Game Analysis and Design
hlascs (@) uwec.edu
We do not stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.
Getting a game design from 95% to 100% done takes as long as it does to get from 0% to 95% done.
Section: 501, Mondays 4-6:45pm
Games have been a part of human culture for over 5000 years and have been used as a tool for recreation as well as for teaching and learning. As such, games are worthy of scholarly analysis. Unfortunately, little scholarly work has been done with this medium. This course is an attempt to view games through a scholarly lens by analyzing the experience of a game.
Questions that will guide our analysis include:
- What is fun?
- Is fun a necessary component of a game?
- What makes one game fun and another not?
This course helps students meet the following Liberal Education Learning Outcomes (as assessed by final project):
- S3. Create original work, perform original work, or interpret the work of others.
- IL1. Apply knowledge, skills or responsibilities gained in one academic or experiential context to other contexts.
More course information is posted on Canvas.
- Exposure to different types of games, specifically "Eurogames" that focus on mechanics
- Design a survey instrument to collect data regarding player experiences
- Collect survey data during playtests
- Design a print-and-play game through iterative prototyping and playtesting
- Weekly readings & writing assignments
- Roll-and-write design project (individual)
- Design a print-and-play game (teams of 1-3)
- Two design documents for potential games (group)
- Three playtest sessions
- Final game design diary (individual and group)
- Schell, J. (2014). The art of game design: A book of lenses.
- Koster, R. (2013). A theory of fun for game design.
Note: Try reading the cartoons first, then go back to read the text
- Boardgamegeek - forum for boardgame enthusiasts (glossary)
- UWEC student organizations: Gamer's Guild (table top games), The Table Toppers (RPG's)
- Melodice - music playlists for board games
- [+] Prototyping
- BGG Do it yourself
- Print and Play wiki - useful resources at BoardGameGeek
- Prototyping tools - more resources from BoardGameGeek
- Game icons - free graphics
- Game design resource list - even more resources on BoardGameGeek
- CardGamePrototyper - convert CSV tile to playing cards
- How to make a retail-worthy quarter-fold game board (Terry)
- grid paper
- Fractal symbols: Board game library
- Map gen 4 ("paint" landscapes)
- Excel hex map
- How to make laminated print and play cards (Gonzalvez)
- [+] Game designers
- Matt Leacock - Favorite board game design resources
- Richard Bartle - Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: Players who suit muds
- Daniel Cook - Princess rescuing application [slides], What activities can be turned into games?
- Greg Costikan - I have no words & I must design, Tabletop: Analog game design
- Chris Crawford -Dragon speech
- John Harris - 20 real world games
- Raph Koster - Best game design articles,
- Lewis Pulsipher - Why we play games, Checklist/reminder list for gameplay characteristics:
- Jesse Schell - Visions of the gamepocalypse
- Ian Schreiber - Game design concepts, Game balance concepts
- Mike Selinker - Kobold guide to board game design
- Stone Librande
- [+] Other
Experience points (XP) are gained for clearly communicating ideas and reflecting on the iterative design process.
Weekly writing assignments (9 × 8 XP)
There will be readings and videos for each week's topic. Most of these weeks require a written assignment requiring you to integrate and applies the various ideas within the readings.
Roll-and-write design project (12 XP)
A practice design project that has specific constraints to prepare you for the game design project.
Print-and-play design project (66 XP)
In teams of 1-3, students will iteratively design a game idea of their own choosing. Students will be graded on communication of ideas, not game quality. Specifically, students will individually submit a reflection after each playtest. Further, students groups will submit a design diary with group and individual parts for the final project.
Health and Safety in the Classroom Each of us shares responsibility for the health and safety of all in the classroom environment. Maintaining social distances, wearing a face cover, and self-reporting symptomatic information are university directives that we all must follow until further notice (for the latest guidance see uwec.edu/coronavirus-updates/. Specifically, in this classroom we will mitigate the risks of virus transfer by abiding by the following safety directives: maintain 6 feet of social distance at all times in classroom and laboratory environments, wear a cloth face covering for the entirety of class, and stay home when sick. In the classroom, any student who does not follow these provisions will be asked once to follow the safety directives. If the student does not comply, I will next ask the student to leave the class for that day. I will also refer the matter to the Dean of Students Office for review should a student persist in ignoring safety directives.
Attendance A record of attendance will be collected. This is done to maintain accurate class rosters and to assess the impact of attendance on student achievement. Poor attendance may impact group activities.
If you will be absent, it is your responsibility to find out what was missed by checking D2L or contacting fellow classmates. Authorized absences (school functions or emergencies) may be made up for full credit. Assignments for non-authorized absences may be completed late for 90% credit if the assignment has not been returned to the class yet. All other make-ups receive 75% credit and must be completed within two weeks of the original due date or the last day of classes, whichever occurs first.
Entry-level switching The Department of Mathematics allows students within entry level mathematics courses (i.e., 010, 020, 104, 106, 108, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, or 246) to move up to a higher numbered course during the first two weeks of a semester or move down during the first three weeks. Please contact the instructor for more details.
*Midterm grades will be based on percentage of points completed at the time of midterm submission. For final grades, total points will be rounded up to the nearest whole number to determine a letter grade. Individual scores or grades will not modified because they represent a student's progress in the class throughout the semester.
The UW-Eau Claire Liberal Education (LE) Core curriculum serves as a strong foundation for all of our academic programs. Our LE Core embodies the Power of [AND] in its design. It has been developed to ensure that you acquire the knowledge AND skills AND responsibility that you will need to actively engage in a global society. Through meeting the requirements of the LE Core you will develop the ability to think critically, creatively and independently. You will learn to integrate and apply your knowledge and develop values essential to becoming a constructive global citizen. The outcomes will empower you and prepare you to deal with complexity, diversity, and change in multiple settings. They will also develop highly marketable skills and lead to life-long learning and civic engagement (see https://www.uwec.edu/ULEC/Liberal-Education-Framework-Learning-Outcome-and-Rubrics.htm).
Student Accommodations Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for Students with Disabilities Office in Centennial Hall 2106 to determine accommodations before contacting the instructor.
Academic Integrity Any academic misconduct in this course as a serious offense. The disciplinary procedures and penalties for academic misconduct are described on the UW-Eau Claire Dean of Students web site.
Civility As members of this class, we are members of a larger learning community where excellence is achieved through civility. Our actions affect everyone in our community. Courtesy is reciprocated and extends beyond our local setting, whether in future jobs, classes, or communities. Civility is not learned individually, it is practiced as a community.
Mandatory Reporter As a Wisconsin State employee, I am obligated to report any claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault. Please know that any such information revealed to me will be forwarded to the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students office may reach out to you to offer resources and support.