 octobre 2018

October 1st : API Dave Arneson Game Day

October 1st became recently the « Dave Arneson Game Day » in honor of the unsung co-author of the first tabletop role-playing game. That an opportunity to test the API of Zotero, ie. a way to request informations from its database.
Arneson's Blackmoor
  • tag : _arneson
  • 446523 : database ID
  • format=bib : create a bibliography
  • & : add a request (AND)
  • q= : search words in Creator and Title.
  • + : to separate the words, instead of space.
  • -_fr : without the tag _fr (note the dash at the beginning) || _gygax&format=bib
  • || (with space before and after, sometimes use %20 instead of space) : used to group item (OR).
 More information on search syntax for Zotero API. The maximum number of references displayes is 150. To browse the full database, visit it at Zotero.

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