Agency within Analog Shakespearean Games


  • Vernon Guy Dickson Florida International University


board games, Shakespeare


Analog (board and card) gaming is gaining popularity, in part motivated by the influence of new design principles inspired by so-called eurogames (deriving from the tradition of board games begun in Germany, such as Catan). This article studies the development of new approaches to affording player agency within three analog games with developed Shakespearean themes: Kill Shakespeare, Council of Verona, and Shakespeare. Using Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theories of agency as manifested in playing analog games, this article argues that games offer a meaningful way to see agency within a discrete social space and that games offer distinctive sites for varying agentic opportunities for players, though often as limited as they are freeing due to game and social constraints. These contemporary games use Shakespeare as a thematic center, allowing players to become agents within new Shakespearean game worlds, engaging players in active and dynamic social roles and highly structured play.

Author Biography

Vernon Guy Dickson, Florida International University

Vernon Dickson is Associate Professor of English at Florida International University, where he served as Director of the Literature and Film Programs. His monograph, Emulation on the Shakespearean Stage, explores theories and practices of imitation and emulation, primarily through their enactment on the English Renaissance stage. He has published articles related to Shakespeare, drama, rhetorical theory, exemplarity, and emulation in Renaissance Quarterly, Studies in English Literature, and The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. His current teaching and research examine adaptations of Shakespeare, particularly in popular and global cultures, including a recent chapter in Shakespeare and Geek Culture.