DESMA 157: Game Design Workshop
Winter 2016, UCLA Design Media Arts
Monday, Wednesday 9:00am – 11:50am
Broad Art Center room 4220
Professor: Eddo Stern
TA: Peter Lu


Course Description: This course provides a foundation in game design.  By focusing on non-digital prototyping, the coursework develops the concepts that are unique to game design in a manner that is isolated from any platform specific technical techniques. Throughout the course students will develop three playable non-digital games, each project will explore various aspects of game design, including: rule design, game balance, multiplayer dynamics, complexity, randomness, polemics, narrative, physical interaction, and the aesthetic and pragmatic aspects of physical game design.

The course will cover game design concepts through reading and written assignments, class presentations, discussions, playtesting sessions, and game design and production projects.

Grading: Project 1 (20%), Project 2 (%20), Projet 3 (25%) 5x Reading notes (20%), 3x Game analysis feedback forms (10%) Class participation (5%)

All reading notes, feedback forms and assignment PDFs must be uploaded to the class website before the beginning of class time on the day they are due unless a midnight deadline is indicated (as 24:00).

Attendance – Read Carefully:
More than two absences without the professor’s prior permission will lower the participant’s final grade by one unit (e.g. an A will become an B if you miss 3 classes). With each additional unexcused absence, the grade will drop an additional unit.  If you are more than 15 minutes late for class you will be marked late – two late marks equal an absence. Late projects will drop one letter grade, and will not be accepted if more than one week late

Required Materials: Class assignments will require the use of a wide range of mixed media such as paper, cardboard, foam core, magnets, wood, plastic, fabric, and any other materials you may want to incorporate into your projects.

Required Books:

Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman, “Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals”, MIT Press, 2004 (ISBN: 9780262240451) (Available Online)

Recommended further reading on game design:

Caillois, Roger, “Man Play & Games”, University of Illinois Press, 2001 (ISBN: 9780252070334)

Huizinga, Johan, “Homo Ludens: A study of the play element in culture”, Beacon 1971 (ISBN: 9780807046814)

Rouse, Richard, “Game Design: Theory and Practice”, Wordware Publishing, 2001 (ISBN: 9781556229121)

Crawford, Chris, “Chris Crawford on Game Design”, New Riders Games, 2003 ( ISBN: 9780131460997

157 Weekly Schedule:

Week 1 Monday Jan 4th
IntroductionsClass OverviewBackgammon case study
Demonstrate : Backgammon
Play : BackgammonOrder the Book!
Wednesday Jan 6th
Play : Classic Two Player games action
(Crokinole / Space Dice Duel Dice/Jenga/Stratego)
Website Demo

Handout: Proj 1 – Physical to Tabletop Adaptation
Handout: Reading Notes 1
Week 2 Monday Jan 11th
Game design Lecture :
-Designing good rules
 -Chance and skill
 -Probability / risk reward
Play: New Ideas With Cards
(Citadels / Illuminati / Saboteur)

Handout: Reading Notes 2
Due : Reading Notes 1

Wednesday Jan 13th
Discussion: Methods for game analysis

Play: German Board Games (w Alan ! )
(Catan / Agricola/ … and Beyond)

Due: Reading Notes 2

Monday Jan 18th
Wednesday Jan 20th
Play: Cooperative Games
(Pandemic / Mice and Mystics)

Work in Class
Week 4 Monday Jan 25th
Project 1 Playthroughs and Critique (Grp A)

Handout: Proj 1 Feedback Form
Due : Project 1: Physical -> Tabletop
Wednesday Jan 27th
Project 1 Playthroughs and Critique (Grp B)

Handout Proj 2 – Video Game to Tabletop Adaptation
Due: Proj 1 Feedback Forms

Week 5 Monday Feb 1st
Play: Dungeons and Dragons pt 1
Wednesday Feb 3rd
Play: Dungeons and Dragons (w David!)
Week 6 Monday Feb 8th
Project 2 Playthroughs and Critique (Grp A)

Handout: Proj 2 Feedback Form
Handout: Reading Notes 3

Due : Project 2: Video game -> Tabletop
Wednesday Feb 10th
Project 1 Playthroughs and Critique (Grp B)

Handout: Reading Notes 4
Due: reading notes 3

Due: Proj 2 Feedback Forms

Monday Feb 15th
Wednesday Feb 17th
Polemical game Lecture
Play: Polemical Games
(Anti Monopoly / Objectif / Journeys of Paul)

Handout: Project 3: Polemical Game
Due: reading notes 4

Week 8 Monday Feb 22nd
Due: Polemical Game Proposals (group A)
Wednesday Feb 24th
Due: Polemical Game Proposals (group B)
Week 9 Monday Feb 29th
Work in Class
Wednesday Mar 2nd
Work in Class
Week 10 Monday Mar 7th
Project 3 Playthroughs and Critique (Grp A)

Handout: Proj 3 Feedback Form
Due : Project 3 Polemical Game
Wednesday Mar 9th
Project 3 Playthroughs and Critique (Grp B)

Due: Proj 3 Feedback Forms

Week 11 Project 3 Final Documentation





Student Responses