As a student in a video game design class in university, a field trip to play board games may not be expected as part of the curriculum.
But that’s the case for Aaron Langille’s students. He’s a computer science professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury. Recently, he took his students to a board game cafe.
“I think it’s really important that they immerse themselves in a little bit of board game culture in order to push their video game design skills,” he said.
Langille says board games are a natural predecessor to video games. He says both are still popular, and adds board games are going through a renaissance period.
“A lot of my students probably spend almost as much time playing board games as they do playing video games,” he said.
Classic board games, such as Risk, Monopoly and Clue are available in the traditional way, and many are also available in electronic gaming form. Langille says he’s noticed a shift the other way as well.
Video games influencing board games
“What’s happening between board games and video games is more of loop,” he said.
“It’s a design and development loop where the board games have always influenced the video games but now the video games as also influencing the board games.”
He says the field trip allows students to think about the relationship between board and video games.
That trip is followed up with an assignment, which asks students to think about what it would take to change a board game into a video game.
“It allows them to think about the design aspects without having to worry as much about creating a game from scratch,” he said.