Meaningful Play


Serious games are games designed for a purpose other than strictly entertainment, such as training or teaching. While many examples of serious games are digital, in recent years a resurgent interest exists in tabletop gaming (for example, board and card games); here we also find some examples of games in this genre dealing with such topics as natural disasters (Before the Storm), end-of-life issues (Hello), and climate change (Broken Cities), among others. However, many models for understanding serious games presume digital interaction, with fewer models available to understand the educational potential of their analog counterparts, such as tabletop games. This presentation will focus on an undergraduate class designed primarily for liberal arts majors that taught students about concepts of serious games and gamification in the context of teaching/training applications for both the classroom and workplace. Specifically, I will highlight a project in the course where students were invited to create a serious tabletop game from initial idea to working prototype. I will focus on challenges students faced, and how such a task cannot only teach game design and mechanics, but also leverage critical thinking, writing, and instructional design skills in unique ways.


Serious Games, Game-based Learning, Analog Games


Pedagogy and Curriculum


Virtual Poster


  • Dr. Mark Mabrito
    • Professor of English, English, Purdue University Northwest
    • Mark Mabrito has been a faculty member in the English department at Purdue University Northwest since 1989. He is the director or professional writing and the creator of the Online Certificate in Writing for Interactive Media.