Course Introduction Strategy vs. Tactics Syllabus Your Current Grade Extra Credit Ideas Course Project Info 1: Adv. Philosophy 2: Victory, Unit, World 3: Military Matters 4: Seq. & Economic 5: Level, Rule, Test 6: Tech & Special 7: Random, Dip., & AI 8: Character & Focus 9: Human Elements 10: Reality Checks 11: Project Due


Principles of Game Design

Week 7 Homework: Expecting the Unexpected - Random Events; Diplomatic Interaction; Artificial Intelligence


“The best way to learn games is to play games. The best way to make games is to work.” – Alan Emrich


Your Weekly Homework Game:

If your game was not envisioned with Random Events Engine, guess what? Marketing just told you they want one in the game, so now you have to figure out how to add them.

This week's homework builds on your Weekly Homework (i.e., “Ship”) Game’s current Concept Document (i.e., its Title, High Concept, Hook, One-Sentence Marketing Description, and a single paragraph description of the game’s setting, Epoch, scope, scale, and who the player represents). You're required to hand in a written document that includes your name plus the Concept Document information from last week’s homework assignment (with the Ship Matrix, Victory Conditions, Conflict Resolution, Economic Model, Magic / Technology Tree, and Special Abilities).

After copying and pasting that information from last week, you’re going to extend that Concept Document by adding this week’s homework assignment information at the end in a new section.

That new section is entitled, “Week 7 Homework: Random Events Engine” and, specifically, you must write:

Sample Weekly Homework ('Ship Game') Assignments
are available for your inspection!


Outstanding sample homework files are included inside this .zip file. It contains complete sets of homework assignments for this course from several award-winning ship games including: Alien Colony, Extreme River Rapids Racing, Hive Mind, and Outlaw Star. Peruse these to see what is expected from you each week!


In addition, this week's assignment only can be seen in isolation from this series from the game:
Pirates: The Battle for Booty.

Your Graded Course Project Game:

Production, Part II: Gross Playtesting: Last week, you made your first prototype copy of your Graded Course Project Game. That means that by now you make a working version of every single component: board, pieces, cards… you name it. A “working component” is one that is separated; that means, for example, that your playtest cards are not “working” until they are cut apart!


Armed with your first draft of the game’s rules (from two weeks ago) and your first working prototype of the game (from last week), you’re ready for the next step of Production: Gross Playtesting. This is where you, playing solitaire or with your must trusted playtester / developer, must actually sit down and play the game! Your goal is to make sure that the larger systems and mechanics in your game actually work together and to find and correct the most egregious errors in it.


After each Gross Playtesting sessions, you should iterate a new version of your game rules and components, and then continue with another Gross Playtesting session. Your goal is to get the game into better shape – that is, to a state where you can inflict playing it on a few more trusted friends and playtesters without them hating you.

Article: Playtesting by Nick Schuster and Steve Jackson

While this article focuses on wargaming in particular, you'll find the lessons very helpful for any kind of game that you might be making. Note, this week for your Graded Course Project, you will be doing the stuff in the section marked "Designer Playtesting."

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