A Round of Feedback from Student Players

I’ve finally had a chance to look at the feedback from Isaac Joslin’s students, who played Sans-Papiers a few weeks ago in the context of Joslin’s course on immigration in France.

Of the 18 responses I received, 13 made some mention of the rules being difficult to understand or complicated; 13 used some variation of “interesting” or “fun” to describe play (one instance of “magnifique” is included in this count). A few did not address game play at all, but instead outlined a perceived lesson on the hardships of immigrant life.

Roleplay =/= Game of Life. Photo by Hanoko via Deviantart.
Roleplay =/= Game of Life. Photo by Hanoko via Deviantart.

Here are some selected comments, with my thoughts:

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The Game Should Teach the Player: a Board for Sans-Papiers

When I introduced Sans-Papiers (the immigration game) to Isaac Joslin at the University of Denver, we had the luxury of playtime. We spent half an hour or so playing the game together, as I explained the rules in context and we navigated the situations that came up in our particular game. Isaac hadn’t played a tabletop role-playing game before, so the mechanics were new to him, although he picked them up quickly and, I felt, came away from the session with an understanding not just of how the rules functioned as we used them in that instance, but how the RPG models what it tries to model and how its rules serve the game. I was pretty confident that he would be ready to teach the game to his students, but the reality is that many students are not experienced in playing a wide variety of tabletop games; even with an experienced teacher, there is a learning curve to games that has to be addressed.

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