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Subject: urgent please help me :( rss

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Andreas Krüger
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First of all, you need to decide what you want to accomplish with the game (teach something, it seems) and who is your target audience (children - what age?). Also, who is going to rate your game and what will this person expect? Does it have to be playable and how extensive will the tests be, if there are any?

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Brett Ovcen
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you waited until 3 weeks to start something that's worth 50% of your grade AND you won't graduate if you don't pass?!? yikes...

what about a game similar like
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Licia lante
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He wrote the class so we only had three weeks to do it which really sucks. But thanks you for the suggestion.
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K Septyn
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MusicMan0101 wrote:
you waited until 3 weeks to start something that's worth 50% of your grade AND you won't graduate if you don't pass?!? yikes...


Seconded. I sympathize because I put myself in a similar situation in college. However, if it's that darn important to the grade, there must have been some decent discussion and, you know, teaching about it in class. Surely there are some good pointers in that information that can be useful.


EDIT: I see your explanation, cross-posted. With a three week deadline, he better not be expecting much from anyone in the class.
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Scott Nicholson
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Graduating college is a privilege, not a right, and it is one to be earned.

You've had all semester to explore the world of board games. Just like you have learned about video games by playing a variety of them, you best learn about the world of board games by playing a variety of them. Thankfully, you at least know that the roll-and-move-and-ask-a-question model is not the best way to made an educational game. It's regrettable that you didn't take the opportunities you've had this semester to deepen your exposure to the rich world of modern board games; if you had been doing this, then you would be ready to create the game in three weeks.
You've been in training, and now it's time to put your skills to the test.

Your professor would not think very highly of the way you are approaching this - you are walking into a room of strangers and saying "Tell me how to do my homework." You won't learn this way.


Here is how you can approach this in a more ethical manner:

BoardGameGeek has a large database of games. There is an advanced search of the database at http://boardgamegeek.com/advsearch/boardgame . If you look at the bottom, you will see ways to filter your search by Category and Mechanic. By using these, you can search for games that might be useful as a model.

In addition, if you search on google for *your topic* board game, you will find other examples. For example, if you search for biomes board game, you will find many assignments given in game design classes where people have to make board games about biomes as well as some games.


Also, if you do this, you'll learn the tools so that you can do this again in the future for other topics. That's the whole reason for these assignments - to have you learn so that you can apply these techniques outside of the classroom. If you just get an answer here, then you aren't learning those tools.


I realize this sounds harsh, but I'm also a professor teaching game design. If one of my students came in here and posed a question like this, this is the answer I would want them to receive.

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Jason R
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I remember being in your position many times and I was grateful for any help I got. You found BGG and created an account so I'll assume you have a working knowledge of the internet.

If it helps at all check out Dominant Species. It is a pretty good natural game about animals adapting to their environment and either thiving or dying off. It is a fairly complicated game for kids but hopefully it can give you some ideas.
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Harvey Wasserman
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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070509

In the movie Paper Chase, the students have a final assignment which none of them can complete alone. The bright idea was to collaborate with each other to finish the assignment in the short time given.
A computer game requires a story line, graphics, programming, testing, and on and on, done by a team of people. Is collaboration what you need, or are you expected to do all the work yourself?
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Liam
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I'd echo some of Scott's concerns, however:

Assuming the OP's initial statement is correct - setting three weeks for a major piece of creative work; while ignoring the impact this will have on the student body - all no doubt with assignments from other classes and some no doubt having extra responsibilities, childcare etc and special needs. It's unnecessary, irresponsible and unreasonable and puts the academic institution in a poor light.

I'd make a formal complaint so other student's degrees don't come down to unexpected course work.

I don't see why on earth they want coursework to be a surprise to those taking the course anyway.

On to actionable advice.

*I'd figure out the mechanics first and then build the theme into it - amending the the mechanics as required.

*Don't be afraid to select mechanics used in other games - coming up with a unique mechanic is very difficult.

