CMS.608 | Fall 2010 | Undergraduate

Game Design


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Lab: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


This course provides practical instruction in the design and analysis of non-digital games. Students cover the texts, tools, references and historical context to analyze and compare game designs across a variety of genres, including sports, game shows , games of chance, card games, schoolyard games, board games, and role–playing games. In teams, students design, develop, and thoroughly test their original games to understand the interaction and evolution of game rules. Students taking the graduate version complete additional assignments.

Class Requirements and Grading

The grade of the course will be determined by preparedness for classes and participation in classes and forum discussions (25%) and three team game design projects (25% each). As long as each game project meets the basic parameters of each assignment (see “Assignments” below), grades will be based exclusively on teamwork (5%), adherance and rigorous use of the iterative design process (10%), and responsiveness to tester and faculty feedback from week to week (10%). Grades will not be determined by the quality or “fun” of your games. Because of this, deadlines are fixed and extensions will not be granted. Last-minute heroics will neither be necessary nor useful.

Because this class emphasizes participation and teamwork, and because you will have to play many games with your classmates, the faculty reserve the right to warn and dock the participation grade of any student who engages in antisocial or disruptive behavior. Regular and consistent class attendance is mandatory. You may receive a failing grade if you miss more than more than 3 classes without justification and approval from the instructors. However, this class intends to be lenient on absences due to illness and discourages working while you are sick. Meeting up with classmates in person when you may have a contagious illness is particularly discouraged!

While this class does not emphasize essay writing, game rules and text are expected to be clear, spell-checked, and demonstrate a high proficiency in written English. Full acknowledgment for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student’s own work. Students who plagiarize will receive an F in the class.


Brathwaite, Brenda, and Ian Schreiber. Challenges for Game Designers: Non-digital Exercises for Video Game Designers. Boston, MA: Charles River Media/Course Technology, 2009. ISBN: 97815845058081.


You are expected to write a minimum of one paragraph on the forum on the course website every week. When you are not working on a team project, you should write at least one forum post about the readings that week. Feel free to disagree or otherwise complicate the ideas in the readings. Participation in a forum thread is encouraged. “First!;” or one-line forum posts do not count.

When you are working on a team project, you must write at least one forum post a week detailing the work you and your teammates have done on the game over some part of the previous week. It could just be an account of what changed in your game that day or a collection of feedback from a playtest. Every member of the team must write a different post. Explain or demonstrate how your team is applying the iterative design process in the development of your game. Discussion between teams and members is encouraged.

All original IP for the game designs will belong to the members of the team.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2010
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Audio
Projects with Examples