Jori Linnamäki is a PhD student at Tampere University, making his doctoral dissertation in Games Research about in-game thinking of players, ethical processes in game design, and understanding the connection between psychodrama and live games. He is curious about the potential of games to help us grow as humans. In his other professional life, he is a teacher (M. Ed.), drama instructor (BTA), Playback Theatre trainer, Psychodrama Director (CP), game designer and a supervisor. In all his fields, Linnamäki works with interaction systems and is searching for creative ways and methods to improve interaction, combining all his different professional fields.
An approach to board game design that centres allyship and empowers trans people
FROG 2020 – Short Talk
Josephine Baird (Uppsala University)
The Uppsala University Games & Society Lab started a game project with the Neuroscience Department with the aim to support trans people. During the reflective design and testing process things changed, partly due to ethical processing and partly due to COVID-19. This included changes in the team composition as well the nature of the game from an identity exploration edu-larp to a board game about protecting trans people from microaggressions. The design process was challenging, which inspired us to write an article about the process and its ethics. The article also provided guidelines for other designers working with and for vulnerable target groups. In this presentation, we explore the game design as well as the design and research process it inspired. In the board game, the board represents the trans person facing microaggressions and the players play allies trying to defend the trans person. The game is targeted at allies or the support network of trans people, helping them develop their allyship skills. Our design process was guided by Shaw’s (2011) criteria for ethical representation. We also created a model for an ethical design process, inspired heavily by Frame and Williams’ (2005) model for ethical decision making from a multicultural perspective. The questions we explore in this presentation are, how do we make a board game that has allies as the active party but at the same time it won’t be disempowering for trans people? What skills do allies need to be good allies? And how this led to the model for ethical game design we used and now propose.