Social Utility: Are Chores Really Fun?


Justine McKenna

Creating a board game about the current world refugee crisis facilitates an ‘out-of-game’ social interaction. ‘Out of game’ is one of five categories that Xu et al (2011) found when analysing gameplay data of board games. These social interactions stem from chores in board games. Chores are interactions arising from the bookkeeping activities required to maintain and update game stat (Xu et al 2011). Waiting for a turn, rule learning and enforcement and maneuvering physical objects are all examples of board game chores. The social utility of Global Crisis 2020 stems from this idea of chores stimulating an educated understanding of refugees. Furthermore, when playing Pandemic, often I would discuss with fellow players about different types of diseases and the locations of certain cities on the board game map, I am now much more familiar with cities in South America and in Asia. With the introduction of new digital technologies, it…

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3 thoughts on “Social Utility: Are Chores Really Fun?

  1. This is a really interesting concept! I never really thought much about “chores” and what they could do for us save for being a little annoying sometimes. But thinking about it now, I realise I basically learnt about money while being the banker when I played Monopoly with my family (it never ended well- another lesson learnt!). The cooperative elements sound awesome, I’m not very familiar with such games and I’m interested in seeing how it turns out and maybe trying a similar game myself! I love the idea of making a game about the Refugee Crisis, games are such a great way to learn about issues that are misunderstood or misrepresented in other media. It kind of reminds me of the game Never Alone, I love the concept of playing as the little girl and her fox and learning about Native Alaskan culture.


  2. I never quite realised the social utility present in board game “chores” before. It’s an interesting concept that you can learn information auxiliary to playing the game, so to have this concept connected to your game dossier, I think is rather invaluable. The refugee crisis is generally a topic Australian’s can easily ignore, in my opinion anything that brings this topic into the public domain and educates people is incredibly important.

    “Chores” really seem prevalent in both analogue and digital games when you think about, people learn about the dangers of capitalism and monopolies from Monopoly, the value of money from Grand Theft Auto and a whole portion of Gen Y learnt about the Second World War from 90’s video games. Here is a journal article about the utility of games to explore historical events,

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  3. Working with your idea must be quite a challenge because board games have always been constructed around the idea of having fun. While video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Spec Ops: The Line and numerous others have challenged the morals of gamers engaging in virtual behaviour that is problematic in the real world, I’ve never heard of similar experiments occurring in table top gaming. If you pull this off, you really have the chance to create something truly unique and worthwhile in the gamut of contemporary board games.


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