Yay! Student Game Designs Craving Your Feedback, Advice, and Mad Props
Thank you BGG! We are done for the semester!
Each semester, I take my 7th grade gifted students on an adventure of game design, and this Geeklist presented their final game prototypes for you, my humble BGG user, to thumb and provide feedback.
Please thumb any and all games you like! They love seeing this! They won't be responding to any more comments, but they still check, even years later.
Over the years, students have been coming to my class with more and more gaming experience because of older siblings who've had my class, their participation in my strategy games class, or because their families play games. Many still haven't though, so I have them play a variety of games to learn all about different mechanics and themes, as well as experience different types of gameplay over all. After this, students design a fast game in groups to get an idea of what game design in, then we dig in. Students brainstorm and research themes, revisit mechanics, and begin prototyping. We have a few rounds of playtesting, prototyping, playtesting, and then we begin to craft the rules for the games, itself as a prototyping step. After peer reviews, we make the final prototypes and what you see below is the culmination of all that work.
Much of what I do isn't really teaching game design, but coaching students through the design process. Rapid prototyping, creating proof of concepts, showing unfinished work, feedback (giving, getting, incorporating) and technical writing are all part of what I coach the students to do. Most will never create a game again, of course, but all of those ideas will always be relevant.
My goal is for my students to become active creators of content and ideas, not just consumers, and this project definitely reflects that. 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, and creative 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.
They have come up with some really cool ideas, especially given their inexperience, so thank you for helping me to celebrate with them.
If you're interested in my game design teaching resources, go to www.kathleenmercury.com.
If you want to subscribe to my MetaGeeklist of all these geeklists, click here. You'll get a notification when I add a new one (one each semester).
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
On a personal note, I would like to dedicate this Geeklist to the memory of N.C., who recently passed. He was a brilliant programmer, loving and dedicated husband and father to two fierce former students, and one of the most inspirational parents I've ever been fortunate to work with. He made me want to be a better teacher.
- [+] Dice rolls