MASSIVE, GINORMOUS Geeklist of my students' game prototypes!
I'm out of the classroom until Monday as I'm with our middle school team at Science Olympiad Nationals. We do like to stay busy. I am not sure how many more responses I'll be able to post next week during the last couple days of school next week, so please know all of you have my heartfelt thanks for your support. It means so much to have their work considered so thoughtfully by the gaming community. The students have been excited to see how many thumbs we got on the overall post as well as for individual games. Thanks for helping to make that happen.
See you next semester!!!
Most people think middle schoolers are good at sulky looks and insouciance, but my magical students are capable of much, much more: strategy game design! This semester, I have three classes for a total of 46 student prototypes. As always, I am eternally surprised by the creativity and difficult choices my students make in developing their prototypes.
This semester, I did some things differently. First of all, I started by talking about mechanics first. I usually wait to do this, but you know, I can't believe I didn't do it this way before! I used to think that starting out with theme would be best, because it would give them a bucket of content that they could use to develop initial ideas, then we could develop mechanics according to their ideas. This worked pretty well, for the most part. However, last semester's kids were uniform in their feedback for me that I start with mechanics.
The more I thought about it, the more they were correct. (Shocking!) I used to have kids just jump into playing strategy games for a month or so, learning and teaching each other games, figuring they would get a sense for different mechanics through osmosis, of sorts. They did, but they didn't really know what the mechanics were as they were experiencing them. I was concerned that by teaching them the mechanics from the start, they would be bored or think it was an keeping them from playing games, which they really want to do, of course. So with this year's group, I told them how I was mixing it up, and they were good sports. I tried to make it fun, discussing 30+ mechanics.
But you know, since game mechanics are what separate a strategy game from traditional roll and move games, it was too important not to do, and I won't do it theme first anymore.
So, we discussed mechanics, and then they played games. I found that they had a much, much better experience. They understood better, the mechanics in the games they played, and were able to easily learn each type and discuss them intelligently as to how they would work in their individual games. And, as we designed the games over the course of the semester, their better understanding of mechanics made the game design process easier in some ways. And, faster! The kids started working on their Geeklist information almost a week earlier than in previous semesters, and at the end of the school year, that means something.
So, just to recap, we talked about mechanics, played games for a month or so, developed themes, talked about mechanics again, talked about objectives and victory conditions, made prototypes, playtested, developed rulesets, playtested a bit more, wrote these blurbs as they actively finish rules and prototypes.
A mountain of work in a semester, and these fantastic students deserve every bit of credit you can sling their way.
For their blurbs below, they had to provide the following information:
1. Provide a short Description:
2. Describe the gameplay—what do players do on their turns, how do the components of the game interact with each other?
3. Why did you choose this theme?
4. Game Mechanics:
5. How do players win and how the game ends?
6. WHY IS YOUR GAME AWESOME AND AMAZING?
I will be adding each student's blurb as they finish them (and submit their pictures to me). So check back, because I should have around 46 when this is done.
Please feel free to thumb games you like. My students definitely pay attention to this.
Special thanks to two fabulous local game designers for coming in to my classes to talk to each one about their games and to answer questions. Thanks to my soulmate, Spin Monkeys and thanks to my great friendAaron BelmerUnited States
My classes and I am better for knowing both of you.
I created a Meta Geeklist for all my former posts about my students' work. You can subscribe to it, if you'd like to see what we've done and get updates on future posts. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/156902/meta-geeklist-f...
- [+] Dice rolls