We played a variety of tabletop games and recorded out thoughts on directions, challenges, strategies, pieces, replay ability, level of difficulty, and game mechanics. Then we had a group share to create a web about what tools games need, ways they can be played, how we can win, and why games are important for a community. Students collaborated in groups to create their games. Some groups created path-style board games that use dice and spinners to move. Some groups made active-play target games. One group made their own card game with cut colored paper and identical drawings. When finished, groups explained their games to the class and reflected on their ideas, choices, and compromises. We all had a chance to play each other’s creations and give feedback.
This project transitioned students from “consumers” to “producers.” They learned about being a designer and the troubles associated with creating a product for others to use. They used collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving skills to engineer their game rules, flow, and play.
The students at Smithsonian Associates Video Game Design Camp also create tabletop games. We follow the MARC (Move, Avoid, Release, and Contact) game format developed by Dr. Ryan Patton as a basic structure for game design. Here are a few examples from Summer 2013: