You are here:

Back to the Gaming Board: Understanding Games and Education through Board Game Reviews

, , , , , Michigan State University, United States

Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Washington, D.C., United States ISBN 978-1-939797-32-2 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


Recent academic research into the use of games for educational purposes has focused almost exclusively on video games. In this study, we explore player perceptions of board games with regards to education. We started with a large dataset of 7,806,486 reviews of 53,960 games collected from the BoardGameGeek website. We performed a keyword search for “education,” resulting in a working dataset of 1,978 reviews. First, we evaluated what games were being discussed with regards to education, looking at educational reviews per game title as well as educational games per subdomain and category. We also qualitatively coded a sample of 200 reviews to describe the perception of the educational value of these games and the perception of the quality of these games. We found, through a number of quantitative and qualitative measures, that reviewers were generally accepting of games’ potential for educational purposes.


Staudt Willet, B., Moudgalya, S., Boltz, L., Greenhalgh, S. & Koehler, M. (2018). Back to the Gaming Board: Understanding Games and Education through Board Game Reviews. In E. Langran & J. Borup (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 495-503). Washington, D.C., United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved January 21, 2019 from .

View References & Citations Map


  1. Abt, C.C. (1970). Serious games. New York, NY: The Viking Press, Inc.
  2. Bogost, I. (2010). Persuasive games: The expressive power of videogames. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  3. Copeland, T., Henderson, B., Mayer, B., & Nicholson, S. (2013). Three different paths for tabletop gaming in school libraries. Library Trends, 61, 825-835.
  4. Gee, J.P. (2007). What videogames have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
  5. Greenhalgh, S.P. (2016). Affordances and constraints of analog games for ethics education: Dilemmas and dragons. In K.D. Valentine& L.J. Jensen (Eds.), Examining the evolution of gaming and its impact on social, cultural, and political perspectives. Hershey, PA: IGI Global
  6. Koehler, M.J., Greenhalgh, S.P., & Boltz, L.O. (2016, March). Here we are, now entertain us! A comparison of educational and non-educational board games. In G. Chamblee& L. Langlub (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology& Teacher Education International Conference 2016 (pp. 567-572). Waynesville, NC: Association for the Advancement of
  7. Landis, J.R., & Koch, G.G. (1977). The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics, 33, 159–174.
  8. Raser, J.R. (1969). Simulation and society: An exploration of scientific gaming. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
  9. Ritterfield, U., Cody, M., & Vorderer, P. (2009). Introduction. In U. Ritterfield, M. Cody, & P. Vorderer (Eds.), Serious games: Mechanisms and effects (pp. 3-9). New York, NY: Routledge.
  10. Roeder, O. (2015, August 18). Crowdfunding is driving a $196 million board game renaissance. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved from Squire, K. (2011). Videogames and learning: Teaching and participatory culture in the digital age. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact