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The World Game feat. Damir Islamovic – 111

Episode Overview

  • Episode Topics
    • BGE Updates – 0:21
    • Who is Damir Islamovic? 00:56
    • Learning through Games: Architecture, Monopoly – 3:39
    • Generational Gaming and Board Game Cafes – 6:21
    • The World Game – 9:11
    • Designing for Educational Aspects of The World Game – 15:13
    • Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round – 20:11

On this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education Dustin is joined by Damir Islamovic to talk about his game The World Game. In the episode, Dustin and Damir chat about the process of designing a geography board game. Damir shares his expertise in his design process and speaks to how he incorporated strategy and luck to make an engaging game experience.

Please visit The World Game Kickstarter to order a copy!

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their song “Retro Gamer” for our Interview Segment. This song can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round.

Our Facebook Group for Educators: Games-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education

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Board Gaming with Education Updates – 0:21

Be sure to sign-up for our holiday promotion by joining our email list. You should receive more information on how to redeem your holiday offer next week (week of 11/16/20).


Who is Damir Islamovic – 2:37

Dustin introduces Damir, designer of The World Game. Damir shares his background in architecture and design and how that snowballed into game design.

Learning through Games: Architecture, Monopoly – 3:39

Damir talks about the overlap between architecture and game design. He chats a bit about the drive needed for completing a successful architectural project and also how that same drive is needed for game design. He also shares a bit about his time playing Monopoly and how that was one of his first learning experiences through games.

Generational Gaming and Board Game Cafes – 6:21

Damir speaks to the idea of game design and playing games to build relationships through generations and among friends. This is what sparked his interest in game design and was the driving factor for developing The World Game.

The World Game – 9:11

Damir talks about The World Game:

“Race around the world, pass famous landmarks, learn about countries, recognize flags and find locations on the map. Pick up your action cards on the way to get ahead or slow down other travelers. It’s super educational and engaging for kids and adults alike. The more you play – the more you know. “

Designing for Educational Aspects of The World Game – 15:13

Dustin asks Damir about the educational aspects of The World Game. Damir talks to some of the challenges he came across in his design and speaks to how he incorporated fun to make an educational game very engaging.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round – 20:11

Dustin challenges Damir with some rapid-fire statements to see their unsolicited opinions on them. Be sure to tune in to hear his answers!

Transcript of “The World Game feat. Damir Islamovic – 111”

Transcript automated and provided by otter.ai. [Using this link helps us continue to use this transcription service for future episodes.] Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript and may have errors in grammar, wording, and/or word choice.

Board Gaming with Education 0:03
Board Gaming with Education, a podcast for anyone curious about how games and education mix, we explore various topics like game based learning gamification, and board games and the impacts they have on learning. here’s your host, Dustin Staats.

Dustin Staats 0:21
We have another interview episode of Board Gaming with Education coming right up, we interviewed dimir, the designer of the world game, a really fun geography board game. You don’t want to miss this episode, we talked about how he came up with the idea and what inspired him to make a game that really helps players learn a bit about the world. Before we get to our interview. The holidays are just around the corner and we have something special at Board Gaming with Education. We are working with 25th century games to bring to you a really great holiday promotion you don’t want to miss out on. If you are signed up for email list, you’ll receive a notification in one of our upcoming weekly emails that highlights our holiday promotion. Or if you are not on our email list, be sure to visit our website Board Gaming with education.com. Very soon, there’ll be an opportunity for you to sign up to receive your holiday promotion offer as well. So with that, if you are looking for a board game as a holiday gift, feel free to reach out to us we are happy to make some recommendations or share with you some games that are great for playing at home with family that also have some great educational benefits to them as well. You can reach out to us at podcast at Board Gaming with education.com or sales at Board Gaming with education.com. As always, thank you for listening, and let’s get into the conversation.

Welcome to another interview episode of Board Gaming with Education. I’m excited to be joined by dimir Islam of itch, he is the designer of the world game. You might have heard about this game a little bit because I chest chatted about it on the previous episode. So I’m excited to be joined by the designer of the word game dimir. Would you mind sharing a fun fact about yourself? And I know you shared a little bit about this fact with me before the episode. So I know this is a fun fact that kind of leads into how you got into game design. Can you share a little bit about your story? And how you got into game design?

