Participants at the 2020 CUNY Games Conference designing a game.

2021 Conference

Welcome to the Conference! If you haven’t registered yet, we may still have spots; register here to get the Zoom link and other information.

CUNY Games Conference 7.0
Friday, Jan. 22, 9:30 AM-6 PM EST via Zoom
with a separate gameplay day on Saturday, Jan. 23

CUNY Games Conference 7.0

CUNY Games Conference 7.0: Jan. 22nd & 23rd, 2021

Throughout the day, use the “Open Space” linked here to share resources & ideas, network with participants, give feedback about the conference, etc. 

Conference Logistics

      • Tech Requirements
        • Zoom: You MUST update your desktop or mobile Zoom App to version 5.3.0 or higher (for Chrome OS, version 5.0.0 (4241.1207) or higher). Please do this right now. 
        • Google Accounts: This is optional, but it would help if you had a Google Account and your user/PW ready for logging in.
      • Can’t Attend First Session?: If you cannot attend the What’s Your Game Plan? (WYGP?) session at 10 AM EST, you may wish to watch in advance a video of a previously recorded WYGP? Session ( The design elements taught during WYGP? may prove useful to you throughout the other sessions. 
      • Latecomers: Feel free to join a session after it has started. If you only see a few people (or no one) in the Main Room, it means people are already in breakouts; be patient, and an organizer will attend to you shortly to put you in a breakout.
      • Muting Policy: Remain muted during the facilitator’s speaking time (unless the facilitator says otherwise). You can always use the “Reactions” area to offer non-verbal feedback through Zoom icons (e.g. yes, no, go slower; thumbs-up, heart), and also type questions or comments into the chat area for co-hosts and other attendees to respond to.
        • During breakouts, you should unmute to talk to your group.
        • Between sessions, there will be one large Main Room in Zoom containing all 200-300 of us. We can try allowing audio for those that want to speak, but if it gets unwieldy, we’ll have to mute everyone. 
      • Private Chats: We know you’ll want to talk directly to other participants (and the organizers)! In the “Chat” area, click on the drop down next to “To:” for sending a message to a specific person in the meeting.
      • Private Video Chats: If you prefer the spontaneity of a video chat, it is possible to be on our conference Zoom video chat while also on another software’s video chat. So, ask the other person if they’d like to Skype/WhatsApp/Signal video chat with you. (Just don’t do this during a session you’re attending!)
      • Participating in a Breakout Room
        • Screen sharing and Chat – You can share your screen with just your Breakout Room. You can also chat with just your Breakout Room (links, ideas). You cannot communicate with the main room this way.
        • Asking the host for help – Click the “Ask for Help” bottom icon to alert the host to join your breakout for assistance. The host or a co-host should be able to respond within a minute. You can also try the “raise your hand” feature.
      • Escape the Zoom: There are 15-min. breaks between sessions. For our Escape Room, we’d love if you completed any tasks linked here during that time. 
      • Troubleshooting: Make sure you are using the most up-to-date version of Zoom. If this does not help, leave and re-join the meeting. 
    • This is the CGN’s first online conference. We’ve done our best to anticipate hiccups, but we appreciate your patience if unforeseen technicalities disrupt the flow of the day. 


9:30 AM: Opening game/introduction

10-11: What’s Your Game Plan? Turn Your Lesson into a Game with Joe Bisz

What does the lesson “Finding Citations,” the game “Trivial Pursuit,” and the mechanic “Bluffing” all have in common? In this boot camp brainstorm, your team is given a mission: to enhance your exercise with the mechanics of popular board games in only 20 minutes. This workshop is regularly featured at the CUNY Games Conference and will show you how to integrate more play and games into your online or in-person classroom. As our kick-off event this year, it will also provide design techniques for the rest of today’s breakout sessions.

11:15-12: Idea Exchange 1: Adapting In-Person Classroom Games for An Online Environment

12:15-1: Workshop 2: Universal Design in Game Design:  with Devorah Kletenik

No student left behind! Create digital games and course content that are inclusive to all students, especially those with disabilities. Experience some of the challenges and frustrations that students with disabilities may experience, and learn some best practices for increasing accessibility. No programming experience required!

