There is a fun webpage http://www.boardgamizer.com/
Every time you visit it, it gives you a fun suggestion for a game to design. For instance, you may have just clicked above and gotten some interesting game design challenge. There are clickable links on mechanics that explain (sort of) some of the mechanics. This is what *I* got when I just loaded the page.
As interesting as that above one is, I would like to dwell on one given before.
The host of the site gave a general challenge (one of his that popped up for him once when he viewed his own page?). Action Programming, Gladiator, Last Man Standing, Must play in under 20 minutes.
Robot Battle Arena!
Players start on opposite sides of an arena. Obviously you want something with decent divisibility, so 2, 3 and 4 works nicely on a hex based grid. You want it tight, because if you are going to program you robots to battle you need them to stay close, so a hex grid with a side length of 3 hexes, the size of your standard Settlers of Catan board.
Hopefully you get the picture… well not that big actually… couldn’t find and don’t have the tech savy / will power to find the correct sized one…
you have a collection of 9 standard actions and 1 special action unique to each robot. Players secretly program their robot with 3 of their 10 actions face down and in order that they want them played out the next three turns. Players then reveal their next action, resolve them, the next, and then the next. Then pick your next three actions, resolve them in turn with players, and then your last three actions, resolving them for the end of the game. One action goes unplayed.
The actions are various movement and attacking abilities. For instance
Lance: Hit any robots three spaces in front, move right back and then hit any robots again three spaces in front.
Guard Shift: Ignore the next hit on you, move back left and turn to face.
Sweep: Move front, move and turn front right, move front and then move and turn front right again, hitting each robot that is left after each move.
In playtesting we came on some problems, well the first right from the beginning: Player elimination sucks. Instead we just decided to track hits. The player with the least hits and deals the most hits wins. It requires tracking who has hit who, but so be it.
Also, we had issues of hitting the barrier. So, like a wrestling match, you just turn you robot 180 and start going the other direction. This has some fun effects of bouncing off of the wall and swinging for more damage sometimes!
The game definitely needs some changes as far as what powers are fair for the standard set up (Grapple: Turn to face, hit the first robot 3 spaces away front, move robot next to your front, hit that robot again), and which ones are too strong for the special robot action (Counter Surge: Prevent the next two hits on your robot and do 1 damage to the hitter) or not. But over all it was comical and had SOME strategy and definitely played in under 20 minutes.
So I recommend, all you game designers out there, to try this out once a week or month.
The educator in me wants to know why this odd passion I have for game design can’t be similarly applied to academic exercise? Why can’t skills and the progress of skills in these such activities be rewardable and/or testable measurable objectives for academic environments / standards etc…?
Am I weird for thinking that the skills to create such games are more/equally important than/as some other skills requested in some curriculum?