From the Chair
By Anastasia Salter
I recently introduced a new group of gamers to Resistance, a card game, and we played many rounds during late-night gaming sessions at the NASAGA conference in Sarasota last year. Our game quickly turned to shouting and scheming as we negotiated the power dynamics of hypothetical revolution and betrayal. These enduring game mechanics of Resistance serve as a prompt for social machinations and manipulations, and the resulting conversations can provide an impetus for reconsidering teamwork not unlike many of the great games and simulations designers share at NASAGA each year. We’re preparing for a range of such encounters at this year’s conference in Baltimore, October 8-12th.
This year our conference theme is grounded in stories: the stories that games and simulations adopt as their foundations as well as the types of stories that emerge from play and that we tell about ourselves as players and teammates. Our keynote speakers, Koreen Pagano and John Chen, both use stories as techniques for building learning but they will be guiding us through their educational experiences in very different ways. I’m thrilled by the range of stories I see ready to play out at this year’s conference, and I hope you’ll join us.
We will have several new session types this year, including a poster session with games and learning researchers and designers sharing their knowledge. There will also be an “unconference” with dialogues driven by participants. The board is delighted to be able to support several newcomers and students to join us thanks to two memorial scholarships. The Richard Powers Memorial Scholarship, funded through a generous donation from his estate, will support participants who follow in his footsteps with innovative work in sustainability and/or social justice. The Judee Blohm Memorial NASAGA Scholarship, funded through your donations and support at our annual auction, will support participants who are new to the games and learning community. Thank you for all your help in making these opportunities possible so that NASAGA can continue to support the rising generation of trainers, designers, and educators.
I hope to see you in Baltimore!