1-1:30 —lunch break— 30 min.

1:30-2:15: Idea Exchange 2: Facilitating Collaborative Learning in a Game-like Setting or Game

2:30-3:15: Workshop 3: Students as Designers: Mentoring Students to Make Meaningful Games with Robert O. Duncan

Inquiry-based learning is designed to teach students creative problem solving and critical thinking using genuine, unsolved problems in the world. Its project-based curriculum greatly improves learning outcomes relative to passive learning (i.e., lecture and test). Inquiry-based learning focuses on skill development rather than the memorization of content. Similarly, game-based learning (GBL) is an active learning strategy that is best known for fostering engagement. Yet, most applications of GBL treat students as receptacles of knowledge. This workshop will provide the rationale for marrying inquiry-based learning and GBL. Students in this novel classroom environment are treated as designers that have the power to solve society’s problems. This workshop will cover tested methods for co-designing digital and tabletop games with students, and it will provide opportunities to apply this knowledge to your curriculum.   

3:30-4:15: Idea Exchange 3: Leveling Up Your Lesson with Game Principles and Flow

4:30-5:15: Workshop 4: Escape the Zoom: Designing Puzzle Games for Online Learning with Carolyn Stallard

    • Complete task-based activities and puzzles in this meta workshop experience.
    • Learn escape room best practices for use in asynchronous and synchronous online instruction.
    • Use what you learn to design activities for your own digital instructional spaces.
    • Escape the session through puzzle design.
    • 0 (zero).
    • What should replace the five X marks? 

5:15-5:45: Wrap Up/Reflection Session

Complete one final brain exchange activity and learn about tomorrow’s gameplay (Sat., Jan. 23rd, 12-6 PM EST). 

CUNY GAMES CONFERENCE 7.0: DAY 2 (Jan. 23rd, 2021), 12-6 PM EST

Day 2 consists of pre-structured & drop-in gameplay, play testing, and game design. 

To access the meeting, use the Zoom link from Friday’s conference. 

Use this spreadsheet to sign up for games: 

    • BEFORE Meeting: Register for Game Platform!: 
      • If you don’t have a digital gaming account at BoardGameArena, make a free one at . We will usually use this.
      • Feel free to host a game on another platform if participants have it (write the platform you intend to use on the sign-up). 
    • BEFORE Meeting: Organize Games!
      • Use the spreadsheet link above to organize in advance. (The italics in the first row show an example.) 
      • Anyone may sign up to host or participate in a game, or organize another activity (want to talk about escape rooms? Interested in modding games? Write that on spreadsheet)
    • DURING Meeting:
      • The main Zoom room will serve as a “hangout” space for networking and forming groups. A moderator will be in the room at all times. 
      • Participants will be sent to breakout rooms when ready to begin games. 
      • Sign up for games and organize them on the “Use this spreadsheet” link above!
        • You may also use this chart to organize non-game interactions such as a game design or brainstorming session. 
      • For all casual games, the ideal is that at the end of the game, players should spend at least 5 minutes debriefing how they might borrow elements of it for the classroom.
    • Special Playtest Events:

1-3 PM: Jessica Creane

    • Game designer Jessica Creane will host an immersive game/performance. 4-8 audience members will be chosen to actively participate. Everyone else may observe, then contribute to the discussion afterward. Note: You will not be allowed to speak or write in the chat during this session. 
    • At 1 PM a Zoom breakout room will appear for this event. Self-select the breakout room to join. A moderator will be available if you have trouble joining the room. 

3-3:30pm: “Love and Relationships: The Quote Game” by Joe Bisz 

    • Description: Nothing is more poignant to read than a good quote. In this social game, we draw two random cards that feature quotes from poets and authors about love and relationships. Then we use our brains and our hearts to find a personal meaning between them.
    • Players: Up to 20.
    • Playtester Challenge: Joe is particularly interested in your thoughts on whom the audience for this game may be, since that is holding him up!

Educators coming together to explore how the principles of games promote learning