Renaissance Rivals Print-and-Play

Compete for knowledge, favor and glory as one of the greatest artists the world has ever known! Renaissance Rivals is a 2-4 player game of artistic competition that can be played in about an hour. Players take on the role of one of five artists of the Italian Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonnaroti, Raphael Sanzio, Sister Plautilla Nelli, or Moretto da Brescia. Over the course of the game, your artist will move around a "map" of Italy (represented by a 4 x 4 grid of cards, subdivided into Florence, Milan, and Rome) as you use the cards drawn from your artist’s deck to obtain Commissions and complete your artist’s eight unique Masterpieces. On a typical turn, you will draw four cards from your deck to collect Influence points (which allow you to acquire Commission cards) and Advancement points (required to complete your artist’s Masterpieces). Every time you acquire a Commission, you must decide whether to add the card to your deck to generate more resources i…

Meaningful Decisions: Diversity and Inclusion in History-Themed Board Games

Paper presented at Canadian Game Studies Association Conference, June 7, 2019

“While the rhetoric around ‘games as motivators’ is widespread, there is little research evidence that this is the case, and while they may motivate some learners, their use may actually exclude others.”
-Nicola Whitton, “Games for Learning: Creating a Level Playing Field or Stacking the Deck?”
By exposing players to historical subject matter via an activity that is designed to maximize player engagement and motivation, history-themed games would seem to offer an invaluable resource for educators in history and the humanities.But if one of the principal advantages of using games in the classroom is that it accomodates diverse learning styles and appeals to a broader range of students than traditional pedagogical methods,[1] than educators should be especially concerned with the question of whether a given game makes good on the promise that game-based learning, in and of itself, can make classroom learning more…

How Games Acquire Mana

Like many people, I have a long commute. The university where I teach is located almost an hour’s drive west from the city in which I live. Since I got into boardgaming, I have filled this temporal void by listening to podcasts. One of the most popular podcasts in the boardgaming hobby is The Dice Tower, hosted by boardgame reviewer Tom Vasel and voice actor Eric Summerer. It consists mainly of boardgame reviews, along with the ever-popular “Top 10” countdowns and occasional interviews. A recurring feature are the “GameTek” segments hosted by game designer and author Geoff Engelstein, which analyze different aspects of game design and gameplay from a theoretical perspective, incorporating insights from psychology, economics and statistics as well as computing and artifical intelligence.

On my drive home from work last Thursday I was listening to Dice Tower episode #574, Top 10 Relaxing Games, which featured a GameTek segment on the use of specialized terminology in games. The segm…