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Título:THE INFORMATIONAL ERGONOMICS OF TABLETOP GAMES RULEBOOKS: AN ANALYSIS ON INFORMATIONAL HIERARCHY AND ORGANIZATIONInstituição:PONTIFÍCIA UNIVERSIDADE CATÓLICA DO RIO DE JANEIRO - PUC-RIO Autor:JOAO VITOR LESTE
By dwelling on the area of Playful Studies, it becomes hugely noticeable
that games are often regarded as educational tools of socio-anthropological
phenomena. So far, very little has been discussed about the board game learning
process, and even less about their rulebooks, which tend to be sidelined even
during the development and production of tabletop games. For this reason, this
dissertation aims to start a conversation about tabletop games rulebooks,
culminating in a proposition of new criteria that can be used to better organize the information contained in rulebooks of tabletop games. Those criteria were determined from the standpoint of Informational Ergonomics and Human Factors. Considering the shortage of bibliography regarding this specific matter, the theoretical foundation has been built upon the literature review of works in the fields of Informational Ergonomics, Playful Studies, Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics and Education – presented in chapters 2 through 4. The relevant concepts and ideas found on these works were then adapted to the context of the Informational Hierarchy of Tabletop Games Rulebooks, specifically during the
first time when players were interacting with the games and their rulebooks. In
order to evaluate how useful those findings were in practice, a round of interviews was conducted with game designers who have previous experience with writing rulebooks – either for their games or as a consultant. Their answers, along with
the theoretical foundation previously mentioned, served as the foundation to
propose a list of guidelines, that aim to help organize the information contained in
tabletop rulebooks and the usage of complementary images to better explain the
game s rules. Those guidelines were then put to the test by means of an
experiment, in which participants were invited to take part in a playtest of two
well-known games: No Thanks! and SET. Each group of players interacted
with the two games: the first, containing its original rulebook; the second,
containing a revised version, based on the previously mentioned criteria or
organization. To evaluate the group s performance, five variables were analyzed:
Time elapsed while reading the rulebook; time elapsed during the game; the
quantity of mistakes made; the quantity of pauses in order to revise the game s
rules; and time elapsed while revising the game s rules. On top of that, the
participants opinions and impressions were taken into consideration, in order to
identify whether the points of concern previously mentioned became apparent to
them as well, as a result of their interactions with the games and their rulebooks.
Afterwards, the experiment results were analyzed, in order to identify the extent
of the impact that the new criteria had on the player s performance. Due to the
pandemic and quarantine – caused by Covid-19 –, this dissertation s final result is a revised proposal for the experiment – to be applied whenever the conditions once again favour the development of experimental and in-person research.