A Veritable Cavalcade of Student Games Designs. Feedback Appreciated.
Kathleen Mercury
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Each semester, I teach a game design unit to my gifted 7th graders. This geeklist is the culmination of their work.

We are done! Thank you to everyone who supported their work! Students won't be responding to any new comments, as it's summer now!
From gallery of funkdonut


TL,DR (According to students J.W & M.S.): Students went through rigorous trials of multiple iterations to make a (semi)functioning game, so please help them celebrate their innovation and hard work by thumbing, commenting, and asking questions on their games. I did have them respond!

We begin by playing a lot of games, and they design a race game with a partner. After playtesting and getting feedback, they iterate their design to make a better race game. Then, we play more games, and they start to design their own game. They learn mechanics and brainstorm different themes, and then think about how they could apply those mechanics in a game. They create a prototype, and then we begin three cycles of playtesting, feedback, and prototype development. They draft rules, make a nicer version of their prototype, and here we are!

Game design teaches so much more than just how to make games.

This project is unlike any school project that they have had at this point in their lives where they get an assignment, do the thing, turn it in, and probably get a good grade. Game design means coming up with an idea, and continually working on that same idea for an entire quarter. Even then, at the end, it's still not "done," as there is always more to do.

Students have to define a problem (what they want to happen in their game) and design and test how they will solve that problem. There is no right answer, so they have to work with a lot of uncertainty, both in terms of what they're working on as well as what the end product will be. They have to learn how to give and receive feedback to help inform their design choices, but also to make the decision on the best way to proceed with their game. This is really hard to do!

I talk about two big ideas when it comes to creating anything. First, the goal is to be finished, not perfect (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRtV-ugIT0k) but also, perplexingly, frustratingly, we talk about how good ideas are never finished. This can be frustrating for some, but if you want to create and add new ideas to the world, you have to accept your own limitations in order to challenge them with new ideas and projects.

This class is a mammoth undertaking, and I'm so impressed with their hard work, ingenuity, and collaboration with their classmates as they work to create meaningful games.

Please encourage them by thumbing, commenting, or questioning their games. I will have them respond.

Student have answered the following questions:
Provide a short description of the story and objectives.
Describe the mechanics and gameplay—what do players do on their turn?
How do players win and how does the game end?
What did you learn about game design that you’ll remember after this class is finished?
WHY IS YOUR GAME AWESOME AND AMAZING? (What are you proud of???)

If you're interested in teaching game design, I share all my teaching design resources for free at www.kathleenmercury.com In addition, I cohost the podcast Games in Schools and Libraries (http://www.inversegenius.com/gsl/) and I'm always happy to talk with other educators who use games or want to use games in their classrooms!

Thank you all so much!
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51. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2965]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Kathleen Mercury
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Microbadge: Mercury - hellhole of the solar systemMicrobadge: Are the cones a metaphor? Well, yes and no.Microbadge: RPG Geek of the Week!Microbadge: Chaotic NeutralMicrobadge: Game Teacher
Helix By R.L.
From gallery of funkdonut

In Helix, a mysterious disease has overtaken and infected half the population, and you are a scientist trying to cure the disease for a reward. You are also competing against other scientists that are after the same reward as you, so you must work efficiently to win the game and the prize, along with sabotaging your fellow opponents.

This game uses many game mechanics, but the main mechanics include Battling and Route/Network Building. Battling is utilized when players are building paths and they are in spaces adjacent to each other and can battle each other for a random card pulled from the other player’s hand. Route/Network Building is used because the object of the game is for players to build a path of cubes across the board to get the maximum amount of points. On players turns, they may draw up to two cards, playing a card and conquering a space, or battling another player. Players may only do one of these actions, and they are required to take an action on their turn.

The game ends when the a player conquers a space on the bottom row of the board, which is set up in a grid fashion. The player that reaches the bottom row first gets an extra ten points added on to their score, and then players add up scores based off of the spaces’ point values that they conquered. The player with the most points wins.

I learned so much about game design that I can’t fit it into one paragraph. I learned about the process of trial and error, and while it might be excruciating to make changes to a game you see to be perfect, you have to do what will make the audience to your game happy, not what makes you happy. You have to cater to the people giving you feedback, not to your own opinions, because then you would be one of very few people who wholeheartedly enjoyed your game. I also learned how important other’s feedback is to the final product. While I didn’t always love filling out forms about others’ games, it was always worth it when I got back detailed and organized feedback from my peers that helped me greatly in my game.

I’m very proud of my game, even though (of course) it still needs a lot of work. I love the theme of my game and the creativity of the backstory. I also love the scientific elements, and I loved learning about science while creating this game. My ultimate favorite part of my game, however, was actually the process of creating the game and being able to create something that is unique to me and learning from my peers (also the sweet organized board, you’ve got to appreciate that).
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52. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2965]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Kathleen Mercury
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Please check out my student game design Geeklists! You rock!
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Microbadge: Mercury - hellhole of the solar systemMicrobadge: Are the cones a metaphor? Well, yes and no.Microbadge: RPG Geek of the Week!Microbadge: Chaotic NeutralMicrobadge: Game Teacher
Chillin Villains by C.K.
From gallery of funkdonut

In Chillin Villains, a world where all cities have been taken over by a villain but one city, you are in the last surviving city and you are trying to be the villain that takes over that city. There can only be one villain that takes over the city. You also want to keep people from getting your superhero so their villain can’t take over the city.

