Building Game Playing Experience

In this section, Philip Tan and Richard Eberhardt describe how they exposed students to a wide variety of games and gameplay.

One major challenge we encounter in teaching this course is establishing a varied foundation of game playing experiences for the students. Many students tend to come to the class with a niche understanding of what constitutes games; they’ve usually played a few kinds of card games (such as bridge or poker), an abstract strategy game (like chess), and a few modern board games and video games (such as, Starcraft, League of Legends, and Settlers of Catan). Beyond that, they tend not to be aware of the multitude of styles of games that exist, particularly in the realm of board games.

Many students tend to come to the course with a niche understanding of what constitutes games.

—Philip Tan and Richard Eberhardt

Unfortunately, learning and playing board games is time consuming. It is already difficult for student teams to coordinate working together outside of class for their project work. We do not want to further impact their out-of-class working time by requiring learning and playing new games outside of class. We get around this limitation by structuring lab time within the class to play games and run short discussions afterwards for students to talk about the games they played. Not all students will be able to play all games, but through discussion they can gain some knowledge about the variations of games that exist.  Students taking the class for graduate credit are required to review the rules before class and help teach the games during class, to streamline the in-class lab time

Fortunately, the Game Lab equips us with the necessary materials to increase students' game playing experiences. Students have access to our library of over 300 board and card games and are allowed to borrow games outside of class for optional game play.