Cardboard Poachers: Fan Cultures and Paratext in Board Games – Chad Wilkinson
Immersion as a Method and a Mindset – Axiel Cazeneuve
The Fellowship of the Ring and Feminist Kinship – Pilar Girvan
Serious Analog Game Development Across Disciplines – Brian C. Etheridge, Christian Duncan, Jeremy J. Mhire, Jean Gourd, John Worsencroft, and Heath Tims
At Analog Game Studies sometimes our issues fall together with the mechanical grace of a Swiss watch, with each essay reinforcing, pushing, and clicking in with the others that surround it. Other times our issues are a potpourri, a sublime mix of petals and spices. Of the two, this issue is the latter. No two essays are alike, but together they are a gust of fresh air. The air that ushers in spring and blows away summer, in fact.
Axiel Cazeneuve’s essay “Immersion as a Method and a Mindset” argues that larp might be the keystone for bringing methods in the arts and sciences together. But while Cazeneuve addresses immersion in a holistic sense, Brian C. Etheridge and his co-authors address its more specific manifestations by exploring a game funded by the Department of Homeland Security. In his essay “Serious Analog Game Development Across Disciplines ” Etheridge provides documentation for a slew of games developed under the acronym AICS (Analysis and Investigations through Cyber-Scenarios), thus making more transparent the complex machinations of national security. Chad Wilkinson’s essay “Cardboard Poachers,” in contrast, connects the work of analog game design to the theoretical domain of fan studies. Wilkinson shows in his essay how fan studies might be able to help us make sense of games that are franchised within the Star Wars universe. Finally, Pilar Girvan draws on the work of Sara Ahmed to critique Reiner Knizia’s classic board game Lord of the Rings in her essay “The Fellowship of the Ring and Feminist Kinship.” Here Girvan uses auto-ethnography to pick apart the experience of playing the game in 2022 and even adapts the game itself to make space for female characters.
As you can see, the essays collected in this issue of Analog Game Studies are a true potpourri. We hope you enjoy indulging in this blend of flavors as much as we enjoyed preparing it.
–The Editors, May 23, 2022