Digital enhancement of board games using the example of the instruction manual
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This study aims to determine how digital rulebooks in the form of an app can improve the board game experience.

Board Games

Board games are a popular hobby, but board game instructions and their format have seen little development past the standard printed manual.


Some alternatives already exist. However, the selection is oftentimes limited and the quality varies greatly.

Related work

The research was focused on how the delivery of instructions works in mobile learning spaces, particularly for users who need to switch their visual attention.

To answer the question which methods can be used to enhance the comprehension of instructions for players, multiple user tests were conducted.

User Tests

This study put special emphasis on how users interact with this type of app. The tests were conducted according to LeanUX to get results quickly and improve upon them. To follow these guidelines, several user tests were held over the course of this thesis to determine the best methods. Each test focused on one specific question which was to be answered by using hypotheses and appropriate measurements.

The Prototypes

Each round of tests featured a different prototype which was reduced to the base functions necessary to test the hypotheses. Two of them can be seen here. The chosen game for both of these tests was Villagers, thus the content of the prototypes is based on Sinister Fish Games (Hg.)(2019) and Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co. KG (2019), Stuttgart

Chunk Test Round 1 Prototype
This prototype was used to test how much content can be absorbed by the users and whether audio-output is necessary.
Configuration Test Prototype
This prototype was used to test whether the users become more active when the app responds to their situation and provides checkpoints.


The results of the user tests showed that users have specific needs and preferences within digital manuals.


The information must be provided in small chunks and only at the specific point when it is relevant. The wording needs to be precise and supported by appropriate graphics. Audio output can improve the experience with the app, but the user needs to be able to turn it off manually. Configuring the content for the current game situation helps with reducing insecurities and engages the user with the app.

Future Work

More tests are necessary to ensure the reliability of the data. One question that arose in the last test was how to keep the user engaged not only with the app but the game itself. The players should deliberate their moves and not simply follow the provided steps.


The motivation of the players to learn rules with an app is high. Users can comprehend the rules and translate them from the app onto the game. The users are able to work together to overcome the barriers which are prevalent when learning new games.


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