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Designing a Curriculum 
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:08 pm
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Post Designing a Curriculum
I've been pondering this idea for awhile, and you guys seem like a good group. Maybe you can help me out.

Lets imagine that you can go to college to get a degree in tabletop RPG design. If you ever want to get a job in the industry, you'll need to have this degree.

Using only resources which already exist, what is the curriculum for this degree? What books are essential to read, and what projects are essential to complete?

I'm eager to know your thoughts.


Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:33 pm
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
Well it would be a degree that would never pay for itself since role playing game design is a low paying job.

But, to answer your question I would do something like this:


Intro to Game Design: This would cover what the class is going to accomplish (what the student will learn as well as the basics of game design

Game Concept- how to bring it together: This would cover how to put together a game concept, build a world and bring the base framework together

Game Mechanics Design: How to create game mechanics specifically for the setting, game mechanics that handle the basic combat and non combat situations and to resolve conflict.

Playtesting 101: How to run a playtest on your game and how to properly get feedback from the players so you know how to correct problems

Game Marketing: Finding the right company to publish your game and how to market your product


I am sure the above concepts can be refined. I am just spit balling here


Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:07 am
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
A more practical curriculum would be something like this:

Cooking With Ramen - delightful methods of preparing our staple.

Forum Flogging - how to artfully introduce your game into any topic on any forum!

Living on Nothing - survival strategies like collecting cans for deposit money, searching for change in your friend's couch cushions, visiting Mom, and ending with the ever popular Soup Kitchen Tour!

Putting off Creditors - how to stretch out bill collectors to the max!

Artsy Pretension - load your game with Significance to look cool! Get in with the In Crowd!

Cthulhu: The Darkening - how to shove Lovecraftian horrors and unrelieved angsty darkness into an otherwise pedestrian game for fun and profit.

-clash

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Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
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Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:44 am
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
Instinctively, the first thing that came to mind is humanities and maths. Then I thought about it and sure enough: Reiner Knizia is arguably the best game designer on the planet. He has a PhD in mathematics. Gygax apparently studied anthropology for a while.

Because it's a DIY environment, I do think game designers are better off knowing about self-publishing. So I'd say they would benefit from basic arts class, literature, business management as well as basic legal matters (copyright laws and the like). But really, I think it's about having a great idea, communicating well and then... maths. Lots of really sound math so your customers don't end up with shitty, 300+ page games and tax form character sheets. It's an engine, and you want as much of the maths to be worked out by the designer so there's the least math possible in the book.

Granted, I'm sure you could write a specialized gaming curriculum. You would adapt the topics above specifically to gaming but that would be pretty much that kind of stuff, IMO.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:47 am
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
Sorry CD I think FM's Curriculum is more on the money.

While it's fun to imagine how you would set up a curriculum for game design, the truth of the matter is (as I said before) if you got a degree in tabletop game design, the degree would never pay for itself


Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:27 am
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
TheRPGInformer wrote:
Sorry CD I think FM's Curriculum is more on the money.

While it's fun to imagine how you would set up a curriculum for game design, the truth of the matter is (as I said before) if you got a degree in tabletop game design, the degree would never pay for itself


I don't see how that's relevant to a purely theoretical discussion about which books and projects should be considered essential to qualify someone as an expert in tabletop game design.


Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:17 pm
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
TheRPGInformer wrote:
Sorry CD I think FM's Curriculum is more on the money.

While it's fun to imagine how you would set up a curriculum for game design, the truth of the matter is (as I said before) if you got a degree in tabletop game design, the degree would never pay for itself


The OP asked for a curriculum, not for its economic viability. I think the question is interesting. As soon as I read the question I knew someone would reply along Clash's line. And I think it needed to be said and who better to say it than a designer? But at the same time, I do think the question is interesting.

But since we're shifting the discussion to viability, here's my opinionr:

-Personally, I don't think a degree exclusively focused on TTRPGs would be that great of an idea. But a more general table top gaming degree (with a significant roleplaying component) could be useful.

-Plenty of degrees out there are considered useless, some more deservedly so than others. There are still ways to apply them in the job market. It's mostly how a driven individual is gonna put that knowledge to use but nothing says you'd have to limit your career choices to the game industry

-There's a lot of money in games. It's a hit and miss industry but you can make a good living in it.

-The TTRPG is rather weak but it's not impossible to make a living in it right now and, with the right developments, it could boom again. It could even be stronger than it was at its peak (where it was basically a money-printing industry for TSR).

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:43 pm
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
linkskywalker wrote:
I don't see how that's relevant to a purely theoretical discussion about which books and projects should be considered essential to qualify someone as an expert in tabletop game design.


You mean "Why should reality impinge on theory?" :D

Really, what you are proposing is "List your favorite games!", stated in a different way. RPG, CD and I all attempted to provide a curriculum, RPG and CD seriously, and I with tongue in cheek. If you really want a curriculum, I suggest:

1: Play all kinds of games, varying regularly. Learn what works and what doesn't from a player's perspective. Talk to other players about what you have learned. Apply the lessons. Don't ever stop playing.

2: Run all kinds of games, varying regularly. Learn what works and what doesn't from a GM's perspective. Talk to other GMs about what you have learned. Apply the lessons. Don't ever stop GMing.

3: Read read read read - not just games, but fiction, science, history, philosophy, technology, forensics, etc. Learn not just the subject but how words are put together to communicate ideas. Don't ever stop reading.

4: Write write write write - anything and everything, then self criticize it, tear it up, start over, repeat until you think you have it right, give it to a totally honest person to criticize, tear it up when you realize you have written drivel, then write more. Don't ever stop writing, learning, tearing up, and writing more until the keyboard compresses from the weight of your cold, dead face.

That's it.

-clash

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Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:56 pm
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
Consonant Dude wrote:
TheRPGInformer wrote:
Sorry CD I think FM's Curriculum is more on the money.

While it's fun to imagine how you would set up a curriculum for game design, the truth of the matter is (as I said before) if you got a degree in tabletop game design, the degree would never pay for itself


The OP asked for a curriculum, not for its economic viability. I think the question is interesting. As soon as I read the question I knew someone would reply along Clash's line. And I think it needed to be said and who better to say it than a designer? But at the same time, I do think the question is interesting.

But since we're shifting the discussion to viability, here's my opinionr:

-Personally, I don't think a degree exclusively focused on TTRPGs would be that great of an idea. But a more general table top gaming degree (with a significant roleplaying component) could be useful.

-Plenty of degrees out there are considered useless, some more deservedly so than others. There are still ways to apply them in the job market. It's mostly how a driven individual is gonna put that knowledge to use but nothing says you'd have to limit your career choices to the game industry

-There's a lot of money in games. It's a hit and miss industry but you can make a good living in it.

-The TTRPG is rather weak but it's not impossible to make a living in it right now and, with the right developments, it could boom again. It could even be stronger than it was at its peak (where it was basically a money-printing industry for TSR).


Thank you for a considered response.


Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:05 pm
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Post Re: Designing a Curriculum
Here're my picks:

Statistics, with a focus on how dice and other randomizers work.

An introduction to game theory.

Improv theatre.

A couple semesters of technical writing.

A few semesters on 20th century genre/pulp novels, comic books, and film.

A course every semester on existing games, including lots of actual gameplay assigned as homework.

Courses for help with publishing and marketing offered as electives.


Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:26 pm
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