Human-Computer Interaction

Immersion through Storytelling - An Eldritch Horror Board Game App

This project is already completed.

Motivation

In recent time, more and more board games are supplemented with companion apps giving these games multimodal interaction Alchemists, new game features One Night Ultimate Werwolves, or a way to easily feature otherwise unhandy parts of the game XCom. They also improve gameplay aspects like hidden information Rising 5, story telling Mansion of Madness, or player management Leaders.

The board game Eldritch Horror comprises complex gameplay aspects that have to potential to be improved my means of a companion app. Similar games, like Mansion of Madness, already use such an integration to successfully deliver its story. In a standard game of Eldritch Horror, Game Immersion Experience (Cheng, M. T. et al., 2015) is mostly delivered via random card events. Moreover, keeping track of all the different stats, possibilities, and actions can be overwhelming.

This thesis focuses on the improvement of Eldritch Horror with respect to game immersion experience by supporting the various player actions and encounters in it using a companion app.

Background

Eldritch Horror is a cooperative board game focusing on storytelling and saving the world. It is the successor of Arkham Horror, however it does not take place in Arkham anymore but on the whole world. Players become investigators and must travel different places, fight monsters, close gates and solve mysteries. They do all of this under a time clock and must fulfill their goals before the final boss (The Ancient One) takes over the world. Main mechanics in this game include a lot of (story) cards and dice rolls which determine tests’ success or failure.

Related Work

Commercial Games

During the last decade, digital helpers started to supplement board games in various ways. Different aspects of games have already been improved using apps: XCom uses the app to create a game that runs in real time, while Rising 5 or Alchemists use technology to create logic puzzles the need of an extra player doing that. Other games, like Werwords or One Night Ultimate Werwolves, remove the need of a “game master” so everyone can play. Next, apps are already used for storytelling and random events in Mansion of Madness. On top of that, games for kids like Scotland Yard Master (AR), Ravensburger smartPlay or Ravensburger tiptoi integrate technology in order to explain games interactively and provide multimodal feedback. Finally, also the “heavier” side of games like Leaders or Golem Arcana use apps in which a lot of calculation or help is done for the players.

Publications

The HCI research group used the XRoads project to investigate multimodal interaction, storytelling and artificial intelligence in a mixed reality board game with fantasy setting. Their project showed positive ratings when using mixed-reality approaches in board games (Anke Giebler-Schubert et al., 2013).

Andrea Bartel (2017) wrote about “Game Experience und Spatial Presence in Tabletop Rollenspielen” and found that digital supported versions of games can improve immersion but sound did not add anything to that.

Finally, Cheng, M. T. et al. (2015) have taken a look at “game immersion experience as a precondition to flow” and developed the “Game Immersion Questionnaire”.

Taken all that into account, it is promising to add mixed-reality elements or digital support to boardgames which than can then be evaluated using the Game Immersion Questionnaire.

Concept

See the preparatory HCI project report.

References

Bartl, A. (2017). Game Experience und Spatial Presence in Tabletop Rollenspielen: Vergleich eines analogen Spiels mit dessen Mixed-Reality Umsetzung

Giebler-Schubert, A., Zimmerer, C., Wedler, T., Fischbach, M., & Latoschik, M. E. (2013). Ein digitales Tabletop-Rollenspiel für Mixed-Reality-Interaktionstechniken. Virtuelle und Erweiterte Realität, 10, 181-184.

Cheng, M. T., She, H. C., & Annetta, L. A. (2015). Game immersion experience: its hierarchical structure and impact on game‐based science learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 31(3), 232-253.

Contact Persons at the University Würzburg

Dr. Martin Fischbach (Primary Contact Person)
Mensch-Computer-Interaktion, Universität Würzburg
martin.fischbach@uni-wuerzburg.de

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