Meta Geeklist for My Amazing Students' Board Game Designs!
Update: I now have a website where I'll be sharing all my game design resources, including the materials I use in teaching game design. You are welcome to come take a look, download resources, and share feedback. Yay technology! http://www.kathleenmercury.com
I teach middle school kids to design strategy games. Each semester, I post their work on a BGG thread and the great folks of BGG are too kind to be support them in their efforts. I created this Meta-Geeklist so that anyone interested in what we can can subscribe to this list and get updates when I post new projects.
Here's my fairly standard header, explaining what we do:
My 13 year old middle school gifted students design strategy games over the course of a semester, and here are their results. We spend two months playing a wide variety of strategy games and analyzing theme, mechanics, and victory conditions. Then, students design their own. They spend about two months on their design and by the end, have created a complete prototype and rule set.
I think game design is the best thing that I've ever taught. My students love games and that hooks them from the start. The project is challenging in so many ways and gets harder, and more rewarding, with every step. Choosing the theme allows them to immerse themselves deeply into a subject that matters to them. Then, by focusing on mechanics and victory conditions, they must think deeply about the experience they are trying to create for their players. Writing the ruleset is the next level of challenge because they must distill their ideas into a cogent, functional set AND then explain it so others can have the same experience in playtesting. After a cycle of playtesting and refinement, students create a polished prototype and we publish the results here for all the world to see.
The project requires holistic, visual-spatial thinking as well as analytical, sequential thinking. They must design the game they want while keeping what gamers want and need in mind. They have to be creative on deadlines and manage their time in class to determine their own courses of action. I never let students design a game with a partner because at the end of class, each student has full ownership of everything in their box--all 8,000 decisions are theirs forever.
All things considered, the results are pretty impressive for students whose only strategy gaming experience might have included Risk and Stratego before this class.
Thanks to all for your interest and support!
- [+] Dice rolls