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Photo Credit: Board Gamer

 

For the inaugural meeting of the Tabletop Games Research (TGR) research group, I have picked Bruno Faidutti’s Mascarade, a card game for 2-13 players which is all about bluffing and counter-bluffing. This is a relatively straightforward game to play, which normally takes around 30 minutes per round, depending on how devious people are feeling!

I am interested in the role-playing element of this game, and specifically how people may or may not get into the character of their allotted card persona based on the relatively straightforward instructions that have been provided. In my own research, I use roleplaying to try and get people to talk about serious societal issues (such as climate change), and one of the challenges that I face in doing so is in enabling people to get properly ‘into character’, and the importance of doing so. I hypothesise that by playing a character people are able to discuss opinions and feelings more freely than they would normally be able to do so, as they are able to hide behind the mask of their adopted persona.

In this first session, we will also have the chance to discuss the purpose and objectives of this group, which we hope will promote research into gaming while providing a relaxed space for researchers from across the University (including those who aren’t writing on gaming) to meet up. At this point perhaps we might discuss:

  • Who are we?
  • What is the role of gaming in our research (is it about games, or inspired by them)?
  • What purpose might a gaming research group have (do we have, or need, a ‘mission statement’)?
  • What longer-term plans might we wish to consider?

In preparation for playing Mascarade, I recommend watching this excellent play through from GreyElephant gaming:

And here is an explanation of the game mechanics, and also a review of the game itself, from the good folk at Starlit Citadel:

DISCLAIMER: I know that some people have issues with the way in which these Starlit Citadel reviews are set up, mainly because they are a little ‘too polished’, and ‘dispassionate’. However, I think that they provide an objective overview of the pros and cons of the game, as well as an alternative method of describing the rules that some people may find useful.

Sam Illingworth