Simulating Leadership

From Veronica Brown:

Many games help learners to retain new information, but it takes another type of game to help them discover and use new interpersonal skills, such as how to lead others. How can we simulate leadership skills in games so that learners can discover and practice them?

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Evaluation of Games

How do we know if a game we designed (or helped others to design) was successful?

It depends on the objective (fun, education, training), but what tools from other disciplines can we steal or develop to aid in the assessment and iteration of game designs. In this session, we’ll look at games or game systems we’ve created or participated in and brainstorm or discuss methods to evaluate them.

What results would substantiate a game’s inclusion in a curriculum? How do we improve games (balance, mechanics, etc) based on the feedback and evaluation results?

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Crafting the elevator pitch for games and learning to the skeptical audience

Even with research, theoretical grounding, and real-world experience on our side, many of us find ourselves in the position of having to make an succinct and effective case for the link between games and learning to a skeptical potential participant or stakeholder.

Often, we need make this case at a crucial moment: Time is of the essence, there is almost always an audience waiting to hear how we respond to the skeptic, and lost credibility is hard to regain. How do we avoid rambling and blather in lieu of a quick, compelling, emotionally-affecting response?

  • Are there existing works out there that serve this purpose?
  • What are your success stories from similar situations?
  • What tactics should we definitely avoid?
  • Can we make something that fits on the back of a business card?
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Academic Metagames

Academics love to reflect on ourselves and our discipline. It’s no surprise that the academic novel is alive and well, and the confessional academic blog past has practically become its own genre. I’m interested in exploring another genre: the academic metagame, or games which explore some of the actions and traditions of higher education through their play. Over the past year, a group of game-inclined academics (including myself) have made a number of academic metagames as part of an ongoing game-a-week-ish challenge. Here’s some of the games we’ve come up with looking at everything from IRB review to work-life balance:

Academia seems to lend itself to exploration through the procedural rhetoric of games (Lee Skallerup Bessette’s “Adjunct Run” is a great example.) I think this ease emerges from the same similarities that made the concept of gamification such a hit in higher education–putting academia (and its oddities) into game form makes us more aware of how much of a game it was in the first place.

I’d love to work with others interested in higher education on brainstorming / dissecting / making / critiquing academic metagames, and see what else we can do with this as a genre.

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#GamerGate… WTF?

I’d love to have a conversation about diversity in gaming, diversity in tech…  And what to do in the face of belligerent trolling.  At least in my Twitter feed, it’s been an ugly few months with folks (ok, men/boys) attacking some women I tremendously respect: Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Leigh Alexander, and on and on.

I think it would be a shame to let the opportunity for a meaningful conversation to pass.  There are lots of directions this conversation could go: best practices in engaging/blocking/reporting trolls, diversity in storytelling/character development/game design, advocating for people in and around games beyond white, American, straight, men/boys (of which I am one).

If you missed the #GamerGate awfulness, read this recent blog post in the New York Times for a brief summary.  While you’re at it, play Quinn’s Depression Quest, watch Sarkeesian’s latest Feminist Frequency video, or read one of Alexander’s best articles.  See what we’d all lose if #GamerGate got their way.

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Build Me Something!

The intellectual transformation of course-imparted knowledge into something other than a 10 page paper seems a worthy endeavor. With a minimal investment in time, and some well-scaffolded assignments, students can produce a game that reinforce the acquisition of course knowledge. I’m interested in discussing some methods for implementing a game design&build assignment into a topical class.

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Classrooms under Microscope

Have you wanted to try an RPG in the classroom and were unsure how the students would react? Many of us have heard the success stories of Reacting to the Past as an RPG platform in the classroom. But what if the available RttPs don’t match your subject matter? I’d like to use this session to discuss some alternative RPG titles and modes of classroom implementation and assignment development. I’d also like to share my experience with the implementation of Ben Robbins’ wonderful Microscope RPG into a faculty member’s Religion 101 course.

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Registration is Open!


Registration is now open for THATCamp Games 2014: NASAGA Edition! Join us in Baltimore for workshops, games, conversations, debates, writing, game jams, making, and play! For planning purposes, this year’s unconference will include sessions, workshops, and social events on Saturday followed by a game jam and workshops on Sunday morning through noon. If you’d like to propose a workshop or organized reflective play session, contact me at anastasia.salter (at) You do not need to register for NASAGA 2014 to attend any of the unconference.

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Announcing THATCamp Games 2014: NASAGA Edition!

THATCamp Games, a themed humanities and technology unconference embracing games and learning of all kinds, will take place October 11-12 in Baltimore. If you’re interested in learning more about games and game design in the humanities, as part of research, or in relation to pedagogy and learning, this unconference is for you. No matter how much knowledge of games in the humanities you have coming in, you’ll leave with new skills and new ideas.

Some of the things you can expect at THATCamp Games include:

  • A half-day of workshops on Sunday with a game jam for collaborative design
  • New ideas and inspiration on games, pedagogy, technology and research organized by you, the participants
  • A game room for impromptu sessions and socializing
  • Lots of  great conversations and new games!

You can learn more about previous THATCamp Games conferences at our 2012 and 2013 conference websites.



THATCamp Games 2014 will be co-located with the 2014 North American Simulation and Gaming Association Conference on “Playing Stories, Sharing Worlds: Imagining Games for Learning” in Baltimore, Maryland. We’ll be at the Sheraton City Center near the inner harbor and inspiring venues including the Visionary Art Museum, National Aquarium and Port Discovery. The conference will include workshops, posters, playful sessions and explorations of physical, digital and mixed reality games for learning. To propose a session for the main conference, submit by June 1st. You do not need to be registered for the main NASAGA conference to attend THATCamp Games.

While there is no funding available to support attending THATCamp Games itself, NASAGA does have scholarships available by application.

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