Damir 2:16
Yeah, hi, Dustin, thanks for having me. Actually, I’m basically a school architect. So it’s not really my first line of work. When I finished school, I mostly went through a bunch of startups doing a product design for just niche products really just like weird stuff, and just basically bounced around the startup world. And I love the design so much, and just graphic design. And I’m very competitive also, when it comes to games, and somehow me and my friend were playing and just ended up missing like value games. That would be more than just passing time and what hang having fun with with friends when hanging out.

Dustin Staats 2:59
Awesome. And would you say I imagine the answer is yes. But maybe you can share some things that kind of you’ve learned in school when you were studying to be an architect that I’ve carried over to game design, and maybe game design as an educational game?

Damir 3:14
Well, yeah, basically, it’s just being so attentive to detail, you know, like the first year of architecture, there’s not a lot of computers in sight, you have to do everything by hand, you have to stay up late. And you have to redo stuff over and over again. And I feel like, I feel like that’s the same as as the process we’re going through right now. And it’s really, really valuable that that you know, how to draw by hand and just get the compositions right, you know, have a sense of how colors relate to psychology and all that stuff. So it’s, it’s really helpful, like from my end, and my perspective,

Dustin Staats 3:55
and I’m kind of curious about, maybe this will be saved for another podcast, but looking at the psychology of architecture and how that overlaps with game design. That’s really cool. So can you tell us that you were on the receiving end of learning through games?

Damir 4:10
I think I think the best the best game to talk about would be when you actually don’t know you’re learning stuff. And that’s, that’s basically us playing Monopoly. I think everybody knows this game. We played Monopoly when we were kids outside on the porch, and you know, we have a lot of time. And then you have four hours to play it. And you can basically play it every day on your vacation. So you’re not really sure you’re learning something that might be useful. But uh, I feel like, sooner or later you figure out you know, which land to buy, when to buy, what to put on and what, what would value it really brings in, basically you get the concept of economy that maybe translates into real life without even knowing it. So as a kid, just understanding something, I think I think it’s valuable without even knowing it, you know,

Dustin Staats 5:01
right. And I think you kind of sparked a memory for me. And it’s one thing that I learned from counting in games and math was probably from monopoly is learning how to count backwards from 100. say they give you 100, you have to give them a change to make it 60. So you’d come back from 100 to give them 40 back?

Damir 5:20
Yeah, I think it’s kind of like the little things you don’t even notice. But like, it’s a it’s a 434 hour play. And then basically, you get all the little things, the big things and just like complex concepts sometimes, and I don’t know, I feel like that. That’s really the one that stayed with me.

Dustin Staats 5:39
Right. And I think the big key here is not the fact that learning is important, but rather this idea that the reason behind learning is because players growing up playing these games were intrinsically motivated to play, and be involved in the learning and involved in the game, and involved in understanding how to win the game. So you can seem knowledgeable in playing the game as well. So how did you first get into the hobby board games?

Damir 6:05
The first I think the first first game that I played was when I was a kid and hanging out with my grandpa. And then we played a lot of chess, you know, it was those like, it was nice, nice, beautiful board, you know, nice pieces on the board, we used the timer clock. And we we both enjoyed the game, you know, no matter the age difference, which, which was a big one, obviously. And then I started playing board games when we were hanging out with friends later on. And then on holidays and then hanging out with other couples, we played a lot of activity and all those couple related games, even for New Year’s we play games. Now. Now we actually go to we actually go to this bar, it’s a there’s a bar here in our city that has a bunch of games like hundreds of them. So we go there and just test like a lot of games out. And I was just started playing like camel races, photosynthesis, just games I never heard before. I don’t know, I guess I guess I felt like we need to do something like there’s, there’s more to games than just passing time. And you know, just like hungry, Hungry Hippos and games like that, you know.

Dustin Staats 7:15
And I’m curious, you’re in Slovenia, and you mentioned a bar. That is because I know here in the US board game cafes have really grown. And when I was living in Taiwan, the first year was there, there were like two board game cafes. And then by the time I left, there were like, three years later, there were I don’t know, maybe over 10 in Taipei, that I could just instantly think of is that something that’s popular where you’re at?

