I'm heading to Canada!
I have just accepted a new position as a professor of games and director of a new Game Design and Development degree program at a branch of Wilfrid Laurier University in Brantford, Ontario. This program will prepare students to design tabletop, video, and live-action games with a general focus on games that can change the world. This program will be the center of a community-based focus on games with partnerships with the city and has received a warm welcome from local press.
I've made two videos talking about it.
If you don't know me, I've made this Scott Nicholson 101 video to introduce myself to you:
If you do know me and want to learn more about where I'm going, watch this one:
I plan to continue my escape room research in Brantford. Toronto and the surrounding region is the hotbed for escape rooms in North America, so I will be working with the communities there as I continue my explorations. I have released a living white paper on the topic of escape rooms and am focused on how they can used by places of informal learning like museums and libraries.
So, if you always wanted to have the real-life version of Board Games with Scott, now is your chance!
Escape rooms are live-action team-based games where players discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to accomplish a specific goal (usually escaping from the room) in a limited amount of time.
I've been studying them since late 2014 and have recently released a white paper where I present the results of a survey of 175 escape room facilities around the world.
Nicholson, S. (2015). Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities. White Paper available at http://scottnicholson.com/pubs/erfacwhite.pdf
I went to the 2015 NY Toy Fair (tweets and pictures at https://storify.com/scottnicholson/my-day-at-the-ny-toy-fair) and found one product that really got me excited.
It's called The Extraordinaires Design Studio, created by the same group who made Rory's Story Cubes. It's all about learning how to make a design with a user in mind, which is a valuable lesson for anyone who creates things. I'm teaching a course on Experience Design this semester, and I was amused how they have taken the concepts I'm teaching in that course and turned it into something for kids and families to explore.
You can see this video over on BoardGameGeek at https://boardgamegeek.com/video/64265/extraordinaires-design-studio/bgws-style-review
And remember rule #1: You are Not Your User!
On Friday, February 20th, we will have the next meeting of the Game Designers' Guild.
We will start at 5:30pm with some type of a group game.
From 6-7PM, we will talk about designing an Escape Room for a local national park.
Afterwards, anyone who has brought games can set them up to get people to playtest the game.
Bring your games, and we'll see you at 011 Hinds Hall (the Innovation Studio) on Friday, Feb. 20.