What is the Tableau Community Project—Games Night Viz?

Learn about the monthly data visualization challenge that uses data from your favorite games to improve your data visualization, data preparation and design skills

If you’re a gaming enthusiast, Games Night Viz is a monthly Tableau data visualization challenge where you can practice your data visualization, data preparation, and design skills. These initiatives are created and led by members of the DataFam community. Participants learn, practice, and apply data skills across topics, products, and causes. Games Night Viz focuses on using data from your favorite games—like card games, board games, and video games to party games and game shows—to improve your dashboard-building skills.

How did Games Night Viz get started?

Tableau Public Ambassador, Will Sutton found an opportunity to bring together two of his biggest passions–games and Tableau. He was holding onto an extensive list of game-related viz ideas and wanted to create a way to connect with other gamers in the data community. He approached Louis Yu and Tina Covelli, also passionate gamers looking to find a way to get more involved in the Tableau Community and give back. Tina says, “I often spend my free time discussing what games we’re playing, so joining the team was a win-win.” Together, they launched the Tableau Community project, Games Night Viz. 

Collage of Games Night Viz Project Leaders - Tina Covelli, Will Sutton, and Louis Yu

Games Night Viz leaders Tina Covelli, Will Sutton, and Louis Yu.

Who can participate in Games Night Viz? 

Tableau users of all skill levels looking to strengthen their data prep and design skills in a fun way can participate in Games Night Viz. Games Night Viz also welcomes non-Tableau participants who use the challenges to build in programming languages. Tina Covelli says, “We have specific Tableau Prep challenges within each release. In the past, we've had participation from people who analyze and visualize using R. So it is not limited to only the Tableau Community. If someone wants to get involved from a Prep perspective, this is a great place for that.”

How do I participate in Games Night Viz and what Tableau skills will I learn?

Games Night Viz announces a new theme each month, along with a handful of datasets varying in difficulty. Each participant gets to select a data set and a principle of design to focus on for the challenge. Check their site for step-by-step instructions. 

The challenges are centered around improving a visual aspect of data visualization—colors, font, map layers, containers, and more. Tina says, “I’m able to take the skills I’m learning in school and work and incorporate them into the design focused challenges.” 

A new challenge is released every six weeks and it is up to the participants to decide how much time they want to spend on it. Louis shares, “the great thing about this initiative is it never really starts or ends. You can pick it up at the very first challenge and work your way up or jump in at the current challenge.”  Since the project started, Will, Louis and Tina have created challenges that provide opportunities to learn new techniques and agnostic design skills with a gaming angle—some of the themes include: Player Select, Montages and Power Ups.

Along with the data prep and design skills learned during each challenge, the social component is invaluable. After completing the challenge, participants are encouraged to share their visualizations on Tableau Public and Twitter using the #GamesNightViz hashtag and by tagging the team @WJSutton12, @Visual_Endgame, @ninjavizlouis. The project leaders, along with other participants and members of the DataFam openly share feedback, learnings and encouragement in the comments. “We are constantly learning from the community as much as they’re learning from us.” 

Collage of Games Night Viz submissions

Collage of Games Night Viz submissions. Image provided by Louis Yu.

For a deeper dive into Games Night Viz, check out this episode of Games Night Viz where Tina and Louis sat down with Tableau Public Ambassador, Priya Padham to share how being on the Games Night Viz team has impacted their Tableau journey, how to get the most out of the challenges, and a special Games Night Viz data visualization build walk through.

What are the other Tableau Community Projects?

Tableau Community Projects are a great way to connect with like-minded data people while improving your data skills. Click here to see the complete list of projects that span topics, products, and causes.