A board game for socio-behavioural learning and retention.
This project was my thesis for my final year at York Sheridan Design.
Games are a non formal tool that can be used to facilitate education. Monopoly has been used to teach college students financial principles, while Chutes and Ladders has been proven to improve math skills in preschoolers. Board games provide cost effective, hands-on learning in a safe environment that helps reinforce important information in an informal environment. (Source 1, 2, 3)
Then can games improve social and behavioural skills in players?
The goal of this project is to create a board game that facilitates positive socio-behavioural skills in players that can be retained and applied in future situations.
To understand connections between socio-behavioural retention and gameplay, I looked at Bloom’s Taxonomies to see if I could draw board game examples that each taxonomy could be applied to. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a categorization of objectives within education. I purposefully left Knowledge out from Bloom’s Taxonomies as it pertains to information retention rather than socio-behavioural retention.
To further understand these skillsets, I collected primary data through playing board games with some friends while purposefully using Bloom’s Taxonomies in order to achieve the goal of each game.
The results of my data helped me understand that learning socio-behavioural skills through play is possible and could be beneficial to the whole player group.
User Definition —
To better understand players, I created a psychographic analysis, determined targeted users, and defined socio-behavioural objectives
users interested in games
values time with friends
finds fulfillment in learning new skills
values time spent in casual settings
A college student who lives on campus that enjoys casually spending time with her friends in their dorms.
A high school student who goes over to friends’ houses often to play video games and often spends the night.
improvement in socio-behavioural skills during gameplay
retention of skills
application of skills to other situations
Sprints are a method to test and measure results in a short amount of time. I used sprints as a way to quickly understand the overview of game mechanics.
1. Manipulating a pre-existing game
I modified the rules for Cheat into a game where players had to solve for a missing card. By manipulating a game that already exists, I was able to analyze the intricacies of game mechanics. Changing rules and values resulted in a different outcome, and being able to manipulate these rules gave me a better understanding of how to achieve the outcome I desired.
2. Creating a teamwork oriented game
I created an escape game for my second sprint which forced players to work together in order to win. Through playtesting, I was able to learn more about team building dynamics. Communication between players is an important aspect to learning socio-behavioural skills.
3. Incorporate the mechanic of uncertainty into gameplay
Through incorporating uncertainty into the game, it enhances risk taking and probability. I achieved this through the mechanic of dice rolling. This mechanic requires players to learn all of Bloom’s Taxonomies in order to win.
From my sprints, I took the third one to develop further as my final artifact.
The game centres around astrology and constellations. For the brand, I wanted to make it elegant as well as visually stimulating to reflect the gameplay.
How to Play —
When a Supermassive Black Hole opens up with Villains crawling out, the Galaxia Guardians are called to save the universe. Work together with your fellow Guardians to become the greatest hero in the Galaxy!
Each player is dealt a selection of Guardians. Select one Guardian to go into battle with and discard the rest. Pick wisely; every Guardian has a different skill.
Every player has a finite amount of health, indicated on the card, and is kept track of with health cards and markers.
The villain deck is placed face down in the centre. Flip the top open to start the battle.
Minion Villains are easy targets, while Boss Villains require all players to work together to defeat.
2 dice are provided in the game. Take turns rolling the dice. The 6 sided die determines the damage the player takes, the 9 sided die determines the damage dealt to Villains.
Minion Villains are collected by the players once they’re defeated. The first to 5 Minions wins!
Comet cards are cards in the players’ hand. 5 are dealt to every player at the start of the game. Players draw 2 cards at the start of their turn, and can hold up to 8 cards in their hand.
These cards allow players to change the pace of the game. Some cards will heal players, others will add damage to the dice roll, and even allows players to use another Guardian’s skill.
Stop others from winning, or propel yourself ahead with Comet cards!
Closing Remarks —
I am grateful that I was able to incorporate my interest in gaming and game design in my final year as a student.
I would love to eventually ship this as a legitimate board game in the future, however the mechanics would require much more play testing.
I am always interested in collecting more data for this project, so feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule a playtest with me or to have a conversation about game design.