EMPAMOS – Empirical Analysis of Motivating Game Elements

The EMPAMOS project is a Nuremberg Tech research project carried out in collaboration with the Deutsches Spielearchiv Nürnberg games museum. The aim of the project is to analyze board and parlour games using qualitative and quantitative research methods to discover the motivational game elements that game inventors combine into original variations in their games. This will take place in three steps:

In the first step, selected board and parlour games are played and researched with regard to the game elements used. These game elements are described as proven patterns for recurring design problems on the basis of Christopher Alexander’s pattern theory. 

In the second step, search engine technology and machine learning processes for text analysis are used to empirically investigate the relevance and frequency of use of the game elements described. This requires as many game manuals as possible to be digitalized and analyzed from the approximate total of 30,000 board and parlour games.

In the third step, the game elements and their most frequent combinations will be compiled on the basis of the empirical analysis results into a pattern language that represents, to an extent, the DNA of motivational games. Applied research projects should then use these patterns to develop and test motivational game ideas and gamification solutions.

Prof. Thomas Voit

Project start/end

December 2016/December 2023


Participants:Deutsches Spielearchiv Nürnberg games museum
Prof. Dr. Robert Lehmann (Nuremberg Institute of Technology, Faculty of Social Sciences)
Prof. Dr. Laila Hofmann (Nuremberg Tech, Faculty of Business Administration)
Research associates:Alexander Schneider (Nuremberg Tech, Faculty of Computer Science)
Mathias Kriegbaum (Nuremberg Tech, Faculty of Computer Science)
Students:Julia Falk (Master of Applied Research)
Daniel Rupprecht


The project is funded through various sources:

  • Business activity as part of the commercial operations of the Faculty of Computer Science
  • LEONARDO - Center for Creativity and Innovation