Examining the ‘digital’ in hybrid digital boardgames

Project overview

Increasingly, commercial boardgames integrate digital technologies to create ‘hybrid’ games that unite the physical game with a digital app. This project aims to understand how digital technology is being used to enhance, support and extend commercial boardgames through creation of ‘hybrid’ digital-physical boardgames.

Using data from a survey of boardgame players and interviews with leading boardgame designers, developers and publishers, we investigate attitudes towards these hybrid games. Furthermore, we have built a model that describes the different ways that hybridity is used in a game, exploring the role of digital components in the wider gameplay experience. Finally, through a comprehensive survey of academic material, we are investigating the different ways that these hybrid games are used and described in research.

The project aims to identify additional opportunities to enhance or supplement tabletop boardgame play with digital technologies in ways that align with players’ preferences and industry goals, as well as opportunities for novel interaction techniques.

In future, we plan to explore the use of other digital technologies in boardgames, including electronic games and simple circuit-completion tools used in games like Operation.

Funding source

This work is supported by a grant from Game-in-Lab to explore the functions of digital tools in app and website-linked hybrid digital boardgames.

Project team

Contact details