Keeping up with the BGNlab
Search the Site

BGNlab's First Freeplay Friday a Success

Friday, Februrary 19th marked the first "Freeplay Friday" event held at the BGNlab here in Brantford, Ontario. During a Freeplay Friday, the BGNlab is open to the public. The community is welcome to come in and play with BGNlab's extensive board game collection. People of all ages are welcome to attend, including minors with appropriate supervision.


Attendees of this Freeplay Friday were able learn new board games with professor Scott Nicholson and the Game Design program's students. Around 15 students and community members dropped in throughout the day. Featured games included Nippon, a historical board game about Japan's industrial revolution; Dale of Merchants, a simplistic card game about deckbuilding in order to create sets of cards; and 1846, a complex train track building game with a stock market.


The Freeplay Friday was originally scheduled from 10am-6pm. Even so, players were so interested in the featured games that they chose to continue longer into the evening. It is expected that the next Freeplay Friday, whose date is to be determined, will draw in larger numbers of community members.


Stay tuned for more information about future Freeplay Fridays, and how to get involved in BGNlab events!


Breakout EDU Game Jam Wrap-Up

The Game Jam on January 9th was BGNlab's first large community event. Approximately 25 people attended, with numbers split evenly between community members and Wilfrid Laurier University Students. Of the community members, 4 out of 5 were educators from other institutions, including local high schools and colleges. The remaining community members were elementary students from Grades 4-6.

The attendees were split into four groups, which each created an educational game with the Breakout EDU boxes. Each group chose a different topic when creating their Breakout EDU box. One group made a set of educational puzzles to teach students about statistics. Another group made a game discussing harassment and bullying from a sociological standpoint. The third group turned their Breakout EDU box into a game designed to get students engaged with environmental conservation. The fourth and final group created puzzles which taught students about the BP oil spill and the ways BP covered up information after the event.

In total, 31 different sites registered to join in the Game Jam event virtually from locations around the world. The event was livestreamed on, which is a website dedicated to displaying live videos of video games and other creative content such as the Game Jam event. During the Game Jam, Scott Nicholson, Professor of Game Design and Development, broadcast announcements and updates on the platform.

After the event, Dr. Nicholson reached out to the sister Game Jam events around the world. Six of them replied with the results from their events. Some examples of games developed by these international groups include games about transcontinental railways in the United States, the history of Puritains in New England, and how forensic evidence is used. The content created by this international event has been already used by one teacher in Japan, who then ran their own independent Game Jam a few weeks later.

There were two newspaper articles about the event, one by the Brantford Expositor and another by Brant News. A summary of each article is available on this website, as well as direct links to the news articles.


Brantford Expositor, Jan. 10th:


Brant News, Jan 18th:


Brant News Applauds BGNlab's Game Jam

The Breakout EDU Game Jam event was covered by Brant News on January 18th, 2016.


Mike Peeling, reporter and photographer, attended the Laurier BGNlab Game Jam on January 9th. His article, "Laurier Game Jam Brings Fun, Hands-On Approach to Education", draws attention to the educational aspects of the event. The event had four teams create puzzle games for elementary school students using the Breakout EDU model. The Breakout EDU model, which requires students solve puzzles in order to open a locked box, draws heavily from "escape games". In an escape game, teams must work together to solve codes, riddles, puzzles, and locks in order to escape a room. In an elementary school setting, a Breakout EDU box teaches quick thinking, cooperation, and problem solving in addition to Ontario curriculum guidelines.

Participants who attended the event at Wilfrid Laurier University's Grand River Hall (The location of the BGNlab) were able to connect digitally with Game Jam events from the U.S., England, France, Guatemala, Japan, and a variety of other locations. Scott Nicholson aims to host another Game Jam next year in partnership with a local organization. This Game Jam would have a very different activity to enjoy, in addition to being a family-friendly event. 

Breakout EDU's website features a number of games and templates, as well as the option to buy ready-made kits. Many of the activities they have created are available online free of charge and list the materials necessary to play. 

To find out more about Breakout EDU, check out their website here.

Full news article by Mike Peeling:


Expositor Features Article on BGNlab's Game Jam 

The BGNlab's Game Jam event was the focus of an article in the Brantford Expositor this Sunday, January 10th.

The article, titled "Puzzle makers get their game on", emphasized the rich educational opportunities that the BreakoutEDU game boxes provided the players during the Game Jam event. It applauded the BGNlab for participating in this international event which connected game designers from countries such as Japan, Guatemala, and France in order to create games which solve real world problems.

Game Development and Game Design students Robert Durant, Chris Tenata, Nick LaNave, and Toyin Oteri were featured in the article as one of the Game Jam teams. Abby Goodrum, professor of Digital Media, was also a team member. In their interview with the Expositor, the team highlighted the importance of playtesting games. LaNave is quoted to have said "This is like practicing an instrument, the more you do, the more you learn".

The Game Jam was a great success for the Game Design and Game Development program at Laurier Brantford. This article shows that Brantford has taken notice of the work our students do for the community. Our program aims to continue to partner with local citizens and businesses in order to make the world a better - and more fun - place to be.

Full article by Susan Gamble:


Joining in on the BreakoutEDU Game Jam

January 9-10 is the BreakoutEDU Game Jam where people will make puzzle games for classrooms in 2 days.

Want to join us?  There are several ways!

If you are in Brantford, learn more about the Brantford site and sign up for the Brantford jam here.  Please note - while families are welcome to come, we will ask that those that are underage work on a team with responsible family members.

There are several sites around the world open to others. If you want to join, contact the people below:

Liberty North High school  - Liberty/St. Lawrence, Missouri, North America -
ARientation Japan - Kyoto, Japan -
Escape Quest - Nampa, Idaho, North America -
Maker Space - Leeds, West Yorkshire, England -
San Jose State University - San Jose, California - 
Guatemala - Commercial location (game store/escape room) -
The Crux Escape Room - Hamilton, Ontario - 

We also have private sites registered in Oregon, Michigan, New Jersey, and France!

If you want to host your own site, which can just be you at home, sign up to register as a site here so I can send you more videos and guides for the day!

We will be livestreaming our day on Twitch!

Support for this event is provided by the Laurier Brantford Grants Program, made possible by donations to Wilfrid Laurier University.