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Freeplay Friday and Big Diplomacy

This Friday will be another round of Freeplay Friday at the lab – come between 3 and 6pm for tabletop games.  Find information about parking, location, and policies about minors at

At 5pm, we are going to do a special event – Big Diplomacy.  Given last night’s US news, it seems appropriate to play a game that starts in the leadup to WWI.

This will be for 7 teams, and I’ll teach the game starting at 5pm.  I plan to end the game at 10pm, but you don’t have to stay for all of it.  I’ll be moderating it and running it as a board-based live-action event.  You don’t need to know anything about Diplomacy to play.

I do intend to stream the game, so you can see it playing out Friday night at  I will start teaching it at 5pm, then move into play once we are ready.



GameTalk on Nov. 3

On Thursday, Nov., 3rd at 7PM we are having Brian Jenkins, the general manager of PlayPower Canada, come to speak about his work in the game industry.  PlayPower focuses on outdoor play and uses games to get kids engaged with the world around them.

This talk is open to the public, and will be held at the BGNlab.

We'd like to thank Michelle Goodridge and the WLU library for their efforts in organizing this speaker series. 


Extra Life 2016 with the WLU Game Changers

Donate to our Extra Life campaign at


Extra Life is an organation that runs a 24-hour gaming marathon each year as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. 


This year, the WLU Game Changers, a group of students interested in making games who live in Grand River Hall, are taking on the Extra Life challenge.

However, instead of playing games for 24 hours, they will be making games for 24 hours!  In fact, they have been challenged by the Residence Life program to make games that can be used to help students living in residence with some of their common problems.


This game jam will take place from 8AM Nov. 5th to 8AM Nov. 6th, and it will be streamed on Twitch.TV at the BGNlab Twitch account at




Papers presented at Meaningful Play 2016

Scott Nicholson was recently at the peer-reviewed Meaningful Play 2016 conference, held in Lansing, Michigan.


While there, he presented two papers and exhibited his Breakout EDU game, Ballot Box Bumble, at the Game Expo.

His first presentation was the highlights of his 2015 survey of Escape Rooms.   This paper for the conference is:
Nicholson, S. (2016). The State of Escape: Escape Room Design and Facilities. Paper presented at Meaningful Play 2016. Lansing, Michigan.

However, the entire white paper with more results from the survey can be found at Nicholson, S. (2015). Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities. White Paper available at

His Breakout EDU game, Ballot Box Bumble, can be found at

Finally, his paper on the Ask Why model, designed to help escape rooms create more consistent experiences through improving the narrative, can be found at 

Nicholson, S. (2016). Ask Why: Creating a Better Player Experience Through Environmental Storytelling and Consistency in Escape Room Design. Paper presented at Meaningful Play 2016, Lansing, Michigan.

More of his papers and talks can be found at the Publications & Presentations link on this site.

He won the award for Best Non-Digital Game at the juried game expo for his learning game inspired by escape room design concepts.


Freeplay Fridays from 3-6pm

We are trying a new regular event - every Friday through October and November, we will have Freeplay 


There are directions for getting to the lab at


While families are welcome, we do ask that a guardian stay with anyone who is underage.


Freeplay Friday Information

Freeplay Fridays are events where we invite the community to come and play games with the students and staff of the Brantford Games Network.  Different Fridays will feature different types of games.  There may be special talks or workshops as well.  While there, look around for people with a white lab coat if you have questions.

These events are held at the BGNlab, which is on the ground floor of Grand River Hall.  The easiest parking is at the Parkcade in downtown Brantford on iComm drive by the OLG Casino.  To get to the BGNlab, go to the 4th floor of the Parkcade and cross the pedestrian bridge to downtown.  Look to the left as you cross for the room with board games in the window, and that's the BGNlab.  You may need to come inside Grand River Hall to enter the lab.

Please note the following policies:

  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for these events. 
  • You will be asked to sign in when you come to the event.
  • Attendees are liable for games they are playing.
  • Covered drinks are allowed in the BGNlab, but food should be eaten in the outside BGNlounge.  
  • WLU reserves the right to ask attendees to leave for rude or unruly behavior.  Play nice!