Cat Battles – Using Papers Past Text to seed Game Play

Hi Im Greig I work in the digitisation team at NLNZ and am currently obsessed with the idea of making a cat card based battle game out of Papers Past Article Ideas.

The general Gist is to expose new audiences to our heritage data and encourage them to poke around with API’s and open Data sets.

Lite Background:

-World of Warcraft at its peak had 12 million active accounts around the world, players mined data out of the game data to display in databases (, They also wrote modifications for the game to enrich this data with item drop rates, and “geographic” spawn locations for mobs(creatures). Many Calculators where created to work out the optimal DPS, HPS, migration etc.

-Collectible Card Games -CCG’s have been around for ages but got super popular in the 90s with games like Magic The Gathering. There are often sort after cards that cost sometimes hundreds of dollars to purchase.

-What if you generated cards from papers past article data? Finding a rare card would not cost thousands of dollars, just some time searching through Papers Past or even better writing a script/app/program to work out the best “characteristics”.

A crude mock up was made on monday at the NDF Hackathon and I really want to explore this idea further. You can try it out here:

It was an amazing experience working with people with a variety of skills and ability’s, I want to keep that going!

Proposed Talk/Session:

-Go Through Background, explain as necessary

-mechanic demonstration (using Magic the Gathering Cards)

-Card Generation discussion. What Interesting information can be taken from a newspaper article and turned into a value or modifier. Is there anything useful that could be learned from this?

eg. I was tossing around the idea of bad OCR providing a special ability to encourage people to find these articles that would best benefit from text correction (which Im sure will get added to Papers Past eventually right?). As someone that works with the Digitised data this game could become a working tool.

Categories: Games, Session Proposals, Session: Talk |
Profile photo of Greig Roulston

About Greig Roulston

I have a degree in Visual Communication Design where I majored in Computer Graphics (Animation). Got into Digitization working at NLNZ, have been a photographer in ATL before my current role. Have now been working at NLNZ/ATL for 6 years. As a Digitization Adviser I help run bulk newspaper, book and map digitization projects. I am also currently working with large data sets using Python to automate scoping tasks, harvesting and converting metadata.