Thursday, April 25, 2013

Non-Digital Games Design Workshop with David Parlett

The UCS Computer Games Design course had a non-digital games design workshop on Wednesday, which was facilitated by award-winning games designer, author, games historian and consultant David Parlett. The theme of the workshop was race games. David is the inventor of the Spiel des Jahres winning race-game Hare and Tortoise and the author of many books and articles on games, including The Oxford History of Board Games.

The day began with David giving us something to think about by offering some definitions of race games, including the provocative and controversial idea that chess could be considered a race game (a race to reach the square occupied by the opponent's king, which also gives the concept of a movable home square). He also offered some suggestions on how pieces move, and that there are other ways to move than by simple dice throw. Boards too were considered, as was the aim of the game, and how players interact.

Students and staff soon got stuck-in to devising a mechanic and finding a theme to fit, or stuck with an abstract theme.

A room-full of game designers 

David Parlett discusses progress and mechanics

After lunch, David gave a public lecture on games -- "games appreciation" -- under the title "What Do You Mean, 'It's Only A Game'?". While the talk was well-attended, the overwhelming constituency was made up of staff and students from the games design course.

David Parlett at gives a talk on games at UCS

The day was rounded off by re-convening the workshop to review the presentation of work in progress. Teams gave a notional five-minute presentation, followed by questions and comments.

"The Bee Game"


"Maths Game"

Territory Game (with a Loot mechanic)

"Star Game"

People offered comments and asked questions about the games, and David offered some comments on the games presented. After the end of a full and busy day, David said that he'd enjoyed his visit. He really enjoyed meeting the students and was impressed by many of the novel game concepts they came up with over the course of the day.

All in all, I think it'd be fair to say a good time was had by all, and it was great that we were able to devote a whole day to non-digital games and game design, and to be able to have David Parlett share his knowledge and enthusiasm for games with us. 

No comments: