Board Game Studies Colloquium VIII
PLAYGROUNDS - THE WORLD IN A GAME
Playing the game will entail designing non existent environments and passing
through various countries and landscapes. Play worlds are maps, journeys
across event fields in an imaginary world.
How are space and time symbolised and structured in board games? That is the
main question I wish to pursue in my work. The board has a beginning and an
end, a start and a finish, but constitutes an entire play world and map.
Players embark on a journey, crossing event fields, dropping back, having to
take a break or miss a go before moving forwards again. The units of time
are arranged in a rhythmical fashion and canonised, following rhetorical
figures in their narrativity. In addition to this structured journey through
time, players move across play areas within a certain space. The various
phases of the journey and events that befall them are familiar elements
taken from a culturally oriented, comprehensible world. Famous sights,
monuments, excursions, side trips and short cuts.
Based on the popular board game Reise durch die Schweiz (Travel through
Switzerland), which has been continuously published and updated since the
1890s, this Topographie der Schweiz (Topography of Switzerland) aims to map
out our cultural memory and track the ways in which it has changed in the
map. The objective in analysing more than a century of Reise durch die
Schweiz is to identify methodological criteria that can also be adapted to
the analysis of other board games presented in map form.