Game Analysis and Design


This is a tentative schedule that may be changed based on the needs of the students, the needs of the instructor, or any apocalyptic events that may occur during the semester.

Sept. 14

Due today …
    #. Watch A case for boardgames [video] (Extra Credits) #. Complete the Gamer survey
  1. Readings (choose three) - Art of Game Design, Ch 1 In the beginning, there is the designer (Schell) - Art of Game Design, Ch 3 The experience rises out of a game (Schell) - A Theory of Fun, Ch 3 What games are (Koster) - My definition of game (Crawford) - What is a game? (Kramer) - BoardgameGeek "Game criteria" - SU&SD presents: A feast of friends! [video] (Smith) - 3 minute game design: episode 3 - how games work [video] (Burgun) - Why do we play games? (Vsauce) - Guest post: Things you wished you knew when you started designing (Kopp)
  2. #. Writing assignment (see Canvas) #. Read rules for Rolling Village #. Bring two player boards for Rolling Village to play in class (may require free BoardgameGeek login to download files) #. Read rules for Patchwork Doodle #. Bring a player board for Patchwork Doodle to play in class (may require free BoardgameGeek login to download files) #. (optional) Bring colored markers or similar to class. #. (optional) Try Game definitions (hit refresh a few times)
#### Class: Game design and Mechanics - today's slides - Syllabus scavenger hunt, what is a game? - "The goal of a game is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning." –Knizia - win gracefully, lose gracefully, take notes
  • online: solo games and "roll"-and-writes - Rolling Village - Patchwork Doodle
  • f2f: aesthetics vs. mechanics - Loco! - Botswana - Thor - Diamant - Incan Gold
  • Sept. 21

    Due today …
    1. Readings (one required, choose two others) - (required) MDA: A formal approach to game design and game research (Hunicke) - Cognitive flow (Baron) - What motivates use to play games? (Harkey) - Why we play games (Pulsipher) - Gamification: Framing the question (Ventrice) - The right type of fun for your game (Strain) - Motivations for gaming (Carslaw) - Can games be bad? (Creaking Shelves) - The primary motivations of board gamers: 7 takeaways (Yee) - Psychology of game design: Everything you know is wrong [video] (Meier) - Magic: The Gathering – Twenty years, twenty lessons learned [video] (Rosewater) - WIRED by Design: A game designer explains the counterintuitive secret to fun [video] (Bogost, 2014) - Getting good feedback (and what to do with it) (Slack) - Game mechanics or rules that ruin board game! [video] (Edo) - How to capture the game mechanics of any game! [video] (Gaming Indoors)
    2. #. Writing assignment (see Canvas) #. Complete Board Game Motivation Survey, explore your results, and note your primary motivation for class discussion
    3. Create at least three possible questions about fun and/or making games better, possible examples: - Oceans playtesting feedback: v1 form, v2 form, v3 form - Game evaluation sheet (Whitehill) - what do you ask to get actionable diagnostic feedback on your game? (Solis) - Game Experience Questionnaire (IJsselsteijn) - What are the most effective questions to ask playtesters? (Design 100) - My go-to questions to playtesters (Subserface Games)
    4. #. Solo playtest game on PNPArcade's Prototype Zone and complete form on the game page. Choose solo game only! #. Create a free Board Game Arena login then email this to the instructor to be added to the group for our class #. (optional) Prepare (print, cut) Carcassonne Demo to play in class
    #### Class: Surveying "fun" - today's slides - test 6 Nimmt on Board Game Arena
  • develop Fun Survey to help future game designs - cannot use "fun"? - identify "good" questions - use previous survey to add/subtract questions - compare questions and consolidate
  • - how to teach Carcassonne (BGA-premium)

    Sept. 28

    Due today …
    1. Readings (choose three) - Art of Game Design, Ch. 12 Game mechanics support puzzles (Schell) - Game design chat: Puzzle games with Rita Orlov (Kopp) - Peeking behind the locked door: A survey of escape room facilities (Nicholson, 2015) - Creating engaging escape rooms for the classroom (Nicholson, 2018) - Ask why: Creating a better player experience through environmental storytelling and consistency in escape room design (Nicholson, 2016) - Escape room puzzle design workshop | Renegade Con 2020 (Wild Optimists) - Thematic solitaires for the spare time challenged: The automa approach (Pedersen), multiple blog entries, choose one - Escape the (remote) classroom: An online escape room for remote learning (Vergne, Smith, & Bowen, 2020) - Designing puzzles and escaping the room (Comic-Con Museum)
    2. #. Writing assignment (see Canvas) #. Play Unlock! Demo "Tutorial" (via Space Cowboys or Asmodee). Note: color is often important. Complete Fun survey. #. Prepare (print, cut, color) Sprawlopolis pnp to play in class. Note: game cards are intended to be double-sided, but can still be played if single-sided. #. repare (print) Railroad Ink player board to play in class or use digital version #. (optional) Hogwart's Digital Escape Room
    #### Class: Puzzles and games - [today's slides](
  • online game analysis - Unlock demos (Elite cards) - Sprawlopolis - recap Patchwork Doodle - demo Silver & Gold - Railroad Ink
  • - Fun survey (admin)

    Oct. 5

    Due today …
    1. Readings (choose three) - Art of Game Design, Ch 5. The elements support a theme (Schell) - A Theory of Fun, Ch 4. What games teach us (Koster) - Mechanics as metaphor, part 1 [video] (Extra Credits) - Snakes and Ladders: How meaning of a game changes over time [video] (Extra Credits) - The themes, they are a' changing (Hoyt)
    2. #. Writing assignment (see Canvas) #. Solo playtest game of choice from SU&SD solo games, part II. Complete Fun survey. #. Prepare (print) Qwixx to play in class #. Prepare (print) Welcome To… score sheet to play in class or use digital version: iOS (free), Google Play (free) #. Prepare (print) Cartographers score sheet and edicts to play in class. Bringing colored markers/pens might be helpful. #. Start thinking about game ideas for your own Roll-and-write game.
    #### Class: Theme - [today's slides]( - game analysis and improve survey
  • f2f: - Jamaica with Alexis L and Brandon P - Mysterium with Amanda K and Bre C - New York 1901 with Rachel C and Victor H - Fresco with Dannelle M and Samantha F - Takenoko with Samantha R and Zachary M
  • online: - Qwixx (online dice) - Welcome To … (example score sheet) - Cartographers (digital score sheet, artistic maps)
  • - how does theme impact the game? - Fun survey (admin) Assign Roll-and-write project (due Sunday by noon!!!)

    Oct. 12

    Due today …
      #. Read 10 playtesting principles (Jome) #. NO writing assignment #. Prepare (print?, cut?, color?) Roll-and-write prototypes from group members #. Class will be using Zoom and will NOT meet in person
    #### Zoom: Playtest Roll-and-write projects - today's slides - playtesting (6 groups of 4, 20 minutes + 5 mins for feedback) - Fun survey (admin) Assign Roll-and-write playtest journal

    Oct. 19

    Due today …
    1. Readings (choose three) - Art of Game Design, Ch 25. Playtesting (Schell) - Fail faster [video] (Extra Credits) - On getting criticism (Koster) - First playtest [video] (One Thousand XP) - 7 subtle player behaviors you should notice when play-testing (Rollins) - How to get the most out of playtesting (Adcock) - Playtesting: a Twitter thread (Williams) - Playtesting goals (Kopp) - Breaking your game (Kopp) - How to lead a playtest w/ Emma Larkins [video] - Playtesting: How to find people and what to do once you have them [video] (Comic-Con Museum)
    2. writing assignment (see Canvas)
    3. Roll-and-write playtest journal
    4. Watch Tom Lehmann on opportunity cost
    5. Prepare (print, cut) Murderer's Row
    6. (optional) Read rules for Tokaido (BGA)
    7. (optional) Read rules for Sushi Go (BGA-premium)
    #### Class: Playtesting recap and Opportunity cost

    Oct. 26

    Due today …
    1. Readings (choose three)
    2. Writing assignment (see Canvas)
    3. Rules explainers, see assignments below
    4. Prepare (print, cut) Bandido - COVID 19 pnp or use BGA.
    5. (optional but highly recommended) Solo playtest Pandemic Hot Zone - North America (pnp). Complete Fun survey.
    6. (optional) Read rules for Just One
    7. (optional) Read rules for Hanabi
    8. (optional) Read rules for Forbidden Island (BGA-premium)
    #### Class: Interaction & cooperation Assign Design Documents (due two weeks)

    Nov. 2

    Due today …
    1. Readings (choose three)
    2. Writing assignment (see Canvas)
    3. (optional) Read rules for Incan Gold (BGA-premium)
    4. (optional) Read rules for For Sale (BGA-premium)
    5. (optional) Read rules for Stone Age (BGA)
    #### Class: Choices & strategy Reminder Design Documents (due one week)

    Nov. 9

    Due today …
    1. Design Documents
    2. Readings (one required, choose two others)
    3. Writing assignment (see Canvas)
    4. (optional) Read rules for Colt Express (BGA)
    5. (optional) Read rules for Takenoko (BGA)
    #### Class: Game balancing Assign Game Design Projects

    Nov. 16

    Due today …
    1. Readings (one required + choose two) - (required) Visions of the Gampeocalypse (Schell) - Gamifying work, with Jesse Schell (2019) (Schell) - Design outside the box (Schell) - Games for understanding (Romero)
    2. - Humane design (Extra Credits, 2015) - Video games & making math more like things students like (Meyer) - 12 big ideas from game design you should know (Wodtke) - 7 Gamification myths, debunked (Kim) - Mindset board game (Leow) - Thoughts and conversations: I made a game (Libby) - The prototype that was banned from Halfbrick (Muscat, explicit) - Lack of diversity and representation in the hobby (Smith) - An analysis of gender-inclusive language and imagery in top-ranked board game rulebooks (Jones) - Luminescence design diary #1 (Lorenc) - Using board games to teach and communicate science: Covalence (Critchley) - How games approach sensitive & controversial themes (Stegmaier) - Reconnecting the dots: A response to the King of Average about Frosthaven (Shelf Stories) #. Writing assignment (see Canvas) #. Read BoardGameGeek descriptions for Carcassonne expansions listed below #. (optional) Trolley problem or Universal paperclips or Parable of Polygons
    #### Class: Education & Ethics - today's slides - learning, chunking, groking, gamification, ethics
  • game analysis - Carcassonne: River - Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals - Carcassonne: Traders and Builders - Carcassonne: Princess and Dragon - Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune - Carcassonne: Tower
  • - Discuss characters in Roll Player, One Deck Dungeon, Pandemic Hot Zone - tips for first prototype (with Hans Kishel) and Flash Point examples - time to meet with groups - Fun survey (admin)

    Nov. 23

    Due today …
    1. Prototype 1
    2. Tips:
    3. NO writing assignment
    #### Zoom: First Playtest

    Discuss Designer's Diary

    Nov. 30

    Due today …
    1. Prototype 2
    2. Tips:
    3. NO writing assignment
    #### Zoom: A/B Playtest

    Dec. 7

    Due today …
    1. Prototype 3
    2. Tips:
    3. NO writing assignment
    #### Zoom: Blind Playtest

    Final class