General information

Subject type: Mandatory

Coordinator: Adso Fernández Baena

Trimester: Second term

Credits: 4

Teaching staff: 

Antonio José Planells De La Maza

Teaching languages

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


Specific skills
  • E1. 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.

  • E2. Design the mechanics, rules, structure and narrative of video games following the criteria of gameplay and balance to provide the best possible gaming experience.

General competencies
  • G1. Demonstrate having and understanding advanced knowledge of their area of ​​study that includes the theoretical, practical and methodological aspects, with a level of depth that reaches the forefront of knowledge.

  • G3. Gather and interpret relevant data (usually within their area of ​​study) to make judgments that include reflection on relevant social, scientific, or ethical issues.

  • G4. Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to a specialized and non-specialized audience.

Transversal competences
  • T1. Communicate in a third language, preferably English, with an appropriate level of oral and written communication and in accordance with the needs of graduates.


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.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students must be able to:

E1.6. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a video game in a reasoned and exemplary way.

E2.1. Design mechanics and rules of the game that as a whole are called gameplay.

Working methodology

The subject uses the following work methodologies: 

Master Class, Video Capsules, Presentations.


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

Learning activities

In order to gather evidence of the achievement of the expected learning outcomes, the following will be performed evaluative activities (Related to all common competencies):

A1. Exercises to do in class or at home: Analysis of mechanics and gameplay in analog games (Evidence of learning outcome E1.6)
Carrying out a complete analysis of a set of contemporary non-digital games in groups based on the theoretical contents of the subject.

A2. Group work: Design and implementation of an analog game prototype (Evidence of learning outcome E2.1)
Design and production of an analog board game prototype.

A3. Final exam (Evidence of all learning outcomes)

General criteria of the activities:
- The teacher will present a statement for each activity and the evaluation and / or rubric criteria.
- The teacher will inform of the dates and format of the delivery of the activity.

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. Group work: Design and implementation of an analog game prototype 40%
A3. Final exam 40%

Final grade = A1 0,2 + A2 0,4 + A3 0,4


  • It is necessary to obtain a mark higher than 5 in the final exam / equivalent test to pass the subject.
  • Each misspelling or writing error will be penalized with 0,10 points, up to a maximum of 4 points, in all activities and exams (ordinary and make-up)
  • An activity not delivered or delivered late and without justification (court summons or medical matter) counts as a 0.
  • It is the student's responsibility to avoid plagiarism in all its forms. In the case of detecting plagiarism, regardless of its scope, in some activity it will correspond to having a grade of 0. In addition, the teacher will communicate the situation to the Management so that applicable measures can be taken in terms of disciplinary regime.


  • It is necessary to obtain a mark higher than 5 in the final exam / equivalent test of recovery to pass the subject.
  • The mark of the resit exam will be equivalent to the final mark of the subject.
  • In case of passing the recovery, the maximum final mark of the subject will be 8.
  • Under no circumstances will the notes from previous courses be saved.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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