The University of the arts

Game Design Lab
The University of the Arts

CE 1658N 01 Game Design Lab

CE 1658N 01

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Thomas Panico



Summer 2018

  • (Jun. 7 to Jul. 5)
  • Thu 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • 0.00 Credits
  • 0.00 Credits
  • Tuition: $275 / Fees: $15
Designed for individuals who are interested in learning how to design their own games, the Game Design Lab will introduce students to the core concepts of Game Design. Over the course of 5 weeks, you will learn about game mechanics, prototyping, playtesting, analyzing feedback, and iterating on their game based on that feedback. You will be encouraged to explore multiple concepts and will be challenged to improve upon the first iteration of those concepts. By the end of the course, you will have developed their own tabletop (board) game.
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Check out the instructor, Thomas Panico, on Instagram.

Course Overview

Each class will introduce a new element of game design. The class will feature lectures and round table discussions between the students and the teacher. You will develop your own tabletop (board) games over the course of 5 weeks. These concepts will go through the processes of prototyping, playtesting, and iterating based upon the results of their playtests. The teacher will provide guidance and feedback tailored to each student based upon the nature of the game they are developing. The course will be graded on the student’s ability to develop a game that is testable as well as their ability to iterate based on the results of their playtesting. The curriculum will include in-class discussions, online videos, homework assignments, and class presentations.

What will you learn in this course?

  • Have a better understanding of game mechanics
  • Learn what elements make a successful game and why
  • Learn difference between simple mechanics of interaction as opposed to a rule heavy concept game
  • Develop a tabletop (board) game from concept to prototype, and understand how to test and iterate that game

What will you do in class?

  • Game Analysis - Students will select a game of their choice and write a short analysis of that game.
  • Video Review - On a weekly basis, students will be asked to review 1 or more videos that relate to the course content. Links to these videos will be provided by the instructor via email.
  • Game Design Document - Once the students have selected a game concept they would like to explore, they will write a 2 page Game Design Document outlining the core concept and mechanics of their game.
  • Game Prototype - Using their Game Design Document, the students will develop the first iteration of the game prototype, with the intention of testing that prototype in class.
  • Game Prototype Revision - The students will revise their game prototype based upon the feedback they receive during the in-class playtesting.

Supplies + Equipment


Access to Microsoft Excel, or Google spreadsheet program and a word processor program. Instructor will provide links to relevant videos


  • Notebook for notes, planning projects and idea sketching
  • A laptop or tablet is highly recommended
  • USB drive with a minimum memory capacity of 2GB
  • Students will be responsible for creating a physical prototype of their game. They will *NOT* be graded on the physical quality of this prototype.