At the Different Games Conference this past spring, Colleen Macklin and I ran a workshop session called Queering The Metagame. Using Merritt Kopas’ “Queer Mechanics” design model (which we lifted from her essay Interrupting Play: Queer Games and Futurity), we encouraged players to hack into The Metagame and create their own cards, rules, and play rituals.
Merritt’s eleven design strategies include disrupting time, enshrining the preposterous, and emphasizing explicit power relationships. What I love most about Merritt’s approach is that it takes a strong cultural stance, even as it engages closely with the formal structures of games.
We had the workshop participants invent new discussion cards, write new culture cards, and create new ways to play the game. It was a blast. I have always thought of the Metagame as a “game OS” – a deck of cards that can be used to play a whole bunch of different games. It was exciting to see that concept in action as players modded The Metagame and found their own ways to play. Thanks to Colleen for a great collaboration on this session! Maybe I’ll try this exercise in one of my NYU classes…
Finally, I just want to offer this quick link to Table Flip’s Metagame video review. The Table Flip folks play card and board games in full-on Victorian cosplay outfits. It is totally weird and wonderful. Enjoy their review of the Metagame!