Detective of the Past: A Board Game Designed to Promote and Encourage the Learning of History and Ethnic Culture in Mae Hong Son Province

Mr.Suporn Shoosongdej

Introduction :

Highland area, Pang Ma Pha District Mae Hong Son Province There is a karst landscape composed of valleys, cave and complex. It is a former human shelter since prehistoric times. especially the Log Coffin Culture that is unique in the area, age between 2,100-1,100 years ago, continued to the present. There are ethnic diversity, such as Thai Yai, Karen, Black Lahu, Red Lahu, Lisu, Hmong, Lua, Pa-O, Chinese and urban people. However, perceptions of ethnic communities on the importance of the Log Coffin Culture are still limited. because of the barriers of youth in poverty and communication causing a lack of equal educational opportunities. Therefore, strengthening ethnic communities It is necessary to begin education in an informal way. Board games are a tool to promote learning through experience. lifelong learning which can develop skills for people of all levels. It makes ethnic youths to know their roots, be aware of changes affecting local society and culture as well as to realize the importance of the Log Coffin Culture heritage in Pang Ma Pha area and create pride in their own cultural identity 

This article presents the board game research series. “Detectives of the Past” is experimental research that to apply knowledge of archeology and local history. The game combines the concept of learning through games and the design thinking process. Focusing on responding to the needs of users to systematic design work.  The results showed that the efficient and standardized process for designing and developing board games was the knowledge of the historical background and cultural archeology of the Log Coffin Culture. The system of play that corresponds to the communication of knowledge, Illustrations suitable for the content, powerful game props tested and accepted. The game therefore has the potential to empower the community and the product can be developed for commercial use. 


1. Design creative tools to reduce inequality in the education system of Mae Hong Son Province 

2. To enhance student learning and enhance interpersonal skills in line with the learning objectives of the 21st century skill. 

3. An alternative educational tool to promote informal, lifelong learning and increase knowledge at all educational levels. 

4. It is the first board game project in Thailand to translate scientific archeology research into classroom content that is easily accessible and understandable to students. and may give those who love to play games 


The project goal is the creation of an educational board game designed to promote and facilitate student learning of the history and ethnic culture of Mae Hong Son Province.  The project applies basic concepts of game-based learning to a Design Thinking Process focusing on meeting the needs of teachers and secondary students. The game rests on the scientific findings of extensive archaeological research by Associate Professor Rasmi Shoocongdei of Silpakorn University. The game translates scientific research into classroom content that is readily accessible and comprehensible to students, and potentially to gaming enthusiasts. 

The design process assessed the knowledge required and enjoyment experienced by game users, as well as the technical performance of the game itself. The game develops three major themes: “Ethnic Detectives” promotes learning and understanding of ethnic cultures; “The Mystery of the Log Coffin” conveys the scientific understanding of the wooden coffin culture of Mae Hong Son; and “The Detective of the Past” links history to modern efforts to preserve culture through excavation and cultural resource management, two key elements of the archeological approach to history. 

The game design achieves four main objectives: to apply the results of archaeological research to innovative curricula linking the Mae Hong Son past to contemporary changes affecting local society and culture; to augment students’ acquisition of essential cognitive skills;  to design games that promote cross-cultural learning; and to create games with commercial potential, thereby lowering costs to academic institutions. 

The project demonstrated four key findings: archaeological research can be integrated into games that increase knowledge and cultural skills; proper design and development processes can produce games that assist users in developing cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and more effective communications skills; the Design Thinking Process is effective in developing innovative board games that contribute to education and cross-cultural learning; and an effective game rests on five key factors: engaging content, content-appropriate illustrations, effective game props, testing and acceptance, and a compelling game-playing experience.  

In conclusion, through rigorous design and testing the project successfully produced a game (“Detective of the Past”) that serves as a model for incorporating scientific research into an education curriculum so as to strengthen student learning and enhance interpersonal skills, in line with twenty-first century learning objectives. 

Techniques and Materials:

Digital Print Objects, Boxset 


“Knowledge from research can be made into a fun game.” 

1. Board game are effective as research tools that promotes learning in a new way for students.  

2. Through rigorous design and testing the project successfully produced a game (“Detective of the Past”) that serves as a model for incorporating scientific research into an education curriculum  

3. To strengthen student learning and enhance interpersonal skills, in line with twenty – first century learning objectives