Klemens Franz

Klemens Franz studied “Information Management” in Graz and “Digital Games Research and Design” in Tampere, Finland. He worked as an assistant for new media technologies at the FH Joanneum. In 2006 he founded the atelier198 where he has worked on over 300 analogue games as an illustrator, graphic designer and editor. In the last couple of years he started to talk about analogue games and his experience with their visuals. He worked on the interactive aspects of exhibitions, held game-design workshops and wrote about gaming culture. He teaches “Digital Imaging”, “Cultural Studies” and “Media Theory” at the FH Joanneum.

Real. Fake. Analogue. – The joy of playing with real people and fake money.

FROG 2023 – Talk

A long time ago money and play met for the first time. They immediately started to gamble. Since then money has become an integral part of analogue games. Not only to bet but also as a gameplay element, as components, as rules and mechanisms.

As soon as there was money people started to gamble but it was Elizabeth Magie who introduced money as components to the world of games. Her socially critical game “Landlord” was twisted to “Monopoly” and became the embodiment of capitalism. Since then a lot has happened.

This talk tries to highlight unique ways of how the medium of analogue games incorporates money in different ways than digital games (mostly) do:

Money is much more visible and tangible and has to be managed by the players themselves. It can be a component that visualizes growth and value, it can be a token that occupies spaces and spatially affects prices. It can be a track where players mark their value with a wooden cube. It can be paper money, cardboard coins or even quite expensive metal coins. Money in analogue games can be a sensual element meeting the aesthetic demands of the people around the table. And those people are willing to pay real money to upgrade their fake money.

Money can be a form of social interaction. Money as a medium to communicate is not a new idea but games like “Isle of Skye”, “Sheriff of Nottingham” or “QE” let players feel the free dynamics money can offer. They do so by incorporating human flaws into gameplay: Players have to lie, have to bribe, have to guess, have to bluff.

Analogue games always have to abstract reality. They can never reach the level of simulation digital games do. But in doing so, they use their components–material and players–in surprising ways. And maybe this sometimes seemingly raw approach can be an inspiration for digital games too.


Leave a Reply