November 4, 2019

Make Hay While the Sun Shines – Social Critique through Board Games

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The Institute of Digital Games will be present at the Malta International Games Festival to discuss the development of Prof. Stefano Gualeni’s board game Construction BOOM! Mr Jasper Schellekens, who formed part of the small core team that developed the game including IDG Alumna Rebecca Portelli as artist, will be presenting Make Hay While the Sun Shines - Designing Construction BOOM! The presentation will cover the game development process and it will be followed by guided play sessions where you can try the game out.

A Peek into How Board Games are Made

Board Games are interesting to the Institute of Digital Games, as the core gameplay mechanics need to stand on their own, without the support of flashy graphics or quick movements. In this talk Jasper will take people from inspiration to execution of a small resource-management tile game. He will discuss how the game’s core mechanics work in terms of gameplay, but also expand upon how the gameplay mechanics work in relation to the metaphor. Although not quite Board Game Design 101, attendees will see an overview of the production process, from balancing the mechanics in the various iterations to writing the rule book and important aspects we considered for this game. We will then show how the mechanics provide for a critique of the situation of real estate overdevelopment and highlight games’ role in society. Art, literature, and music function are well established as expressive channels and factors of cultural change, criticizing as well as establishing social values and individual opinions. In this presentation, we aim to show how boardgames can be designed to fit a similar bill and contribute to our capability to understand our culture as well as ourselves.

About Prof. Stefano Gualeni and Jasper Schellekens - Board Game Designers – Construction BOOM!

Jasper Schellekens is Research Support Assistant at the Institute of Digital Games since 2013 and has been involved in numerous board game and digital game projects projects. He contributed in all aspects of design and playtesting for Construction BOOM! and is quite confident he can beat Prof. Stefano Gualeni at his own game. He was a playtest lead for Posthuman – Saga, helping refine Might Board’s game of post-apocalyptic survival. He also contributed as an artist and designer for an eye-tracking game developed by PhD student David Melhart which will be presented at MITA on 23rd of November. He is also the main organiser of the Malta Global Game Jam since 2013.

Prof. Stefano Gualeni is the designer of Construction BOOM! He is both a philosopher who designs digital games and a game designer who is passionate about philosophy. Among his best-known playable works are the videogames ‘Tony Tough and the Night of Roasted Moths’ (1997), ‘The Horrendous Parade’ (2012), and ‘Something Something Soup Something’ (2017).

He is currently an Associate Professor at the Institute of Digital Games (University of Malta). In his work, he explores the possibility to pursue philosophical thought in ways that are not exclusively linguistic. Towards this objective, he uses virtual worlds as tools to practically experience and manipulate ideas, world-views, and thought-experiments.

A recent academic book of his, 'Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools' (Palgrave, 2015), identifies computers as gateways to experience alternative possibilities of being and as instruments to (re)design ourselves and our cultures. His contributions to the edited volumes 'Experience Machines: Philosophy in Virtual Worlds' (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), 'Towards a Philosophy of Digital Media' (Palgrave, 2018), and 'The Architectonics of the Virtual' (Transcript, 2019) focus on the existential effects and possibilities disclosed by virtual technologies.

In summer, he is a Visiting Professor at the Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) in Laguna Beach, California.

Board Game Design Lab – Board Game Nights at Institute of Digital Games

You know one of the best ways to learn how to design board games? Play board games! Learn about how you handle the mechanics and process the experience. The Institute of Digital Games organising a monthly board game night in their building. The Board Game Night happens every last Friday of the month and starts at 19:00. Attendance is free and attendees will have access to the institute's board game library of 70+ games.

Board Game nights at the Institute of Digital Games

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