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What Game Design Can Teach Us About Life feat. Steve Dee – 132

Episode Overview

In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education, Dustin is joined by co-host Rodger Moore and guest Steve Dee to discuss the importance of game design, how game design overlaps with other aspects of our lives, and what we can learn from game design through an educator’s lens. Join Dustin, Steve, and Rodger on this discussion of board games for learning.

  • Episode Topics
    • Board Gaming with Education Introduction: GBL Conference – 00:00
    • Welcome Rodger Back to the Show – 0:29
    • Who is Steve Dee? – 1:51
    • Tin Star Games – 3:28
    • Defining “Game Design” – 4:30
    • How to Think Like a Game Designer – 6:22
    • Student Differentiation and Different Game Players – 9:44
    • Leveraging the Creative Side of Game Design – 21:38
    • Rodger Rejoins the Conversation – 31:40
    • Dustin, Rodger, and Steve play Wits & Wagers45:12

Twitter: @tinstargames

Website: www.tinstargames.com

Games/Books from this Episode [Links include games in our Board Gaming with Education Store or Amazon affiliate links]:

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Soul Train” and “Retro Gamer” for our Sponsorship and Interview Segments. These songs 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 Game Segment.

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Board Gaming with Education Introduction: GBL Conference – 00:00

The Games-Based Learning Virtual Conference is the premiere professional event for designers, educators, entrepreneurs, and instructors, for games, games-based learning, gamification, serious games, and simulations.

Use coupon code “BGE” for a discount and help support our community!

Welcome Rodger Back to the Show – 0:29

Dustin welcomes Rodger back to the show to discuss today’s topic: “What Game Design Can Teach Us.” Join Dustin and Rodger after the conversation with Steve to discuss this topic further.

Who is Steve Dee? – 1:51

Steve Dee has been working in the game industry for twenty years as a writer, designer, editor, consultant, journalist, teacher, and more. He has worked on games such as Betrayal at House on the Hill, Vampire: The Requiem, Shadow of the Demon Lord and has won four Ennie awards for his work on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. His card game There’s Been A Murder will be published by Goliath Games in August and he publishes his own boutique RPGs and card games through his own company Tin Star 

Look out for his new exciting game of detective stories for two players: Partners, on Kickstarter second quarter of 2021.

Tin Star Games – 3:28

Steve shares a bit about his company and some of the games he has developed, such as Relics a tabletop RGP about playing angels who have fallen to earth.

Defining “Game Design” – 4:30

Steve defines “game designer” to frame the context of our discussion.

I think a game designer is someone who is able to understand the way that humans look for entertainment and and play and game challenges and try to create those kind of experiences. And that can be in all sorts of capacities.

How to Think Like a Game Designer – 6:22

Steve taught a course titled “How to Think Like a Game Designer.” He shares some tips on how we can think like a game designer and how that can benefit us. He shares an example of how as kids we learn problem-solving skills through the game of tag to make the game fair for everyone.

Student Differentiation and Different Game Players – 9:44

Steve and Dustin talk about different types of games and taxonomies of players in both video games and tabletop games, then draw a comparison to learning and different learning styles.

Leveraging the Creative Side of Game Design – 21:38

“Game design teaches you how to make sure the players value the things that are important and work toward them the way I want them to. And that’s perfect for teaching! …and the creative part of that, the illustrative part, is using commonly understood aspects of fiction and our own world to attach these things so that people naturally have an emotional connection… They can learn without feeling like they’re learning.”

Rodger Rejoins the Conversation – 31:40

Rodger rejoins the conversation with Dustin and they chat about some of the insights that Steve had to share.

Dustin, Rodger, and Steve play Wits & Wagers45:12

Dustin, Rodger, and Steve play Wits & Wagers.

What Game Design Can Teach Us About Life feat. Steve Dee – 132

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 0:20
All right, welcome to another episode of Board Gaming with Education. Today I’m joined by Roger. He’s our guest, co host for this episode. Roger. Welcome back.

Rodger Moore 0:29
Thanks for having me back, Dustin.

Dustin Staats 0:30
So we are going to dive into this conversation with Steve D. So we’re going to talk about what it means to be a game designer and how that can improve other aspects of our lives. And Roger and I are both teachers and our listeners, or you are likely in education or doing some sort of homeschool environment or a parent. And you might want to learn a little bit about how you can leverage the same ideas in game design for teaching or for learning. And Steve is going to be giving a talk at the GPL conference coming up in April. Dave has chatted about that on episode a couple times, he’s been a regular guest co host, and he’ll be back on our next interview episode and he’ll share a little bit more about the conference. But if you go to gvl conference calm, you can check out the lineup for that conference, I will be given a talk as well with a panel about using game based learning to create a more empathetic and connected environment and with our communities in our classrooms. And if you use BG ee as the code to register, you’ll save 20 bucks on the conference and it helps support our podcast too. So let’s listen into this conversation with Steve and then we’ll come back with Roger to chat a little bit more about the conversation and to play wits and wagers.

