General information

Subject type: Mandatory

Coordinator: Ana Beatriz Pérez Zapata

Trimester: Second term

Credits: 4

Teaching staff: 

Antonio José Planells De La Maza

Teaching languages

  • Catalan
  • Spanish

The materials can be provided in Catalan as well as in Spanish or English. 


Basic skills
  • B3_Students have the ability to gather and interpret relevant data (usually within their area of ​​study), to make judgments that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues


  • B4_That students can convey information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialized and non-specialized audiences


Specific skills
  • V1. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of video games and analyze the reference video games with arguments based on evaluation criteria contextualized in the historical and cultural framework.

  • V2. Design the mechanics, rules, structure and narrative of video games following the criteria of gameplay and balance to provide the best possible gaming experience.

Transversal competences
  • T1_That students know a third language, which will be preferably English, with an adequate level of oral and written form, according to the needs of the graduates in each degree



The subject of Introduction to Game Design is the first approach to the ideation, prototyping and creation of a game in the framework of the subject of Game Design and Creation. It works from the perspective of analog play in aspects such as mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics. The course consists of theoretical sessions, game sessions and prototyping sessions. To achieve the knowledge the subject is evaluated on the one hand the creation of a prototype in group and on the other the theoretical knowledge individually.


Topic 1. The analog game and the game designer

1.1. The contemporary board game: evolution and typologies

1.2. From playing to creating: typologies and functions of the game designer.

Topic 2. Elements of the games

2.1. The game as a system

2.1.1. Mechanics: rules as actions

2.1.2. The gameplay or gameplay: the system of loops

2.1.3 The gaming experience: the user at the center of the system

2.2 Nuclear elements of the game

2.2.1. Structure and challenges

2.2.2. Game turn

2.2.3. Actions and resources

2.2.4. Resolution

2.2.5. Victory and completion conditions

Topic 3. Introduction to Game Theory

3.1. Depending on the structure

3.1.1. Symmetrical and asymmetrical games

3.1.2. Zero sum and non-zero sum games

3.1.3. Games of strategy, uncertainty and chance

3.2. According to the knowledge and the winning strategy

3.2.1. Prisoner's Dilemma and Nash Balance 

3.2.2. "Maximin" and "Minimax" criteria

3.2.3. Information models

Subject 4. The design of games like discipline

4.1. High level design methodologies

4.2. Design methods or tools

Item 5. Creation and prototyping of games

5.1. Where do the ideas come from? Brainstorming and other strategies

5.2. Choosing a design perspective: from mechanics to subject, from subject to mechanics

5.3. Analog prototyping

Evaluation system

The grade of each student will be calculated following the following percentages:

A1. Exercises to do in class or at home: Analysis of mechanics and gameplay in analog games 20%

A2. Exercises to do in class or at home: Analysis of mechanics and playability of analog games with digital support 20%

A3. Group work: Design and implementation of an analog game prototype 30%

A4. Final exam 30%

Final grade = A1 0,2 + A2 0,2 + A3 0,3 + A4 0,3

General Considerations:

  • It is necessary to obtain a mark higher than 5 in the final exam / equivalent test to pass the subject.
  • Misspellings, writing errors and formal and technical problems specific to the subject will be penalized with 0,10 points, up to a maximum of 2 points, in all assessable activities and tests.
  • An activity not delivered or delivered late and without justification (court summons or medical matter) counts as a 0.
  • In the case of detecting plagiarism, copying or fraud in any evaluable activity or test, this will automatically obtain a final grade of 0. Additionally, in cases of copying or fraud, both the person who copies and the person who allows copying are responsible for their conduct, and the consequences of the conduct affect all students involved in the irregular action. Regardless of the suspension caused by plagiarism, copying or fraud, the professor will communicate the situation to the Department Management so that the applicable measures are taken in terms of disciplinary regime and the initiation of the relevant disciplinary file.
  • Recovery:

  • The recovery will be done with a recovery exam that will have the same format and contents as the exam of activity 4.
  • It is necessary to obtain a mark superior to 5 in the final exam of recovery to pass the asignatura.
  • The grade of the make-up exam will be applied only to the grade of activity 4. Therefore, the weighting of the rest of the activities will be taken into account to obtain the final grade of the make-up.
  • The delivery of the rest of the activities will not be admitted to be re-evaluated in the framework of the recovery.
  • In case of passing the recovery, the maximum final mark that can be obtained in the total of the subject is 8.



Salen, Katie & Zimmerman, Eric (2003). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Fullerton, Tracy (2014). Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games. Abingdon: CRC press. 

Zubek, Robert (2020). Elements of game design. Cambridge: MIT Press.


Salen, Katie & Zimmerman, Eric (2005). The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Colleen, Macklin & Sharp, John (2016). Games, Design and Play: A detailed approach to iterative game design. Boston: Addison-Wesley.

Ham, Ethan (2015). Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers. Abingdon: CRC Press.

Schell, Jesse (2014). The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses (3rd Edition). Abingdon: CRC Press. 

Rogers, Scott (2014). Level Up! The guide to great video game design (2nd Edition). West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons. 

Brathwaite, Brenda & Schreiber, Ian (2009). Challenges for game designers. Boston: Nelson Education. 

Koster, Raph (2013). Theory of fun for game design. Sevastopol: O'Reilly Media. 

Anthropy, Anna & Clark, Naomi (2014). A game design vocabulary: Exploring the foundational principles behind good game design. London: Pearson Education.

Selinker, Mike (2011). The Kobold guide to board game design. Kirkland: Kobold Press.

Engelstein, Geoffrey & Shalev, Isaac (2019). Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design: An Encyclopedia of Mechanisms. Abingdon: CRC Press.

Suter, Beat; Kocher, Mela & Bauer, René (Eds.)(2018). Games and Rules. Game mechanics for the "magic circle". Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

Woods, Stewart (2012). Eurogames: The design, culture and play of modern European board games. Jefferson: McFarland.