Join acclaimed board game designer Cole Wehrle as he explores the relationship between play and material design in board games. He’ll share his approach to the physical elements of board games—cards, pieces, and the boards themselves—and how the materiality of each game invites a unique mode of play. This object-based exploration will be moderated by Bard Graduate Center (BGC) PhD candidate Nicholas de Godoy Lopes.
Cole Wehrle is an ex-academic who abandoned the lucrative field of Victorian studies in favor of game publishing. He is the creative director at Leder Games and the designer of Root, which uses a children’s book aesthetic to explore the politics of police states and insurgency. Root and its expansions have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. With the help of his brother, Wehrle also publishes historical games covering subjects such as state formation in nineteenth-century Afghanistan (Pax Pamir) and the rise and collapse of the British East India Company (John Company).

Nicholas de Godoy Lopes is a doctoral candidate at BGC specializing in nineteenth-century European design. He is currently working on his dissertation which studies nineteenth-century folios of original ornamental designs as key tools for designers and craftspeople who were refashioning their creative identities in response to industrialization. His other major scholarly interests include theories of ornament past and present and the materiality and aesthetics of contemporary board games.

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