Welcome to another episode of Board Gaming with Education. I am joined with Steve D today and we’re gonna look at what it means to be a game designer and how that can help improve other aspects of your life. And I’m definitely gonna be framing this, like I mentioned to Steve before we hopped on this recording is from an educators perspective. But I’m excited to be joined by Steve today. Steve is a game designer and game publisher with 10 star games. Steve, can you say hello and maybe Introduce yourself a little bit more?

Steve Dee 2:19
Hey, everyone. Yeah, I’m I’m Steve de I live in Sydney, Australia. I’ve been working in the game industry since the early 2000s. And I’ve done all sorts of things. I my main entry point was working as a freelance role playing game designer and writer. And I’ve since branched out into getting published and publishing my own role playing games and tabletop games.

Dustin Staats 2:44
That’s awesome. Would you mind just sharing maybe like what kind of games you publish with 10 star games or a little bit about one of your games?

Steve Dee 2:52
Sure. So we’ve mostly focused on producing role playing games, we’ve got a bunch of small indie RPGs that are available on the website and through each.io. And we have just recently, in 2019, we successfully kickstarted relics, which is our big, hardcover role playing game, which is about playing angels who have fallen to earth and walk among the humans. And so that should be in your game stores now around around the world. And it’s also available through indie press revolution in the US. And we’ve also recently published a family card game called baby dragon bedtime, which should also be appearing in stores across the world.

Dustin Staats 3:37
That’s super awesome. I have recently over the last say I want to say two years now have gotten into role playing games. I’m not like a huge I enjoy being a GM I found out because I’ve been jamming the role playing game mothership if you’re familiar with it.

Steve Dee 3:53
I’m not but I’ll look it up.

Dustin Staats 3:56
Yeah, so it’s like a sci fi horror by Tuesday night games. And I’m sure we’ll talk about this. The reason I like to kind of dive into role playing games is because of the design benefits that we’re going to talk about today that you use for role playing games they carry over into the classroom. That’s essentially we are we are game masters of our classroom. Right. So with that, let’s define the topic with the main thing we’re going to talk about today. What is a game designer or what is game design?

Steve Dee 4:30
And that is that is a huge question. And it’s quite an expensive field. Because humans are natural game players and we bring that thought process to almost everything we do. I think a game designer is someone who is able to understand the way that humans look for entertainment and and play and game challenges and try to create those kind of experiences. And that can be in all sorts of capacities. There is a there’s a game design book that’s really good that’s designed by someone who’s actually what they call an Imagineer at Disney. And a lot of that is about creating experiences for families to go through, through their sort of theme experiences. And that’s, that’s another way to think about a game in the sense of its interactive entertainment. When you put it in that way, you can see it’s a much more expansive thing than just simply figuring out the mathematics of how to move cubes on a board.

Dustin Staats 5:38
Right, right. I love how you mentioned, I mean, the big part of that definition is, as we, I guess, engage in entertainment as active participants were not passively part of the entertainment. And I always like to relate game design or just design with teaching, because essentially, as teachers, we are designers, we’re designing a learning experience for our students. If I’m just maybe just now learning about game design, and I want to kind of dive into this topic a little bit more, from an everyday approach, what are some things that you might tell me to do or might ask me to think about,

Steve Dee 6:22
I have taught a course at a few companies, which is called How to think like a game designer. And one of the things that I start off with that is that the reason it’s good to think like a game designer is that people actually have natural skills in this area. And if you tap into that you not only teach people to trust their instincts, but you also give them the confidence that they have skills in this area already. And the example of that is, is that when you’re a young kid, you are actually quick to spot games that stop being fun. And you often have instincts about how to solve that. And that when you sort of tell people that they get that sense of Oh, actually, I can do this. And I have some skill, and I have some insight. And then they start trusting themselves and understanding how to apply that lens. The classic example is probably when you were a kid, you played a game called tag or tag or Tiggy, or whatever you call it, we had to chase people. And you quickly learn in that game that if someone who is bigger and faster than everyone else is up, they’ll never be caught. Sorry, he’s not up, he’ll never be caught. And this is the slowest person is the chaser. They’ll never catch anyone. And you quickly grow out of that game, because it isn’t fun. And you try to come up with ways to make it more fun and more balanced. And you have things like our, if you run inside, obviously, we can’t chase you. So you say things like oh, inside is out of bounds. That’s something we used to that’s the phrase we used to use as kids. And again, kids naturally do this, nobody teaches them. Nobody tells them these kinds of things. They just kind of go, Oh, that’s not allowed. Because that’s not fair. And that kind of natural sense that people have of what makes a Game Fair, what makes a game fun, what makes a game engaging, includes these things like fairness, and a chance for success and a reward for actions. And that kind of instinctive ness, once you want to lock that you can guide people to be natural game designers, and play designers. So that’s usually where I start with people as they go, yeah, you have these skills. And with a little bit of help, you can start to unlock them and see the world through the lens that you already have.

Dustin Staats 8:37
That’s super cool. That’s it reminds me of a couple things. And one, I don’t want to get too far off track. But two friends and myself, we do a Madden football franchise, and every year, we do a we call it a legislative session, where we essentially add new rules to the game and vote on them. Because we want to make sure none of us are kind of running away with the game. Because then it’s just no fun. And that reminds me of what you mentioned as as kids we kind of we learn what rules to make to make sure the game is balanced.

Steve Dee 9:10
Yes, exactly. And we have a natural sense of nobody wants to play even if they’re winning. Nobody wants to play a game anymore. If there’s no chance that they’ll lose. You know that that’s kicks in as well. We have a natural sort of social thing of like, is this fun for everyone when I’m way ahead of you. So it’s not it’s not it’s not a selfish instinct to go, I can’t win. It’s also I can’t lose. That’s boring. It’s a it’s a very social aspect of our of our brains.

Dustin Staats 9:44
Right. And I wonder, it makes me think of the different types of players and then wonder how that relates to game design.

Steve Dee 9:54
At the moment. There’s a lot more academic body of work on computer game designers because that’s just been where the money is. And the focus They have a bunch of different taxonomies. And they tend to build the big AIA games, triple A games for multiple game experiences. And that’s slightly, there isn’t as much of a body of academic work on that in tabletop. But certainly, designers tend to be aware of these things. And some, and games can cater to different styles of play. And you can often get games where they’ve tried to include something for everyone, but ended up not really understanding different styles of play, there’s a lot of discussion and design about how to make good cooperative games. And that is a very tricky element, because it’s very hard to design for very different kinds of players in a cooperative space. And some of the solutions to that, like semi Co Op, where you can’t quite trust people doesn’t always work. Because again, that kind of is a very different experience for a lot of players then cover up plays. So it’s definitely a really interesting area of there are, but there are different types of players. And in the last five years, as board gaming has exploded, there is even more different players who have very different ideas about what they would think of as fun. And as there’s become more mainstream awareness, there is a need for these audiences to be catered to. And I think we’re very much feeling our way through that and trying to figure out how to do that without creating games that are watered down or an interesting computer games often have the aspect where it can be quite modular, like you can play this game. And you can completely ignore the crafting. Or you don’t have to do any side quests. But if you’re if you’re an exhaustive, explorative, player, you can. And that hasn’t really worked. We haven’t figured out how to do that in tabletop gaming as much role playing games perhaps have a bit more flexibility in that regard. But yeah, it’s harder in role in tabletop games to go, here is a game that will that allows people to be approached in a modular fashion and make it more tactical or less tactical, depending on the group,

Dustin Staats 12:03
for sure. And it makes me makes me think about the play experiences I have with video games, I have played one that came up this last year ghosts of Tsushima. And I’m not a player who likes to go on the side quest, I just like to go through the game kind of experienced the fairy, I guess, high, intense level experiences the boss battles, but I’m then I have a friend, he’s like, just going on all the side quests and trying to get as much done as possible as he advances. But I wonder if that’s kind of, I guess, with tabletop games, I guess you can’t do it. Like you mentioned, you have tabletop RPGs. And maybe your different group kind of gravitates to different things within that tabletop RPG. But I guess in board games, you just have a wider selection.

Steve Dee 12:54
Yes, that’s generally the thing is like, if we want to have this kind of experience, let’s play this. What we probably lack at the moment is a very good sense of vocabulary of what people like and why. And we’re trying to get that we sort of have light and heavy and sort of mean and nice. And we’re trying to explore those two aspects a little bit. But people, people, one person is heavier than other person’s life, you know, so there’s this, we’re still trying to figure out how to go, will you like this game? Are you in the mood for this game? Or should we play something that’s a bit less like X or Y, but we don’t have the vocabulary? And that’s something that at the moment is certainly something that a lot of academics and designers are talking about is how do we get a better vocabulary, both for designers, but also for the general public, so that they have a way to go? Are that’s why I don’t like that game? And now what kind of games have that thing? And how do I avoid it by making better choices in the market? And that’s something that, again, I think, when I used to tell people like to how to how to think like game designers, that’s another reason why, because if you have a sense of some of the mechanics of game design, you can figure out better what games you want to play with other people.

Dustin Staats 14:20
Right? And maybe we can move into talking about that a little bit. Because one thing that is very, very, I mean, you mentioned talking about classifying tabletop games, and not really having a strong foothold of that in the industry versus video games, but it’s even more true looking at game based learning in the classroom. And I wonder, thinking about what games would work well in the classroom is something that I know that I’ve talked to other game based educators, we really want to be able to classify why it works well, or why this game might work in this particular situation.

Steve Dee 14:55
I think perhaps the way forward there is obviously we put some much of a burden on teachers to to understand everything. Certainly there’s a, there’s a is trying to give them some of the skills or at least some of the background to make a choice like that. And there’s a sense of, there’s something that’s being discussed is that every game should come with teacher notes. so that it can be used in a classroom and used in interactions in education. Obviously doesn’t work for every single game, but it were we becoming aware of how much play and gaming is great for education, how games may be the best way to teach so many things. So it makes sense to sort of think about, okay, it comes back to sort of trying to tap into as many markets as possible, we now know, one of our huge markets are teachers and schools. Let’s play to that by going right. Here’s your historical notes. Here’s which mechanics work, here’s how I would use it at a classroom. You know, it’s not impossible to put a teacher’s note page in every in a board game. At the end of the rules, or something I’d like I really like to see more of that sort of thing done.

Dustin Staats 16:12
Right? Yeah, no one company actually no two companies that do it as almost it, it comes as a part of their game design. Want us to do for most of games? Maybe not, if not all, but genius games, they do science based games and capital gains studios, a board game publishing company in Singapore that does economic space games, and they both come with like a learning guide, or a teaching guide.

Steve Dee 16:37
Could be something great. I mean, I think, also for parents is another way to approach that question. Because a lot of, you know, parents have become very keen again in the last couple of years to get kids off screens, and you want to, if you can give them a thing, like, here’s how to teach this to young children. You know, there’s a guide for that. And here’s what kind of skills it uses. And, you know, if you like this kind of game, and it’s working well, then you can also try this or that. It couldn’t be on websites or something. But yeah, it’s, it’s something that we need to be aware of that this is the there’s an overlap, as well. The gaming is a kind of teaching and teaching is a kind of gaming, perhaps. There’s all as you said earlier, being a GM has a lot of overlap with teaching, but so does teaching a board game, how to play it and presenting that as an experience. And it’s a shared learning experience, and a puzzle solving experience. So there’s all this overlap, so we might as well, you know, feature it and play to it and talk about it. Right.

Dustin Staats 17:42
I mean, he bring up a really good point to that teaching a board game. That’s, that’s a skill, and it’s developing other skills in itself. So even even just right there. It’s awesome. Yeah,

Steve Dee 17:55
I’ve just seen in the last couple of months, a couple of different. So there’s a lot of YouTube channels and Twitch channels about reviewing games and talking about games. But just recently, there’s been some about how to teach games. And using educational theory, like how to teach games to kinesthetic players, how to teach games to visual players, how to teach heavy games, heritage, like games, and being aware that if you’re the if you’re the nerd who brings the new games you are the teacher, you better be good at teaching is again, a great thing.

Dustin Staats 18:29
Right? And that’s, I mean, that’s awesome, because it’s essentially, the people that are the board game investors that are bringing more into the hobby are the ones that are teaching the game and having those skills to be able to teach them well, in turn, brings more people into the hobby. Yep,

Steve Dee 18:45
yep. Yeah, I’ve seen I’ve seen a lot of people turned away because somebody has gone, you know, played a board game before, we’re going to throw you straight into something really complex and dense, you know, we’re going to teach you and we’re going to throw all the expansions in at once. And sometimes through no fault of their own. Like I actually I had had some friends who, who wanted to get into board gaming, they heard good things about Carcassonne, they bought the big box expansion, because they thought, oh, we’ll get the most value. And then they put all the expansions in at once because they didn’t really get that it’s supposed to be modular, and they didn’t like it because they were like trying to learn 15 games at once. And, yeah, there wasn’t a sense of you know, games can’t don’t come with a person to teach them to you. And we have to be aware of that fact. And and again, be be smart about how we design perhaps so that we understand that some people there is an element of, of advocacy and teaching and communication in that is part of our hobby that we cannot get away from.

Dustin Staats 19:55
Right, right. Yeah, I think if we can eliminate that barrier of learning a game in any way would be,

Steve Dee 20:04
yeah, every game designer faces that problem. First you have to design a game, then you have to design a system to teach that game so that when you open the box, people can get to play how it is supposed to be played. And that is a different art from designing a game in itself. And that’s an example where role playing games are actually really interesting, because the text of the role playing game is so crucial, like the rulebook is the game. So if you have role playing game design skills you are used to going, I’m going to teach this to you page by page, which can be helpful when you’re designing robots for board games.

Dustin Staats 20:40
Right, and you bring up another good point that I kind of had a chance to chat about this on the episode on our previous episode, both with Eric slawson and Kim Tolson and separate episodes, we talked about the ability to communicate through a rulebook or to communicate through online through an online setting, and to be able to do that through game design and be able to create your rulebook. So it communicates how to play the game is another skill that I think is really important for I mean, teaching, especially in definitely other areas of your life as well.

Steve Dee 21:12
And again, something that that is really we’re becoming more aware of there are people who are specialists, rule games, writers, or rule book writers, I should say, and we will, you know, you can go right, my game is fixed. I’ve written a rulebook, but it’s time to bring in an expert to make sure it’s a really good rule book. And I’m sure people from an education background would be great at having that skill. Right. Yeah, the

Dustin Staats 21:38
very, I guess, technical writing skills is definitely Yeah, I would say most teachers have that have a pretty strong skill when it comes to communicating. Yeah, for sure. So I want to ask maybe another topic we can kind of talk about, before we kind of wrap up is, I know for me, I’ve really enjoyed the creative, innovative side of using some of the things I’ve learned from game design. And bringing that into my classroom. For example, I did a whole course and gamified it by throwing a Sherlock theme around it. And using different language within my classroom, I created Google classrooms online, and they were named like London instead of actually like Google Classroom, English, 101, or whatever. I wonder if you could share any thoughts on using that creative, innovative side as a part of your everyday life and how that maybe carries over from game design?

Steve Dee 22:34
I think I think one thing you really hit on there is that the purpose of theme in games is to help communicate what is important, and what has value. And to give things a bit of not only a little bit of excitement, and a bit of fantasy and imagination, but a way of creating value. Everyone understands that Sherlock Holmes is a detective trying to solve a mystery. And so that’s very clear, and very communicative. And one thing we always do, the thing about game design is it is it abstracts things down to Who are you? What are you trying to do? And what are the obstacles, and then being able to present that sort of thing with a fanatic point of view is a really good learning about how to communicate things. So game design teaches you how do I make sure the players value the things that are important and work towards them the way I want them to. And that’s perfect for teaching. And as you say that and the creative part of that the illustrative part of that is using commonly understood aspects of fiction and our own world, to attach to these things, so that people naturally have an emotional connection, that can get around in sort of an analytical thing. And make people feel they can learn without feeling like they’re learning in that sense, because they, they’ve, they’ve stepped into this character. And I think that’s if you’re, if you’re ever it can be, it can be it can appear trite, but I think that’s just a good skill to have, again, to go like, what is a way that I can communicate the value and meaning of this through analogy or connection. One thing that I do as well as game design is I work as a dog trainer. And a lot of what I have to do is explain the dog’s thinking to the human. And so that involves a kind of character roleplay where I go, okay, imagine you’re a dog and you think the bin is full of delicious food and then the human ties it up and takes it away from you and you feel like oh, well that’s my food. And that’s the kind of example of roleplay as a way of teaching and in a similar sense if you’re trying to communicate an idea with people you know, okay, if this is if this thing represents, you know, Superman and this represents Lex Luthor or whatever, then you know, they’re going to fight or something like that or stop Sherlock Holmes Just going to try to solve a mystery that tells people there’s a progression going on. And I think, yeah, that using the our own internal logic and knowledge and personal reaction to fictional and character is a really good way just to get people to immediately understand the goals and methods and processes that are going on. So never shy away from from adding that little bit of color to it.

Dustin Staats 25:29
That’s really awesome. I think you hit something really important, especially when it comes to creating. Now a lot of teachers out there looking at to gamify in their course. And why theme and flavors important because like you mentioned, you’re highlighting something that’s important. And if you’re throwing a theme on to as an assignment, that’s part of your gamified course, then your students are going to see that as something important and part of the entire, I guess, gamified experience.

Steve Dee 25:55
Yep, absolutely. Yeah, exactly. And you end up, you can teach multiple things at a time, because you have, which teachers again have sort of become familiar with where they that sort of integrated learning where on the one hand, you’re writing an essay, as if you were, you know, an American colonial person. You’re learning about essay writing, but you’re also learning about the history and you’re learning about empathy and points of view. And so teachers, again, have a natural game design skill of how do I put a skill into a thematic context? So there’s a great overlap there already.

Dustin Staats 26:34
Right. And that’s more and more role playing to you, right?

Steve Dee 26:36
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, that’s, I think I fell in love with role playing when I was in primary school. And we were doing exercises like that writing a, you know, write an essay as if you are someone from this time period, or write an essay as if you were a robot and that sort of thing. That that was something that I was doing and loving long before I found out what role playing games were.

Dustin Staats 26:59
That’s awesome. All right, Steve. So before we head into our game, is there any maybe last words you might share with someone that’s thinking about game design, the practice of game design, and how they can incorporate that either in teaching or in their everyday life,

Steve Dee 27:14
I think this is a really good time to do it. Because there’s never been more information about it. There is, as I said, there’s a bit of a gap in some of the academic knowledge. But there are, you know, dozens of podcasts that take a really academic point of view as well. And so there’s a great variety depending on how you want to start learning. There’s a great variety of books, and YouTube shows, and just a lot of information at the moment about how to be a game designer, and you can go and study courses, I used to run courses in Australia. And there are courses that you can do around the world that are short things that just give you some of that skills. And there’s materials and packages and groups and people. So if you’re interested at all, in game design, find your local game designers because I’m guaranteed there will be some and you can learn a little bit. And it’s it’s not a big mysterious world, we are really living in a world where you can now just dip your toe in and learn a little bit at a low kind of investment in an introductory way, and get started and find it if you want to use it more. So this is a great time to do that.

Dustin Staats 28:23
That’s awesome. And you mentioned some books. I’m gonna throw you on the spot here. Do you have a good recommendation of a book to start with?

Steve Dee 28:30
There’s a great book called The couple guide to game design, I think it’s called as it’s k ob, oh, lb. Which is by kobold. Press kobold got the game design. It’s a series of short essays by famous game designers, collected by Mike Celica who’s a legendary game designer. And it just because it’s each one is this a little separate essay. It’s nice and easy to read. And it’s a great place to start. And if you want something a bit heavier, there’s a book called The theory of fun, and I can’t remember who wrote it.

Dustin Staats 29:07
That was that was my suggestion. So I’ll hop in with the other Raph Koster that

Steve Dee 29:14
yes, custers theory. There’s also the book The the imagine near book that I recently read a called game design a book of lenders, and that’s, again, a bit heavier. But it also has an approach where it’s basically 101 lenders, which means it’s by Jessie Scoble, a good sorry, Jessie shell, who, again, was an Imagineer. And it looks at all different types of con games, types of games, but it does it as these what they call it a lens like how to look at your game through x lens like and that some of them are really complex, but some of them are really simple. So if you again, want to dip your toe into you can get this from the library, look through the first 10 learn the lenses and that will give you again, a way to sort of go up I can see how this is a science and this is a, this is a process and, and it’s a good, it’s a good building block to work through.

Dustin Staats 30:09
Awesome. I’m gonna add those two to my to my reading list now,

Steve Dee 30:12
I can’t pronounce his name very well but Ignasi trzech wick, who is a narrative designer who designed Robinson Crusoe. And I think it’s called first Martians. wrote a wrote some books called games that tell stories. And that taps into what we’ve been talking about, about how theme adds meaning. ignosi is really fascinated by the way that you can use game mechanics to produce story as well as using story to tell about mechanics. And he’s written some again, it’s a it’s a sort of a series of bite size essays. So again, it’s a great way to get in and is more in that narrative element.

Dustin Staats 30:53
Right, and maybe before we go on to the game, to his stories are, are really excellent way to solidify learning to because when you’re tying and learning into a story, it’s very easy to remember the learning as a part of a story.

Steve Dee 31:08
Absolutely, yeah.

Again, it’s like that carry over between gaming and education. The story gives it that meaning and that sense of logic is like, Oh, yeah, we want to go and rescue the princess from the castle. That’s why we’re doing this. Just much more clear within get to goals on.

Dustin Staats 31:30
Alright, Steve, stick around, we’re gonna play a game after a little chat with Roger.

And so we’re back. Roger, what were some of the first things that kind of stood out to you? or What did you find really interesting about the conversation with Steve?

Rodger Moore 31:52
Um, I like how he was talking about how us as people, like, we’re just humans, like, we’re just like natural game players, which I thought was very, very interesting. And then the way kind of you think about, you know, designing games that just reminds me that this book that I’ve read from McGonigal, you know, reality is broken. And she kind of talks about a lot of those kinds of concepts in this book about how we’re, our brains are kind of wired to play games. And we’ve been doing that for a long period of time, and why there’s this this appeal to it in why a lot of people are drawn to it. And whether they agree with that or not, you know, they go well, I don’t, you know, maybe I don’t play board games with it. But I bet you a lot of people play something. Or they they do like to do something and you go well, I don’t do that. I mean, I used to ask my students that like, well, I don’t play games. Well, do you play sports? Yeah, well, that’s again, you know, it’s just funny how they just, they don’t, I mean, gaming, they think encompasses a huge, broad amount of, you know, topics and whatever that fit into it. I mean, it’s just not board games, video games, there’s, you know, all kinds of things and that we, you know, I don’t know, hardly anybody that doesn’t enjoy something, you know, they they play, you know, some kind of game or whatever. I mean, my mom, and, you know, brother, whatever. I mean, everybody may families, you know, maybe not as avid board gamers, me, but did they do due to something they do do something like that, or, or they follow something or whatever, like you maybe don’t participate, but you like to watch it? You know, I mean, if you’re into sports, or whatever, I mean, those are they’re all everything. Those are all games.

Dustin Staats 33:37
Right? Right. I think one thing that that I’ve been doing in my course, we’re looking at the game among us games, and human behaviors, the title, of course, and one thing we talked about recently, and I love that some of the things that Steve brought up is drawing these parallels between game design or games and life. And one thing that I had brought up is the magic circle. And you mentioned sports, when we’re playing a sport when we’re kicking a ball into the net. That’s what that is called, if you’re not playing soccer. If you’re playing soccer, it’s called scoring a goal. And creating this magic circle of these agreed upon terms is really cool. Where in the art course, I was able to draw those parallels between the magic circle and other aspects of life and how in society, we kind of have these agreed upon norms, and how that’s really important. And another thing that I really loved, that Steve had demonstrated is this idea of tag. And we get really tired of it pretty quick, when we’re playing just tack when it’s just I tag you, you’re it because what ends up happening is there’s that standout tag player who never becomes it. And there’s the tag player that’s always in that it’s just no fun for everyone. And we just have this general or instinctive tendency as kids to create these other rules to make the game a bit more interesting and bit more fun.

Rodger Moore 35:00
Yeah, that was a good point, too, that he made. And I don’t know, it just kind of makes me kind of think that I, I really think this this whole hobby or what we’re kind of wired to do is, can be so inclusive to everybody. But, you know, then sometimes you get in all kind of some natural log, why don’t like that. So maybe, you know, when we you could disagree with somebody, I don’t enjoy it. But I have a little problem with, you know, somebody kind of gets the point where they’re almost like giving somebody a hard time or maybe kind of attacking them, and maybe in a subtle way, that oh, well, that’s not again, you know, your game is not as good as mine. And, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s fine. That could be the case. But I think sometimes we got to kind of be careful about that. And I think that’s why maybe, you know, it steers people away from certain things, but I think it’s kind of some, maybe some inherent human thing that we got to take ownership of certain things like, Oh, you know, this is my game. And, you know, maybe I don’t want or the people in it, which I find kind of odd. But, you know, I think some people kind of think that way, sometimes, but I think we got to kind of be careful with that sort of thing. You know, I think as teachers and stuff like that, that’s the one thing we’re always trying to avoid, isn’t it? I mean, we’re always working on inclusivity. You know, I’m being inclusive of everybody, and making sure that that, you know, everybody has a voice and, you know, and that that matters, and that those are good skills, right, to go out into the real world with, you know, so that you’re not, you know, ostracizing people or whatever, you know. And I think sometimes we even do it. Not on purpose, either. But I think, you know, if you’re really, as a teacher, that’s something I think you’re really you really try to be aware of. Right.

Dustin Staats 36:46
And I think that’s another point Steve had brought up too, is that there are different types of players. And there are different types of students. And as teachers, like you mentioned, we need to be very conscious of how to involve the different students in our learning experience and what that means. And I always say this on the podcast episode, ever since I’ve started like, looking at game theory and game design, I’ve realized how similar it is, and how many skills overlap between that and teaching. It’s crazy how how similar it is. Well, yeah, I

Rodger Moore 37:20
mean, even when you’re teaching a game, I mean, you’re using a lot of, you know, teaching skills and so on. You know, and I think some people that don’t even teach, you know, might not be teachers, you know, I’m sure we’ve had people on our game group says, Hey, I like that guy, or that person or whatever, whoever it is, they’re really good at he or she’s really good at, you know, teaching that game, but probably could be good teachers, in some senses. You’re like, Oh, I don’t want to do that. But we’d be good at it. You know, because you got it, you have a lot of the, you know, the skills and stuff that would make you effective.

Dustin Staats 37:52
Yeah, and one one other point that I think that is really important that Steve brought up. And I would, I would recommend, if you’re interested in diving, this diving into this topic more as a teacher, and using a lesson and gamifying. That lesson is something he mentioned to us to drive what is important in the game. And that’s a pretty pretty in depth topic, I would recommend checking out the board game design, lab, podcast, and blog, and you can search theme in games, and there’ll be some interesting episodes about that. But as a teacher, we can use theme to game a fire lesson and create this kind of mystery. I’ve kind of I’ve done this with worlds XP in the past, but so for example, you have students complete various tasks, and they unlock parts of the story in those tasks that relate to the learning. Again, this this topic of using theme to drive what’s important is like more than one entire podcast episode worth of content, so and maybe that’s something we can talk about in the future. But if you’re curious now, and you don’t want to wait for us to bring it up, I would check out that podcast Board Game Design Lab that’s about game design. But I’m sure there’s some things that you could take away as an educator or someone who’s trying to design the experience for students and learning anything else to add before we jump into our game.

Rodger Moore 39:15
Now let’s go ahead and do it.

