A Game Design Kickoff Exercise

A Game Design Kickoff Exercise

A Game Design Kickoff Exercise
Using Jesse Shell’s “Art of Game Design, Deck of Lenses”

For anyone involved in designing or developing learning games, here is an activity we have used with clients that helps a design team locate themselves within the design landscape at the beginning of new project.

  1. Prior to a kickoff meeting distribute Jesse Shell’s “Art of the Game Design, Deck of Lenses” to each member of the team (or one deck can be passed around serially, but team members should not consult with each other about what happens next).
  2. Independently have each team member select the 10-15 cards from the deck that seem most relevant to the project at hand, and write down the number and/or title of the cards selected. Limiting the number of cards a team member can select helps focus on the most important considerations.
  3. Collect the lists of card numbers from each member and convert to a spreadsheet. List all the card numbers, from 1 to 100, down rows and the team member names across columns. Mark the appropriate cell for each card selected by each team member.
  4. Print out the spreadsheet for the kickoff meeting.

This spreadsheet can now be used at the kickoff to start a conversation about the collective vision for the product/project; where and why there is concurrence of perspective and how much there is, and where and why there is divergence and how much there is.

The collective vision can be codified in some sort of vision statement that should identify:

  • The learning goals or other goals if not a learning project
  • The play pattern(s)
  • The game mechanic(s)
  • How the play pattern and game mechanic combine to achieve the goals

If you don’t have a couple of Jesse Shell’s “Deck of Lenses” floating around I highly recommend that you get one or two.  They are very useful, particularly if you don’t have time to read his entire and very useful book. “The Art of Game Design”