In order to improve undergraduate students’ mastery of urban theory, we developed an active‐learning module that allows participants to compete with one another in a board game of strategic planning and coalition formation called “AudaCity.” Utilizing a games‐based learning design, the game places players in the roles of adversarial property developers, political actors, and zoning committees all seeking to build and raise rent from developments within a spatially constrained urban grid. Game mechanics such as proximity bonuses and limitations to available space compel players to simultaneously compete against and collaborate with their peers to advance their development agenda while thwarting rival projects in the hopes of generating more wealth than their competitors. Unlike a prescribed simulation, the final outcome of the game is an urban environment organically generated from the accumulation of the players' individual decisions. In this paper, we provide an overview of the game’s mechanics and place the game within the larger context of game‐based learning and serious games. Importantly, we note that urban studies classrooms were at one time an early adopter of the games‐based learning design, but the inclusion of simulation in teaching urban studies has waned since the 1970’s. We hope that this active‐learning module can demonstrate the effectiveness of allowing undergraduate students to master urban theory through the negotiated construction of their own urban space and inspire future instructors to return games‐based learning to urban studies. We draw on qualitative data from several courses in which AudaCity was implemented to demonstrate its effectiveness in facilitating student learning. With data from several instances in which AudaCity was used in undergraduate courses and writing assignments completed by students after playing the game, we find that playing AudaCity helps students be able to discuss urban studies models and theories clearly and connect these models and theories to both their game experiences and relevant situations in real‐world cities.
King, C. & Cazessus, M. (October 2014). Teaching with AudaCity: A Board Game for Urban Studies. In I.C. Busch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning: ECGBL2014, Volume 1, (pp. 272-278). Paper presented at 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning, University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany. Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/colby_king/6/