Arthiefact is a tabletop card game developed during the 2017 edition of the EduGaming project. Its aim is to give players some basic practical knowledge about art and its language, and to "train the eye" at proactively analyzing paintings.
Arthiefact was born to answer to a specific need: to make art (part of it, at least) accessible to whom is usually not able to get in contact with it, like young people with fewer opportunities, NEET or school dropouts. The general aim of Arthiefact is to give some practical knowledge about art in a fun way, in the hope of helping to raise art literacy among young people.
Arthiefact is a competitive card game playable in two different versions, either independently or as a single educational process:
the first one aims at getting the players to know the language of the game (i.e. of visual art) and get familiar with it;
the second one, "Heist", works as a fun test of this newly acquired knowledge.
The competitive element gets players to learn almost without realizing they're doing so, and to immediately put their knowledge to the test in a neverending cycle. The game works through experiential learning and the concept of learning from mistakes.
An experimental version of Arthiefact makes use of digital platforms (i.e. Kahoot) to achieve similar results.
Arthiefact is a tabletop game and as such it's got its own specific rules, but it consists in a single step.
The two deck of printable cards and the complete rulebook can be found HERE, both in English and Italian.
The game doesn't necessarily need a facilitator, but depending on the situation and target group, it might be better that one is present. The following workshop suggestions refer to a facilitated game.
Arthiefact's 5W - What's an "Edugame"?
A brief history of how the game was born and an introduction to EduGaming, to its values and its main aim: to spread educational tabletop games as both educational tools and a way to get young people more actively involved in society.
Participants will be split in groups of 6/8 people and each group will get a copy of the game and of the rulebook.
Players will be asked to read the rules for the basic version of the game and to try it out for a set amount of time (usually around 20/30 minutes, including the reading of the rules).
The players will then be invited to also try the "Heist" version (15 minutes).
Depending on how much time there is, players can be left free to play as many rounds as they want of one or both versions.
Also, to save some time or to better involve younger audiences, the facilitator might want to explain the rules himself, instead of tasking the players with reading the rulebook.
Evaluation & feedback
At the end of the game, the facilitator can lead a group reflection and help the participants evaluate their playing experience and learning outcomes. Using other games as an evaluation tool (Dixit cards, Storycubes etc.) might be an interesting way of reinforcing the concept of games as educational tools, too.
Some prompts for reflection might be the following:
- Did you feel challenged by the game? If so, how did you react? How did you feel while playing?
- Do you think you've learnt anything through the game? If so, what and how? If not, can you think of a reason why?
- Do you think if you were to visit a museum after playing this game you'd have a different experience than before? If so, how and why?
- Do you think that if you were to make a painting yourself after playing Arthiefact you'd have a different approach to it? How?
Players might also be asked to give some feedback and suggestions on how to make the game better or fit to specific needs.
Among its weak points, players might point out the limited number of players, the unfavourable ratio between costs and number of players and possibly its low transferability. The facilitator can point out these issues himself, to further spur the group into reflection.
Alternative versions: digitization & Kahoot
Now, to offer possible solutions to the aforementioned problems, the facilitator can explain (and try out, if possible) some alternative experimental versions of the game.
- Play "Heist" in teams, giving players only the Trace cards and projecting the Art cards on a screen, to allow groups of 20+ people to play together at once.
- Try the digital quiz version of Arthiefact on Kahoot, which allows large groups to play against each other at the same time, gaining points based on both precision and quick thinking.
To play Arthiefact, every group of participants (max 6/8 people per group) will need:
- a copy of the game (made up of two decks of specific cards and a rulebook, all of which you can find HERE);
- a big and well lighted table, with a chair for each player.
To try the digital version of Arthiefact on Kahoot, you'll need:
- a computer;
- a video projector + screen;
- each player will need their own smarphone, tablet or computer;
- internet access/wi-fi.
The main expected outcome is for players to get aware of how much they already did and didn't know about visual art, and to develop those skills and competences that the game aims at improving. Note that best results are achieved by playing more than once.
Players have usually expressed a will to learn more about art and they have felt intrigued by the game.
Another expected, if collateral, outcome is to spread the interest for tabletop games as educational tools and to make people aware of their potential in the youth work field.
This tool is functional, easily adaptable to different contexts and at least partially customizable to meet specific needs. The vast majority of playtesters were satisfied with the game and often showed clear signs of improvement, even in a short time.
The biggest issue with the game is the small number of players that can play at once with a single standard copy, as well as production costs, which are not too high, but still higher than for most educational tools available to youth workers and facilitators.
Pay close attention to the printing instructions given together with the print&play game (see link above)!
The game itself can last as little as 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, depending on which version is used (if not both), on how many rounds are played and on whether the rules are explained by a facilitator or read by the players themselves. It will usually take around 30-45 on average.
To be implemented as a full workshop, however, the ideal duration would be of 1h30.
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