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Meaningful Gamification and Game Design talks at MIT

I'll be heading back to Boston next week to work with our MIT partners (the Education Arcade) on the IMLS grant we've been working toward.  While there, I'm going to offer up some events to the public that are hosted by the MIT Game Lab.  

I'll be doing a talk on meaningful gamification, and then I'll be hosting the Game Lab's Friday Games, where I'll be talking through the evolution and publishing of Going, Going, GONE!, my new board game published by Stronghold Games.

Both events are open to the public and will be streamed live on the MIT Game Lab's TwitchTV stream.


Meaningful Gamification: Motivating through Play instead of Manipulating through Rewards

Thursday, December 12 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am Eastern, E15-335,

20 Ames St Cambridge, MA 02139 United States

Gamification is the use of game design concepts to create a layer on a real world setting. Typical gamification focuses on the use of rewards like points and badges to change the behavior of users, which can cause long-term damage to intrinsic motivation. Meaningful gamification is the use of design concepts from games and play to help people find personal connections to a real-world setting. Attendees will learn about the basics of gamification, the ways that reward-based gamification can do harm, and Nicholson’s RECIPE for meaningful gamification. 



Friday Games: Going, Going, GONE!

Friday, December 13 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Eastern MIT Game Lab,
Compton Labs Cambridge, MA 02139 United State

Join Scott Nicholson, director of the Because Play Matters game lab at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies, to learn about his recently published recreational board game, Going, Going, GONE! During this session, Scott will talk through the four-year design and submission processes behind this (what appears to be a) simple and straightforward live-time auction game. The game will also be available to play afterwards.






Next Game Designers' Guild meeting - Dec. 6th

We will have our last Game Designers' Guild meeting for the year on December 6th in Hinds Hall, room 011.


From 5:30-6pm, we will play some type of game.

From 6pm-7pm, Yang Wang, a faculty member at the iSchool, will lead a brainstorming session about a privacy game he is looking to develop in partnership with the lab.

From 7pm-onward, you can bring your own games to have people test, playtest games, or bring other games to play!


Weekend events at the Everson

Looking for a fun and educational family event this weekend?

Game Jam at the Everson

This Saturday, November 9th from noon to 3pm, at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, the Because Play Matters game lab from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies is hosting a family Game Jam!   Families will work together to create a  game out of Play-Doh and other pieces, and then will be able to play all of the games and vote on the one they like best.

This program is free, but requires an RSVP as spots are limited.  To learn more and to RSVP, visit


Then, on Sunday, Nov. 10th, we are hosting Beyond Monopoly: A Living Exhibit about Modern Board games from 12-5.  During this time, you can come to the Museum and try out a variety of modern board games.  This is free with Museum Admission and doesn't require you to sign up.  More information is at


Next Game Designers' Guild meeting - November 8

The next meeting of the Game Designers' Guild is November 8th, and will be in Hinds Hall, room 347 (note different room).


5:30-6pm  Playthrough of The Stanley Parable

6pm - 7pm  Formal Meeting, Discussion of the process of getting a game to market with Scott's new game, Going, Going, GONE! as an example

7pm - done Playtesting of games and playing games.  Bring your own games to play or find playtesters for! 


The meeting is open to the public.


Questions?  Contact Scott Nicholson at



Seeking volunteers for Nov. 10 event

On Sunday, November 10th, I'm putting on an event at the Everson museum of art - a living exhibit about Modern Board Games.  The museum is open from 12-5, so I'm seeking people who would be available from 11:30-5 on Nov. 10th.

I'm seeking volunteers to help with the event.  
What you would do is man a table to facilitate one or two games.  These will all be short, simple games that museum attendees would be able to try out.  If you have some gateway games you enjoy, we can talk about what you might want to facilitate.   These will all be easy-to-learn games, so you don't need to be a board game expert to volunteer..just enthusiastic and willing to teach and facilitate games for others.
If we have enough volunteers, I'll put together a shift system so you'll have time to circulate and play games as well.
If you are willing to be a part of this, please send me an e-mail at .