Board Game Design

Lindrick Outerbridge
IS 383, Philippa Schuyler School

How can you use the in the Engineering Design process to create an educational board game? This project supports STEM by using Google SketchUp and the to fabricate game tokens in a DIY manufacturing project.

Examples of board games such as Monopoly, Life, Snakes and Ladders Makerbot

What does it take to be a board game designer? Game designers use an engineering design cycle to produce prototypes that are improved iteratively until the desired result is achieved. Anyone can be a game designer and produce a prototype with a 3D program like Google SketchUp and the MakerBot

Featured Vocabulary

  • Spiral Model for Game Design — an iterative engineering design cycle for game design

  • define —define the new idea, make an outline, and hash out the basics of your design.

  • design —get down to work writing the rules for the core mechanic, make the basics workable.

  • prototype —build a working model, start to get the look and feel of the physical features of the game.

  • playtest —you can do a solo playtest, an internal playtest, or a blind playtest.

  • feedback —gather, collate, and synthesize your feedback.

  • redefine —go back to the drawing board with what you learned and change your outline...

Warm Up
Introduce the students to board games and discuss board game they have played. Brainstorm ideas for a new and improved game or entirely unique idea. Choose a theme that has an educational value. You could discuss a math monopoly game or a game that teaches people about recycling or conserving energy.

Discussion Questions
Why is prototyping useful? What makes a good playtest? What makes a game interesting? How does your game compare to similar games?

Students will work in groups to design a Board Game Design Document. Using Google SketchUp students will design game tokens. Finally students will use the to fabricate their designs.

Going Further
Create Board Games for various topics: history, science, technology, math, engineering. Submit designs for patenting.

Google Sketchup for Educators Tutorials and tips for using Google Sketchup in the classroom to create, modify, and share 3D models.

Download lesson