Dustin Staats 39:24
Alright, so we are going to play wits and wagers. And we’ve played this before. So you kind of know the drill, but just for anyone listening, here is how to play. Alright, so we’re gonna move into our game. And I mentioned we’re going to play a podcast version of wits and wagers. So, I’m gonna ask you a question. You’ll give me a number based on what you think the number is. And then I’ll give you three other numbers. They could be correct, they could be way off, and you’ll have a choice to either double down on your number for three points, or Well, I guess you’d get two bonus points or choose one of the other numbers for one point, and you’ll be competing against the co host. So whoever is closest will score point. So just a recap on points, or as closest gets one point, if you double down in your answer, and you’re still closest, out of all the other answers, you get two more points. Or you can choose a different number for just one more point. So Roger, we have our, our question or statement. And this is the question in kilometers. So I realize I matched I matched you up who is a You are a runner and a biker. So you might be pretty familiar with this answer. Maybe. Maybe I’m putting you up there. And you’re, maybe you’ll be way off? I don’t know. We’ll see. So in kilometers, what is the furthest someone has run without stopping?

Rodger Moore 40:49
run without stopping?

Wow, I don’t know. Just, I don’t know. Is this like a race? Or just? in general? I don’t know. Um, yeah.

Dustin Staats 41:05
So it’s just I think it’s, I know the answer. So based on that, it’s, it’s just a run without stopping. So not necessarily a race, just something this person did. To run without stopping.

Rodger Moore 41:15
I know, I’m going to be way off on this, but I’d say 160 kilometers plus

Dustin Staats 41:18
160 kilometers. Alright, let’s listen to Steve’s answer. Alright, so the question is, in kilometers, what is the furthest someone has run without stopping?

Steve Dee 41:29
Oh, it’s probably quite a lot. I’m going to say. 200

Dustin Staats 41:37
200 kilometers. Yeah. Alright, so he went with 200. You’re pretty close. You said 160. Right. And here are the other fake answers. So 432 kilometers, 500 kilometers, or 1354 kilometers. So you can double down on your answer, or you can switch and choose one of those three.

Rodger Moore 41:57
Okay, so it was you said 1432 501,354.

Dustin Staats 42:05
Yeah, fine.

Rodger Moore 42:06
I’ll do I’ll go 500 500. All right.

Dustin Staats 42:08
Let’s listen to what Steve did. Alright, so here are the other responses. 432 kilometers, 500 kilometers. And 1354 kilometers.

Steve Dee 42:23
I’m going to go for


Dustin Staats 42:27
So he went with for 32. You went with 500. The final answer is 563. Right. Right. So you you won that one because of the switch. Nice. Sure. Awesome. So thank you again, Roger, for coming on. And we’ll be back in season 12. that’ll probably be sometime in April with you and I but we’ll have another episode next week with Dave.

Rodger Moore 42:52
Yep. Yeah. Thanks for having me on again. Dustin.

Dustin Staats 42:54
Cool, Steve, thank you so much for sharing a bit of your insight on game design. If anyone wanted to reach out to you, or if you have any projects coming up? Would you mind sharing that with us?

Steve Dee 43:03
Yes. So we are tin star games everywhere. So it’s 10 Star games.com. That’s tin like the metal, like the old west tin star. So 10 Star games.com is our website we are at 10 star games, on Twitter and on Instagram. And we are going to be doing some more stuff for relics coming up this year, then do another Kickstarter. So if you’re any interested in angels, and demons, and you know you like supernatural, or Lucifer or any kind of stuff like that, I think you get a big kick out of the RPG and we’re really hoping to get it out there and more people playing it and testing it. So look out for that. It should be in your game stores. And we should be doing a Kickstarter where we release releasing a new supplement. And we’re going to of course, re send out copies of the game. So if you missed it the first time you’ll be able to get it. So that’s coming up early next year.

Dustin Staats 43:56
Awesome. Thank you so much again, Steve. As always, thank you for listening but two things before we go this week. If you’re interested in that virtual game Based Learning Conference, go to GB l conference comm use the coupon code d g to save some money on that conference, and it also helps support our podcast. Also, sign up for our newsletter. That is the best way to keep up to date with everything going on with Board Gaming with Education. You’ll have updates from our Instagram or YouTube our podcast. We also love to share awesome resources we come across in all in any resources we develop for our community are available through our newsletter as well. We like to highlight things going on in the game based learning space. So be sure to sign up for our newsletter. That’s the best way to keep up to date with things going on with Board Gaming with Education and get some resources insights into game based learning and gamification. That’s Board Gaming with Education calm and the newsletter will be one of the first things you see on our page. You can go to Board Gaming with education.com podcast dash community, and it will be the first thing you see on the page. All right, until next week.

Board Gaming with Education 45:11
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,

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