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: 10.01.2022 - 08.04.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

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

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

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    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 for whole curriculum period:

    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 for whole curriculum period:

    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 for whole curriculum period:

    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.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    3 Good Health and Well-being

    5 Gender Equality

    10 Reduced Inequality

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    UWAS course selection criteria: Registration order is not the primary selection criteria for this course. In order to ensure that students from different programs and schools of Aalto University may take UWAS courses, the selection is also based on the variety of students' disciplines. Master's students are also welcome.

    Teaching Period:

    The course is offered in 2020-21 and 2021-22, The course is offered in Period III & IV, Teaching period changed by decision of Academic Committee for Arts, Design and Architecture on 16 June, 2021.

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture: