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The Fun of its Parts: Design and Player Reception of Educational Board Games

, University of Kentucky, United States ; , , Michigan State University, United States

CITE Journal Volume 19, Number 3, ISSN 1528-5804 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA


Although board, card, and other analog games can serve as useful educational technologies, little research exists to support teachers’ efforts in finding analog games that are pedagogically appropriate or likely to be well-received by their students. In this study, the authors retrieved data associated with 208 educational games from the crowdsourced website BoardGameGeek. They used this data to summarize players’ description of games into 15 themes, mechanics, and genres that can support teachers’ comparison and evaluation of analog educational games. They then analyzed how these design features influenced player reception of these games—as evidenced by game ratings on BoardGameGeek. To do this, they used two models: a hierarchical regression (features were nested within themes, mechanics, and genres categories) and a flat stepwise regression (features were all at the same level). Both analyses indicated that themes were parsimonious and significant predictors of game ratings, suggesting that the theme of an educational game may be an important consideration for teachers. The findings of this paper present helpful initial guidelines for teachers, teacher educators, and others interested in educational analog games; however, holistic evaluation of analog games and thorough consideration of their pedagogical potential are important.


Greenhalgh, S.P., Koehler, M.J. & Boltz, L.O. (2019). The Fun of its Parts: Design and Player Reception of Educational Board Games. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 19(3), 469-497. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved June 20, 2021 from .