*Points are more likely to be scored based on your write up/reasoning than the playability of your game so I'd focus more on illuminating your process rather than perfecting the end product.

*Do jump into the BGG catalogue but be careful not to totally copy another design as in an academic environment this might expose you to claims of plagiarism, etc.

* You might also want to check out the forums:
gaming in the classroom, Gaming with kids and board game design.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Browse the threads in the Game Design forum here. At a minimum, you'll understand the kinds of issues and questions that come up during the design of a game. Perhaps you'll see an idea posted that will give you inspiration for your game.

Personally, if I had to design a game quickly, I would probably focus on either a push-your-luck mechanic, or a "short term game vs. long term benefit" tradeoff aspect. Perhaps also an auction, since those can allow the players to balance the game, relieving some of that burden from the designer.
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Justus
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If you're of a scientific bent, please check out the work of Sierra Madre Games, the work of Phil Eklund and Bios Megafauna.
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Matthew M
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Moved to Board Game Design forum
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DC
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I'd like to echo and expand on a few things that Scott said. For my credentials, I am an assistant professor at a major university, teaching math. I have assigned and successfully advised many semester projects, including some which were related to board games.

Incidentally, this advice applies to any project... or homework... or essentially anything having to do with any class.

First, you should re-read and understand your class, department, and college academic honesty policies. Under the default policies of most colleges (which apply when the instructor doesn't provide any additional rules), you are possibly already guilty of an academic honesty offense, because you are seeking assistance from outside sources. It is likely that your instructor has different rules about collaboration and use of outside resources, which may be stated in your syllabus. Either way, know them and follow them. You do not want to fall on the wrong side of an academic honesty investigation in your final year of school.

Second, talk to your instructor. Bring some ideas, start a conversation about possible directions, and ask for guidance. If you're not sure what is expected, or are worried about the time limitations, bring that up too. You may discover that the expectations are different from what you fear. You may find out that he or she has been talking about this project in class for weeks, and you missed important details. You might end up getting valuable suggestions and hints. Either way, go to office hours and make your face known. Bring reasonable, thought-out ideas to show that you're serious and have been brainstorming. Even if your ideas aren't that great, you want to show that you're serious.

Third, be honest. Some here have expressed skepticism that you really had a project sprung on you at such short notice. Others have sympathized with you due to experiencing similar poorly-thought-out project assignments. If there is more to this situation than you are saying, then don't pretend otherwise when talking to your instructor (or to us, for that matter). Even in your own mind, you may be convincing yourself that this situation is different than it really is. It's much better to have all of your cards out on the table, so to speak, than to try to gain sympathy by tweaking the facts. This is especially important when talking to your instructor, because he or she will know exactly what was assigned, what was discussed, and when. If you go in describing a different version of reality, he or she will not be very sympathetic.

Finally, good luck! Whatever the situation, you will be able to do more than you think if you actually begin now and set aside serious, uninterrupted time to work on the project.
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Nate K
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First off: Did this professor teach the class how to create a board game? Because that's a learned skill. It doesn't come naturally to most people. If no class time was spent explaining how to go about creating mechanics, crafting a prototype, playtesting, or balancing a game, then I have to raise my eyebrow at this assignment. Thusly:

Second: I would highly recommend, given the time crunch, that you create a cooperative game, where the players all work together towards a common goal. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, cooperative games can usually play decently as solitaire games, which means you'll be able to test and tweak the game even when you can't get any of your friends or classmates to play with you. Two, when you CAN get people to play with you, they're more likely to get into it if they are competing against a common enemy, rather than against each other.

What about a game where the players have to create a balanced ecosystem that can survive various climate changes, natural disasters, migration of animals, and so forth that the game forces upon them?

For example, each player takes a turn adding a couple of Plant, Herbivore, Carnivore, Omnivore, or Scavenger cards from his or her hand to the common board. Once each player has added to the ecosystem, an Event card is flipped up. The Event might by a brushfire that kills off certain kinds of Plants, or a disease that ravages certain kinds of animals, or a migrating herd that eats up most of the plants, or even a comet that changes the weather.