Each player is trying to get their superhero away from the villains by using to their spider string(Embroidery thread) to jump from building to building. At the same time the players are trying to capture the other players superheroes by using the villains. Players do this by moving the villains along the road next to the building that the superhero is on then capture the superhero. When a player using a villain captures another players superhero. That player then get one of the superheroes colored cards.

The game ends when one player get a colored card from each of the other players. The players do not get another turn after a player has won the game, therefore there should not be a tie.

One thing I learned from this class was that there is always something more that you can do even if you think you are done you can always make it better. I also learned a lot about myself and that I can push myself to better that I thought could.

My game is awesome and amazing because I worked really hard on it and I probably put more effort into this game than I have in anything else that is school related.
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53. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2965]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Kathleen Mercury
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Please check out my student game design Geeklists! You rock!
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Microbadge: Mercury - hellhole of the solar systemMicrobadge: Are the cones a metaphor? Well, yes and no.Microbadge: RPG Geek of the Week!Microbadge: Chaotic NeutralMicrobadge: Game Teacher
The Moon Rocks by A.S. and L.S.
From gallery of funkdonut

It’s the race to the moon. You are a country racing 3 others countries to get valuable information about the moon. Whoever collects the most moon rock wins, but their are some challenges involved. The most valuable rocks are farther away and harder to get. Your oxygen tank is going down and you can only hold 1 rock of each color. Asteroid are hurtling towards you. Can you be the country to win the moon?

The mechanics in this game are push you luck because you are risking losing all of your moon rock and another mechanic in our game is area movement.

The game ends after the third round is finished and the players then add up their points they earned in the game.

The main thing we will remember about game design is trial and error and not giving up. We have had a lot of ups and downs with our game, and in the end it is better than our first version of this game. That only reason it got better is because we didn’t stop improving our game and we used trial and error also.

We are very proud of our game because it has come a very long way. We started out as having a circular board trying to claim planets. The game was pretty boring and we made adjustments and nothing was working. We decided to scrap the idea completely and made a new board, objectives, and the way you win.That's how we have the game we have now!
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54. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2965]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Kathleen Mercury
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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designer
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Please check out my student game design Geeklists! You rock!
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Microbadge: Mercury - hellhole of the solar systemMicrobadge: Are the cones a metaphor? Well, yes and no.Microbadge: RPG Geek of the Week!Microbadge: Chaotic NeutralMicrobadge: Game Teacher
Dinopocalypse by E.D. and H.S.
From gallery of funkdonut

Players are dinosaurs in an apocalyptic world, trying to reach the safe house in the middle to avoid the asteroid before the other players do. Players choose their dinosaur pawn and start in the corner that is the corresponding to the color of your dinosaur pawn. The first player starts by doing one of two thing. Players can take a card and move or move twice. Once a player has collected enough attack points from cards, they can now defeat a monster chip. Once a player defeats a monster chip, they can collect that monster chip. The monster chip is worth the amount of points as it had in health points. The four different monster chips are the zombie (green, 7 health points), the wizard (blue, 5 health points), the evil dino (purple, 3 health points), and the ghost (yellow, 2 health points).

Some game mechanics that we used were Card Drafting, Action Selection, Set Collection, Take That, and Grid Movements.

To win the game, one player must unlock the house by collecting 20 points from defeating monster chips. However, if a player throughout the game picks up a special hat card, they survive the asteroid even if they don’t make it to the safehouse. At this point the two final players will battle it out to declare the winner with the dino power cards.

We learned a lot of things about game design in this class. We both knew nearly nothing about it when we came into this class. I now know about how detailed and time consuming game designing is.

Something that we will remember after this class about game design is how persist you must be. You have to make sure everything is easily understood by your audience. Every small detail is important.
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55. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:2965]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Kathleen Mercury
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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designer
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Please check out my student game design Geeklists! You rock!
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Microbadge: Mercury - hellhole of the solar systemMicrobadge: Are the cones a metaphor? Well, yes and no.Microbadge: RPG Geek of the Week!Microbadge: Chaotic NeutralMicrobadge: Game Teacher
Dino Dinner Dash by L.S. and C.R.
From gallery of funkdonut

The year is 66 million B.C.E. A snowstorm is coming and you and your tribe don’t have enough food to get you through more than a few days. With one day before the storm, the tribe leader announces he will send his best explorers to get food. As an incentive, he announced that the explorer who gathers the most food will take his place and lead the tribe. Who can collect the most food for your tribe while fighting off dinosaurs, competing with each other, and many challenges from nature?

The mechanics in our game are push your luck, point to point movement, and dice rolling. In Dino Dinner Dash, players get three movements per turn. The main objective is to collect a certain amount of food (depending on amount of players) first. To do this, you must travel the forest collecting food, avoiding dinosaurs, and returning the food to your hut where you and your food is safe. Victory is attained when a player reaches the goal amount of food. Food must be put in the hut for the game to end.

This unit taught me everything I know about game design. When I first walked into this class, I had no idea what I was doing. Now walking out for the last day of the year, I have a game prototype and with time and effort I feel confident I could repeat the process to make another game. The class taught me the process of making a game and how it wasn’t a fast process. A semester later, I have an amazing and awesome game prototype that I have put so much time and effort into. I’m so proud of the changes I’ve made to the game to add and make it better. It went from simply an idea to a game.
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