Aspects of Play: Boardgames

For our Aspects of play unit, we have been split into 3 different groups and been given different types of games to play. One group got to play console games, another got to play online casual games and the other got to play boardgames, which is the group I was put in. Each week the games will alternate between the groups.

Our group consists of Me, Ryan, Scott, Chris and Nathan.


Firstly we played a game called Jenga, where the objective of the game is to remove wooden blocks from a tower without it falling down and then placing the block back on top of the tower, the loser is the one who knocks the tower over.

While playing this I noticed that it had various categories it could fall into, the first being Illynx because when you get a few moves into the game, you have to start checking all angles to see if the block you’re removing is not going to topple the tower; this becomes quite disorientating when moving around the object. The next category it falls under is Agon, this is because the game gets really competitive the more unstable the tower gets, making the player concentrate more and more each go, wanting the other player to topple the block tower.

I wouldn’t exactly say that I got into a state of flow when playing this, I maybe slipped into flow every now and then while concentrating on my go. I would say I entered a state of anxiety whilst playing Jenga, this is because of the high challenge is offered; trying to remove a block from a wobbly structure without it falling down is very intense.



The next game we played was cluedo which is a murder-mystery game where the player has to move around a board and go into rooms and try and guess the murderer and the weapon of choice, the other players have to disprove the player; if they can not then the player who’s go it is picks up the cards in the center of the board to reveal the answer.

This boardgame falls under all of different categories of Roger Caillois’s game theory, the first one I noticed was Agon. This is because of the urge to find the clues as soon as possible and before the other players can get an idea of what’s going on, making the game very competitive. I also noticed after a few turns into the game that I was getting confused as to where my character was and what room they where in, this is because players can move any player on the board into the room they’re in, so they can accuse this person of the murder; this definately falls under the category of Illynx. Cluedo is basically a big game of chance to begin with, so it also falls into the category of Alea. This is because people have to start making guess accusations when they enter a room so they can start ticking off boxes on their piece of paper, it is a game of trial and error. Finally it falls into the Mimicry section, as you are taking control of a character within the game and moving them around the board.

I definately entered a state of flow during certain parts of the game of cluedo, but mainly I would say I entered a state of control as I knew what I had to do and what I needed to do, to do it.



The final boardgame we played was Monopoly, the aim of the game is to drive your opponents into bankruptcy by buying or trading properties, developing properties by building houses and hotels on their properties; when they land on your property, they have to pay you the said amount.

This is another game that has plenty of categories it could fall under. The first obvious one being that the game is very competitive as you are essentially trying to send your opponents into bankruptcy and you are trying to get as much money as you possibly can. The next category it falls under is Alea, it’s a game of chance as you are rolling a dice to determine how much spaces you are allowed to move; you don’t know where you’re going to land. Finally it is a game of mimicry as you are controlling a character that moves around the game board.

When we first started playing this, I realised that I was in a state of anxiety as I wasn’t too sure what the rules where and what was going on. But after a few moves into the game I got the hang of it and I’d say I entered a state of control but this quickly esculated into boredom the longer the game became.


Yahtzee Poker

This is a boardgame that incorperates two other boardgames, Yahtzee and Poker. The aim of the game is to collect the most money and cards until all the cards are gone. The game starts with each player given 1500 in chips, on the board is 7 random cards with pictures of dice on them, these images are what the player has to roll to win the card; also on the card are how many rolls are allowed and how much you will win. Each round, each player can place a bid on the card to determine who can roll for it, the highest gets the roll. If they match the cards rules within the set amount of rolls then they win the card and value on it. If they don’t manage to do it then they are out of they round and the bidding starts again until the card has been won.

This game relies very heavily on chance and luck of the roll, this is because the card on the board could be asking for you to roll five 6’s within 4 rolls, as a dice is unbiased, you really don’t know what’s going to show. With the bidding element from poker added to this game, it becomes even more competitive, you can bid as low as you want or as high as you want and so can the opponents; someone can big 100, the next player can bid higher or let them roll for the card. Sometimes doing this can psych the other player out if your bidding, it can make them want to bid higher and if they lose then they lose they’re money.

At first during the game, I was very unsure on what to do but once a few rounds were played; I got right into the game and definitely came into a state of flow. This is from the concentration needed for every players move, one look away and you could miss a vital part of the game.



This boardgame is a fast paced description game. Each team is divided into 2 or more people, one person has a card with a answer on it that is colour coordinated with the colours on the board, each colour is a different category of answers; from nature, world, action, random,object, and person. The player with the card has to describe the answer to their team mate without saying the answer or something it sounds like, for example, if the answers door then they can’t say “it sounds like floor”. If the other player gets it right then the player has to keep answering as many as they can within the time limit, if they answered 3 then they move 3 spaces. The first team to the end wins.

A feature that I like of this game is if you land on a red (random) or orange (action) segment, you get to spin the wheel in the middle of the board. If the spinner lands on a wide green segment, the player gets to move forward 2 spaces or move the opponent back 2 spaces, if it lands on a thin green segments, its the same except its 3 spaces moved instead of 2. This allows for a team to catch up or make a gap bigger depending where they are on the board.

This is highly competitive due to the teams trying their hardest to describe and answer within the allotted time. The game can be very tedious at times if the other player that is describing doesn’t know how to describe it; prescious time can be wasted, each turn a player can skip the question and move onto the next but this can only be done once each turn.

As the game is very fast paced with the quick fire questions and the timer aswell, it is very easy to enter a state of flow as it gets you into a deep think and the pressure from the timer makes you concentrate even more.



This is a card game created by Mattel. The aim of the game is to be the first player to score 500 points, points are scored by getting rid of all the cards in your hand before your opponent(s). You score points for cards left in your opponents hand. Each card has a number on it, that is the value of it; if it’s a special card then they have a set value depending how good it is, varying from 20 points to 50. The way you get rid of cards is by placing them on top of the card in place, cards have numbers on them and are coloured too, also there are special cards. To place a card down, you have to have the same colour card as the card in play or have the same number as it, if you can’t go then you have to draw one from the deck.

If you play this game with quite a few people then it is very competitive, as it is basically a race to lose your cards. I found while playing this that concentration is key, if you lose concentration for a second or look away then a special card could be played, perhaps a reverse card could be played which makes the direction of play go anti-clockwise; which is quite confusing and disorientating if you were not paying much attention.

I noticed while playing this, that if you have a decent run of moves you enter a flow state almost instantaneously but if you have to start picking up cards from not being able to go or from special pick up cards then the cards in your hand starts to build up, making your concentration direct else where as you start to think you can’t win.



This is a card game from Paul Lamond Games. The aim of the game is to try and get your opponents to say “YES or NO”, while avoiding saying “YES or NO” on your turn. To do this, you have to pick up a card and follow what it says on it, it will say who to ask it to and what to ask them. If the player being asked gets through all ten questions without saying yes or no, then they get to keep the question card, the first player to collect the most cards, wins. If a player gives the same answer twice in their turn or if they refuse to answer, then the player telling the questions can press the bell which will end their turn and they wont receive the card.

This game works very well if you play with more than 2 players, so you can ask different people instead of the same person all the time.  YES!NO! is a highly competitive game for the family to play, as the player has to try their hardest to collect the most cards, so this fits directly into Caillios’s Agon category. It also fits into the illynx category, while when being asked the questions, it can become very confusing to come up with a solid answer without saying yes or no and waiting too long can result in the bell being rang.

While playing this I noticed that if was very difficult getting into a flow state due to the constant change in player turns. It doesn’t really give enough time to enter a state of flow, also while answering the questions, coming up with answers that are not yes or no becomes quite tedious. I would say I entered a state of anxiety most of the time, due to not knowing what to say.



This is a word game for 2-4 players, there are 144 tiles and each letter tile is jumbled and placed face down in the middle of the players, each player must choose 21 letters to play with while still faced down so it is random, when the game starts, you flip your tiles over. The aim of the game is to create as many linked words with the selected letters, the first one to get rid of their letters and if there are no letters to pick up, that player wins. If a player has some letters that they cannot make letters with, they have to place the selected letter back into the center pile but must pick up 3 in return, the player must say dump while doing this. When a player gets rid of their letters, they have to say peel, in return they pick up a letter from the center pile and so do the rest of the players.

As you are playing to win against other people, also with certain mechanics that make it harder for the other players, this places the game into Caillios’s Agon category for the competitiveness of it. There is also chance in BananaGrams because of the faced down tiles you have to choose, as you don’t know what tiles you are picking up, you have to play what you are given.

A feature that I particularly enjoy is the peel move, because when you get rid of your selected letters, you have to pick up 1 from the center pile and so do the opponents; this is good because it adds more and more letters to their pile, making it harder for them do get rid of their tiles.

When playing BananaGrams, after choosing my 21 tiles, I immediately entered a state of flow due to the high level of concentration needed and the fast paced thinking that is needed as it is the first one to get rid of their 21 letters. If you have a few letters remaining and not sure what to do with them, then this can make you worry and sometimes become quite anxious, snapping you out of the state of flow.



Trivial Pursuit DVD edition

This is a trivia dvd boardgame created by hasbro and must have 2 or more players in order to be played. The aim of the game is to collect each piece of pie from the various categories , once they have collected 6 pieces, they have to reach the middle and answer a final question to win. In the DVD edition, in order to collect a piece of pie, the player has to answer a question from the DVD. The categories in this edition are Film, Television, Trends, Gossip, Music and Sport. In order to move around the board, the player must roll a dice and answer card questions relative to the segment they land on, if they get it right then they get to move again and they get to keep moving until they get a question wrong.

This fits into a couple of Caillois’s categories, the first being Agon as the players are competing to be the first to collect all the pieces of coloured pie. To determine how far a player moves, a dice is used, which could be any number from 1 to 6; so it also gets put into the Alea category.

Throughout the board are segments which allows the player to roll again, this allows the player try again to reach a certain part of the board. If you’re lucky with your rolls then you can have quite a few rolls of the dice.

I found it quite difficult to enter a flow state, due to the constant change of player moves. Also some of the questions were rather difficult to answer due to it being quite out of date, I become quite anxious and when the game went on for too long I became bored. Next time, I will try to play a more up to date version.

dvd triv pursuit


~ by reeceharry on October 22, 2013.

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