Damir 7:40
I think I think they’re the first one actually, to be fair there in the capital city. And it’s basically a bunch of tables, a bunch of games, they have beer, they have tea, you know, everything, but I feel like what, what happens here, like with this culture, I lived in America also. But basically, everybody goes to college there and you know, they have their own apartment, you know, sooner rather than later, we’ll hear a lot of people stay at their parents house, or they don’t have an apartment or their own. So they need a place to go to to play these games. You know, I feel like that’s perfect. That’s a perfect fit for where we are right now. Because basically, they just need a place to play. They bring their own game sometimes. And I feel like it’s always packed, you know, you kind of have to reserve the table Really?

Dustin Staats 8:30
Well, that’s awesome. I guess I didn’t really consider that aspect of other countries culture. Or maybe in Asian culture, it’s very similar, where the difference between American culture and Asian culture. And again, maybe other cultures outside of America is the idea of staying at home a little bit longer in the US, we kind of leave our parents home, as soon is college. But recently, it seems like a lot of our generation is moving back with our parents.

Damir 8:59
That we I mean, I think we would move sooner to but we don’t we don’t usually go to college far away, you know, here. So if you study here, it’s basically like a, like a half an hour drive tops.

Dustin Staats 9:11
So you’re designing the world game. What is the word game? And how did you come up with the idea for designing it?

Damir 9:18
Ah, yeah, it’s a actually it’s a it’s a fun geography board game. You know, we have a world map that’s numbered and you race around the world. So it’s a race and strategy game. There’s a lot of landmarks on the board, famous world world landmarks and you get a 194 country cards that have the name of the country flags, locations, capital cities and five basic facts on it. So in a way, you’re you’re comparing the facts like the just the basic play, is you have to compare the facts. So which country has a bigger population, the bigger area highest point and stuff like That. But then there’s also another thing to it where you can challenge each other with other challenges. So you have to show somebody the card while covering the name. So we have to get the flag or ask which capital, which is a capital of sweden, let’s say or show Thailand on the map or stuff like that. So you basically kind of learn a lot through this process. But then, with this, we also added the action cards, some dice, and pawns. So it’s kind of like knowledge, strategy, and luck based games.

Dustin Staats 10:40
That’s really cool. And it makes me think of a couple things when you’re describing the game. The fact that one you’re racing around the world, which I guess I haven’t played the game, so I’m not 100% Sure. So you’ll have to correct me. But it makes me think that sometimes you might land or interact with certain countries in the game, then you would in a different time playing the game. So there’s a lot of replayability there. And with that, there’s also opportunity for a kind of mastery, mastering the game content, which is very much a form of learning through the process of play. Maybe you can share what what how players might interact with the different countries. Is that something that they learn about different countries at different in different plays of the game?

Damir 11:22
Yeah, definitely. They there’s, there’s a bunch of cards. I mean, I feel like people are always surprised that there are so many countries, like, even people who think they know a lot, well, when they, when they see the pack of cards with 194 countries. They see they don’t know a lot. It’s basically like, every turn, every player gets one country card. So they compare the facts and everything, or they get challenged, and then you toss those cards away. So you can go through the whole pile, but not see all the countries you know, like up close, but you always see yours. So basically, you have to play I feel like I don’t know, like 50 times to really get a hold, like, of all the countries, you know, to hold each country once and then kind of figure out, oh, this country has a really high point, you know, a high mountain like Nepal, or maybe Luxembourg has a large GDP, but it’s a small country, and then you kind of figure out, you know, you get the scope of how big the countries are, where they are. And just what their their, their best traits are, you know, what they’re known for.

Dustin Staats 12:34
Right. And I think that’s super important. That’s something that I’ve learned in my adult life is, after leaving my home state of Nebraska, and having a base foundational knowledge of these things about different countries, it’s very important to be a contributing world citizen, it’s important to know a little bit about this to understand world politics. I think this base knowledge of different countries in the world is important.

Damir 12:59
Yeah, I mean, I feel like sometimes it’s just, you know, you just need a little spark to begin with, you know, just just to spark interest in, you know, young people’s minds. And just to see something surprising, or something that they, they thought, and then they were wrong. So they would go in research more about this topic and issue and I know, there’s, there’s some countries in the world that I thought were in, I don’t know, in Africa, and they were in the Oceania, you know, in Australia. So there’s, there’s really like, I still get surprised sometimes, you know, and I’ve played this game a bunch of times while testing so.

Dustin Staats 13:39
So could you share with us a bit about how you incorporated the fun part of the game into the educational aspect of it,

Damir 13:46
what we did was we put a lot of luck and strategy into it. So when we put action cards in it, I mean, those are cards where you can make somebody Skip a turn or move back to spots. Or let’s say, he challenges you and you get the correct answer. But then you have to hit he gives you another challenge, like with this action card, you have to answer another challenge correctly. Or you have to change the fact that you chose to compete with and stuff like that. And I think like, what, really what’s really interesting is everybody starts off, you know, playing like solo for themselves, right? And then there’s always this one person that maybe knows more, you know, about the world. And sometimes people get scared, like, I’m not going to No, no, this is a geography game. But at the end, like the person that gets ahead, you know, everybody that used to play I mean that when they when we began played solo, the team up with those action cards, just to slow that person down. So it kind of switches from playing for yourself to being a team player, you know, just kind of keeping everybody in the game at the same time. I feel like that’s like a lot of emotion changing there in the game, and Just like a rollercoaster of excitement,

Dustin Staats 15:04
right. And I think that’s really important. And I kind of want to hear more of the considerations you made when designing this type of game. And the one that you mentioned is a catch up mechanic. And that’s important that we use game, we use a mechanic like this game based learning because you don’t want a player or team to get so far ahead, that the losing team gives up. Because when the losing team gives up, they give up wanting to play and they give up wanting to learn. So what are some other educational aspects you involved in the design process?

Damir 15:35
To begin with, I’d say like, like, as I said before, like with chess, like, we felt it’s important that we don’t do just another, you know, Pokemon game and stuff that, you know, parents would not be interested in it. And, you know, it’s hard to get everybody behind a table playing a single game, because it’s, it’s hard to decide which one to play. But I feel like just developing this game, like we, let’s say a kid can play guessing which continent the countries from and then the parent can get the flag. And it’s, you know, it’s kind of like, equal difficult difficulty. So they can both both play. And I feel like the versatility of difficulty is important. And the second is not to make it too complicated, you know, so it stays fast pace. So, in our case, we had to, you know, choose our facts. So they’re all numbered, you know, so you can easily just like compare numbers, you know, how many neighbors to this country have? How many neighbors this one half? So it goes fast? You know, you don’t have to it’s not a quiz, you don’t have to read a question. And, you know, it’s, it’s basically, it goes really, really fast. And it actually sinks in after a while. And then I think the third and last one we had the most trouble with, and then I can stress this interface to be impartial. It comes to educational games, guys. I mean, there’s no way you can make everybody happy. I think there’s no room for personal preference here. It’s it’s an educational game. So I mean, it’s it matters where you get your data from, what I said it mattered which countries we can include in which we can where we draw the borders and everything. So it’s, you know, you really can’t please anyone you know, so like, some, some countries are recognized by the UN, some are recognized by the US. You know, there’s trouble with Palestine, coso, and a bunch of borders, like Taiwan and China. And just, it’s it’s hard to be objective and please, everyone, but I feel like, like, that’s a tough one for every game. I mean, they’re in history and everything, maybe, maybe math, math, math can be easier in that aspect.

Dustin Staats 17:50
Right. Yeah. I mean, math is pretty factual, I guess. We can rely on numbers, though, I guess, sometimes numbers can be deceiving. But yeah, you make a good point. I mean, it’s important to consider those things and think about where that source of information comes from, which is kind of something that we can touch on in the learning process of something like this. But for design of a game, or even as teachers, when we’re presenting material to our students, we should think about where that material comes from. And I know that’s a big, I guess, I would say, issue or challenge in the US to currently current that we’re currently thinking about, as well as looking at history and looking at the kind of negative aspects of American history and how that’s important to look at as well. And not just gloss over those things.

Damir 18:36
That’s a I think that’s, that’s important. And it’s really difficult. You know, like, even, like, when we put a game out, we’re always just waiting to see what other reviews are gonna be, you know, sir. And somebody always lives in the country that we have a card on. So, you know, it gets looked at closely. Definitely.

Dustin Staats 18:55
So, before we head into our final segment, are there any maybe last words of advice you would share either for someone interested in your game, or someone may be interested in having your game to be used in the classroom or for at home learning?

Damir 19:09
I feel like there was a bunch of comments that the people wanting to use it and use it for kids in the classroom as a bargaining chip. So let’s say there were nice, I don’t know, like how, how long is an hour of class in the US, and elementary schools and stuff, but uh, let’s say if it’s 45 minutes, they had to listen for 30 minutes in geography, and then for 15, they can play this game, which is kind of a reward for them, but for the teacher is actually just another way of learning about things, you know, and they can elaborate on that later on. So I know it’s, I think that was a that was a good comment from one of the teachers.

Dustin Staats 19:56
Right, and that’s really awesome. And I’m excited to see it on Kickstarter. on Kickstarter, as of now, the release of this episode, it was launched on November 10. So be sure to check it out on Kickstarter. That’s the world game. Awesome. So let’s head into our final segment, which is a thumbs up, thumbs down quick lightning round, I’m going to give you three statements, and you’ll give me a thumbs up because you like it, or thumbs down because you don’t like it. And a brief reason why you maybe agree or disagree with the statements. So the first one is going to be games of deception. So games that involve deception, thumbs up or thumbs down. And why?

Damir 20:37
I think thumbs up. I feel like it’s good for learning how to read people, you know?

Dustin Staats 20:45
Yeah, totally. And I still struggle with that, even with my wife. Sometimes I still trying to figure out how to read her. And she’s pretty good at those games. Alright, so the next one. So this is kind of a strange one. But maybe I can make sense of it. So you know, the website board game geek, or game geek, for anyone who doesn’t know is probably the number one board game website and they keep a running list of the Top 100 games. I think it’s based on an aggregate of votes from the community. Would you agree that the top 100 or disagree with the top run 100? So thumbs up or thumbs down?

Damir 21:21
Maybe thumbs down? Because I feel like it’s it’s so hard to get up? So I’m not sure if you have to pay to get up there or not. But I’m not really sure how to answer that, because I don’t know what’s behind it. But it’s usually there is games, you know, that have a large following and maybe a video game behind it. And you know, I know it’s kind of connected to a larger scheme of things, I think

Dustin Staats 21:49
are a hit. Yeah, there’s definitely 100% a lot of marketing money behind a lot of the games up there for sure. Alright, so the last one is classic board games remade.

Damir 22:00
Classic board game remade. Mmm hmm. I’m not sure if this counts, because it’s not actually boardgame. But, uh, I feel like everybody in Slovenia loves to play Uno.

Dustin Staats 22:13
Yeah, yeah, that would count.

Damir 22:15
All right. Yeah. It was like, when I was when I was doing this game. When my friend like, I checked out the history of Uno. It’s like a 30 minute clip on YouTube. And it’s actually it’s been developed. And I feel like, still we argue on the rules every single time.

Dustin Staats 22:32
That’s cool. I didn’t know there’s a YouTube video that shows the history of you know, I’m gonna have to check that out. Awesome. Do me Well, thank you so much, again, for coming on the show and sharing a bit about the world game. If anyone wants to reach out to you, where might they find you? And where would they find the world game?

Damir 22:51
Yeah, all right, you can basically go straight to Kickstarter and write the world game. It’s Live On Kickstarter now. And I should probably go fast because the first couple hundred units will be at an early bird price. So or you can go to our website, which is playworld game.com. And you can go through a link there and or shoot us an email if you have any questions. And I’ll go check it out. I think it’s it’s gonna be fun.

Dustin Staats 23:21
Awesome demeanor. Thank you again for coming on the show.

Damir 23:25
All right. Thank you, Dustin, for having me.

Dustin Staats 23:30
Thank you again for listening this week to Board Gaming with Education. If you like what you hear, please consider leaving a review. We love to hear back from you. And as always, thank you for the support and listen in. If you have any questions, you can reach us through our social media or email podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. And until next time, remember, teach better, learn more, most definitely play some more games. One game that I’ve been playing recently is Incan gold on board game arena. dotnet. So that’s a really fun push your luck game. We’ve had a lot of fun playing that remotely, I recommend checking that game out.

Board Gaming with Education 24:11
Thank you for listening in this week. If you liked what you heard, be sure to let us know you can find us on social media as Board Gaming with Education or PGE games or email us at podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. If you want to support our podcast, be sure to check out our support page on our website. As always teach better learn more and most importantly, play more. Thank you for listening and until next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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