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Post-digital Hybrid Play in Tabletop gaming

A workshop organized as a part of the DiGRA 2020 Conference
Tuesday June 2, 2020, Tampere, Finland

Call for Participation

We have entered into a post-digital age as digital technology has become so ubiquitous and pervasive in contemporary western society that it has lost some of its previous enchantment. According to Florian Cramer, post-digital, in essence, “describes the messy state of media, art and design ​after ​their digitisation, or at least the digitisation of the crucial aspects of the channels through which they are communicated”.

At the same time we are living the “golden age of tabletop gaming”, which in many ways is due to the post-digital development. It changes the ways tabletop games are created, used and valued in contemporary culture. The digital economy has allowed new and more efficient ways of game development and distribution as digital tools and platforms are used to create and distribute material games, while social media has fueled the development of tabletop gaming ecologies. More directly, the interplay between analog and digital is visible in hybrid board games that combine material game elements with digital tools, like mobile applications.

In this full-day workshop, we will discuss the multitude of technologies and cultural and social practices that merge together in the post-digital landscape of tabletop gaming, bringing forth new kinds of hybrid experiences. The aim is to identify key factors, future trends and emerging theories that help in understanding the messy nature of post-digital hybrid play.

There are two parts in the workshop. First the participants will briefly present their research interests. After this we will conduct an academic paper jam – format derived from game jams, where we will draft abstracts for academic research papers in small groups based on participants’ interests. Further development of these papers after the workshop is encouraged. The day will close with a discussion and reflection on the results of the workshop.

List of possible topics includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hybrid tabletop games combining material and digital elements
  • Tabletop games on mobile devices
  • Tabletop game crowdfunding
  • Digital tabletop gaming cultures
  • Online tabletop gaming communities
  • Digital practices surrounding tabletop gaming
  • Post-digital aesthetics of tabletop gaming
  • Streaming tabletop gaming
  • Digital economies of tabletop gaming

Participants will be selected through a peer-review process based on extended abstracts of up to 1500 words (excluding references). These can be position papers, reports of conducted research or description of future or ongoing studies. As the aim of the workshop is to build networks and map the future of post-digital tabletop gaming, we very much welcome work-in-progress submissions. Papers should be formatted using the DiGRA template. At least one author must attend the workshop and all participants need to register to DiGRA 2020 conference.

Extended abstracts should be submitted via email. They should not be anonymised. Submissions should be sent by 14 February 2020.
Submissions should be sent to:

All accepted papers will be made available for the participants before the workshop in order to encourage and promote discussion. Participants are expected to give a brief (max 10 minutes) presentation on their topic during the workshop.

Important Dates

  • Submission Deadline: 14 February 2020
  • Notification Deadline: 18 February 2020
  • Workshop Date: 2 June 2020


Ville Kankainen​ (M.Sc.) is a researcher and a PhD student in the Tampere University Game Research Lab, with a background in game design. In his dissertation Kankainen investigates the relation of digital media and tabletop-gaming. He has studied hybrid board games in Hybrid Playful Experiences (2012-2014) and Hybrid Social Play (2016-2017) research projects. His research interests are focused on hybrid play, tabletop- gaming culture, game design and game jams. He is currently working in Offsetting Game project. Kankainen is also a treasurer and board member of Finnish Game Jam association

Melissa J. Rogerson​ (BA(Hons), GradCertSoftDev, GradDipInetComm, PhD) is a Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction at The University of Melbourne. Her PhD research focused on the play experience of modern boardgames, focusing on the four key dimensions of sociality, intellectual challenge, materiality and variety, which may be realized through physical or online play. She is interested in the ways in which players cooperate with one another as well as with game components during competitive play. Melissa is currently leading a project investigating the functions of hybrid tools in modern boardgames, supported by Game-in-Lab.

Janne Paavilainen ​(Ms.Econ.) is a UI/UX designer at BON Games and doctoral student at Tampere University, Finland. Prior to his work in the private sector, Janne worked in academia for 15 years running research projects and doing games research on game usability, playability, and game experiences. Janne led the Hybrid Social Play (2016-2017) project in Games Research Lab at Tampere University and is interested in how digital technology can enhance, expand, and extend the hybrid board game experience. Recently Janne has been focusing on the concept of playability and its meanings in various game contexts.

Further Information

For further information, contact: