Thursday, May 5, 2016

Running a Game Design Virtual Club in Google Classroom

This week we started the virtual club
through Google Classroom!
I recently got the idea to run a virtual club at our middle school. I posted a survey on our website and let the students choose between three topics. Game design won out over a media production club and computer programming. We started the club this week.

Since most of my experience with game design has been with the non-digital variety, that has been our focus. The goal is to have them make a print-and-play game by the end of the school year.

I run the club through Google Classroom. In case anyone else would be interested in a similar venture, here is some of the content I have been sharing with the students.

I started out with my intro video below. As the it indicates, I think the first step in making games is to learn about as many games as possible. Normally we'd accomplish that by playing them together and discussing them.

Since we only meet online, I have been using videos from Tom Vasel's vast archive of game reviews to introduce them to new types of games. Tom does a great job of explaining the rules quickly and I very much appreciate that I can always trust his content to be appropriate for students.

Along with my video and Tom's reviews, I have posted some discussion questions in Classroom to get them thinking about what makes a good game. Soon I will get them started on generating ideas for their own games.

I also have contacted some game designer friends, all of whom have had more success than I have. I asked if they'd record a brief video answering questions that the students have. Some already got back with me, so I am excited to see how that works out. I know the students will appreciate their involvement.

Here's the intro video that I created. (As I mention in the video, it was early in the morning when I recorded it!) I'll also list the videos I posted to show the students new games.

Dice Tower Reviews from Tom Vasel that I have used so far:
Click here to see part 2 in the series. In that step I show students the importance of keeping a game design notebook.


  1. This is interesting. I'll be dropping by to see how it progresses. I teach in a very very small school in Alaska and have been using board games as a fun thing to do after school. The design angle is interesting, but I think we are still very much in step one... learn and play games. Thanks for sharing (found via BGG).

  2. Thanks for stopping by to check our club out! I am working on the second post and hope to have it out this week.

    If your students have questions for game designers or if you'd like to playtest any games we make, let me know. It would be excellent to work with a school from Alaska. (We're from Michigan.)