After the changes caused by the Event are handled, players that check to make sure that there are enough Plants to feed the Herbivore and Omnivores and enough prey for the Carnivores and Scavengers. If any animal does not have a sufficient food source, it dies out.

You would probably end the game after a set number of turns--offhand, I'd guess between 5 and 7. Longer would get too repetitive, but shorter would not give the players time to balance their ecosystem or recover from a major disaster.
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linoleum blownaparte
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aaarg_ink wrote:
If you're of a scientific bent, please check out the work of Sierra Madre Games, the work of Phil Eklund and Bios Megafauna.


Haha, yes, he/she's going to design a Phil Eklund game in three weeks

My thinking would be: focus in on ONE aspect of this theme and create a game that revolves around it. And name the game after that concept so the professor gets what you're going for.

like:

Extinction Organisms can only live in certain habitats, and changing habitats cause species to thrive or go extinct.

or

Equilibrium Species at different levels of the trophic pyramid regulate each others' population (Lotka-Volterra equilibrium, foxes and hares, eutrophication)

or

Adaptation Species evolve to adapt to changing circumstances (population genetics, Punnett squares)

or

Succession Life colonizes new land in an orderly succession of simple to complex organisms that rely on each other (soil creation, food chains, stability of diversity, forest fires/lava flows)

Pick one.

That last concept particularly appeals to me. You can create a sort of Soitaire game where you can only place new organism cards if lower-ranked cards are already present in the habitat.

Otherwise your game is going to be "roll a die, move your Monopoly piece, and draw a trivia question from whichever topic deck is the same color as the space you landed on." And you will receive a richly deserved D+
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Justus
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Linoleumblownaparte wrote:
aaarg_ink wrote:
If you're of a scientific bent, please check out the work of Sierra Madre Games, the work of Phil Eklund and Bios Megafauna.


Haha, yes, he/she's going to design a Phil Eklund game in three weeks


Hahah yeah, but at least its precedent for how far one can go. like DC said, you can get a LOT of stuff done if you really crank. 3 weeks both not very much and a whole lot of time.
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David Sevier
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If it has to have a playable prototype as part of it, I'd suggest going something either Tile-based (like Carcassonne) or card based. Index cards can be cut up to do either, and a pack of blank while Index cards is cheap and easy to work with!

Also, both formats lend themselves easily to a young audience and offer pretty good flexibility.
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Filip W.
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Think outside of the box. Education doesn't have to be about "stuffing yourself full of facts".

Take a look at Blink. It's a simple pattern recognition game. I use it to teach about the limits of working memory (human working memory) to high school students. At the same time the game improves working memory, and teaches players to come up with strategies to bypass their memory's limitations.

You can make an educational game without too much effort, just look for something alternative that it can teach.
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J Holmes
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Assuming this isnt some form of trolling, or some form of "psychology experiment", you really need to clarify the project specification and grade allocation.

If its "Build a playable prototype for 15% and write a 5000 word essay on how you expect the childrens to learn for 35%" then thats an entirely different problem to "It better look like something we can sell 45% write a sales blurb 5%".

You also commented you wanted it to be about biomes since you liked that topic, does the project spec state what is and is not acceptable for topics.

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I suspect even though you were given three weeks to complete this project, as part of the course you knew (or should have) that this was expected from you much earlier, ie you should have been preparing you project well ahead.

This is typical of students, been there, done that myself.

Now that you are in the time crunch, you need concentrate on efficiency. The first aspect of this is understanding how you are supposed to present your project, which means you can then cut corners, see what aspects you can do without. For example if it will not actually be played, no need to playtest it extensively. Not ideal, but better than not having anything to show.

On the design side I agree with others you need to focus on one theme guideline, and one compatible game mechanic, and keep things simple. Like others have said, you can favor mechanics which leave game balance to the players (auctions) or create in game complexity (ecosystem type rules) from simple rules.

But do not over think it all! Get it started!
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