Comparing the qualities and user experience in physical and digital games : A study in Magic: The Gathering

Michael Viuff, Olav W. Bertelsen (Andet)

Publikation: Bog/antologi/rapport/kliniske retningslinjerRapportForskning


While it is generally recognised, that board games hold certain positive qualities, a focus
on these qualities, and how to maintain them when moving from a physical space to a
digital one, is rarely at the centre of current research, that seeks to augment traditional
board games. Instead it seems that these qualities are taken for granted, and that they
will translate naturally to the new environment established by such augmentations.
We suggest that a better understanding of these qualities is needed, in order to un-
derstand exactly how board games can take advantage of new technological advances,
as well as an understanding, that such qualities might not translate directly to a new
In an attempt to explore how these qualities react to changes in the physical or social
context, we present a set of theories to help us understand some of the underlying
qualities of board games, as well as the user experience that is present when playing
games. We situate our work around a single game, Magic: The Gathering, which already
exists in physical and digital forms, to create a basis for a comparison of how such
qualities change.
Our results show an indication that our initial assumption, that the inherent qualities in
board games were not directly translatable, was correct. In comparing several aspect of
Magic: The Gathering in different implementations, we see a large number of differences,
not only in the user experience, but in the activities that surround the game as well.
We conclude that design in this area, must avoid the assumption, that digitally augment-
ing traditional board games will automatically yield a better experience, but instead be
aware, that doing so creates new experiences, with a new set of qualities instead.
ForlagAarhus Universitet
Antal sider122
StatusUdgivet - 2015
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • Teknik, ingeniørvidenskab og IT