Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


The students will gain a basic understanding of the principles of game design and production and how to apply the skills and learnings to their own fields. They will understand why games are important and necessary in all aspects of life. They will understand that games are all around us and that game design is “human design,” and that becoming a better game designer allows them to create and troubleshoot systems using creative problem-solving. They will also learn that games can be used not only as entertainment but also for art, education, persuasion, to provide a service, and for social good.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 11.01.2021 - 29.03.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Tim Smith

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Arash Sammander, Tim Smith

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course consists of some introductory participatory lectures that lay the foundation of game design, help to develop a common language, and allow students to think about games differently.

    The remainder of the course consists of playing and reworking non-digital games to learn and apply the fundamentals of game design, the development process, and working in a group.

    They will then have the opportunity to create their own physical games or digital games depending on the group’s motivations and skillset.

    Some of the topics covered are:

    What are games, digital vs analog, why board games, design language, game elements, designing from a mechanic vs theme, paper prototyping, retheming, project management, sprints, kanban board, scrum, sunk cost bias, killing darlings, pivoting, games as a business, the future of games.

    Note: Physical games are used as a learning tool because the learning curve and difficulty is less from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Students may not have the necessary skills, desire, or time to create and troubleshoot those games. In this way, people can quickly implement and test ideas and see how systems actually work compared to having everything obfuscated by code.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    List teaching and study methods used (e.g. project work, participation in class, examinations) and mark their role in assessment (e.g. Attendance 20 % of the grade, Participation in class 20 % of the grade, Final work 60 % of the grade)

    Attendance during contact teaching 10%

    Active participation in class and group project 70%

    Learning Diary 20%

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Attendance 80% required (missed time must be agreed upon with the teacher in advance and makeup assignment or task must be completed)

    24 h contact teaching

    114 h project work partly supervised by teacher, partly doing independent group work.

    24 h Personal time to reflect


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    There is no required reading or materials needed for the course but readings can be suggested up request. All materials will be supplied to the students by the course.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    3 Good Health and Well-being

    5 Gender Equality

    10 Reduced Inequality

    17 Partnerships for the Goals