ITLS Students and Alumni Attended Saltcon 2018

Written by Katarina Pantic, a PhD candidate in the Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences Program.

This year, ITLS students and alumni attended Saltcon 2018, Utah’s 10th board game convention in Layton, Utah. According to a story, which provides a nice overview of the convention, this year the convention pre-sold over 1,400 tickets. That is over 1,400 people (including children) displaying, testing and playing a variety of board and video games at Davis Conference Center.

The ITLS Saltcon Team, pictured in the following order: Stephanie, Katarina, Aubrey, and Kim.
The ITLS Saltcon Team, pictured in the
following order: Stephanie, Katarina,
Aubrey, and Kim

The ITLS Saltcon Team, pictured in the following order: Aubrey, Katarina, and Stephanie.

Our team, which this year consisted of three current students (Aubrey, Kim and Katarina) and one alumna (Stephanie, the magnificent founder of ITLS Game Jams), spend two days at the convention. We playtested and/or played over 15 games, some of our favorite ones this year being Karuba, Archeology, Ticket to Ride, Piratoons, Kingdominos, Delve, Pirate 21, Claim it!, and Azul (hot game!). It seems that this year’s theme were games that had a unique I-have-never-seen-such-a-game feel to them. For example, Azul is a game where you get to build your own design with miniature Portuguese tiles (azulejos). One of the games that we did not manage to play, as it was too popular, was Above and Below. We did, however, talk to game designers, and we ended up winning, getting or buying quite a few games 😊. 

This time around we wanted to highlight a discovery that shows mastery in instructional design and it promises to bring in a fun change into board game play. It is an app called Dized. It is basically envisioned to serve as a substitute for the long written rulebooks we are all so used to using (and interpreting) upon purchasing a new game. With this phone app, that has a rule look-up tool in addition to interactive tutorials with voiceovers, the goal is to both accelerate the learning process and make it more interesting. As the app is new, currently only Kingdomino is available on it, but many more companies either already signed up or are in the process of signing up their game for this experience. Aubrey and Kat tested the app while playing Kingdominos and it worked perfectly.

Aubrey and Katarina
Aubrey and Katarina

If you are interested in game design or just like playing works in progress (aka playtest game prototypes), you can also join the Board Game Design Guild of Utah. For more information, please go to:

We hope to see you at SaltCon next year. In the meantime, please join us for our weekly ITLS Game Jams on Tuesdays from 3.45 to 4.45pm in the ITLS Design Lab (Education Building, room 270).

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