Saturday morning was our very own “Raising Geek Generation 2.0” panel, so I didn’t get around to playing games until afterward. At the panel, I was approached by a guy from ITT Technical Institute who said I really needed to stop by their booth to try Key Master’s Dungeon, a game designed by a group of students as part of a game design class. Andrew Harshman gave me a quick overview of the game, which involves a randomized modular board, locked doors, and a treasure room at the center. The game is still in development so I’m sure they’re still tweaking rules, but it was fun to try it out. It reminded me a little bit of Amazeing Labyrinth only without the shifting walls. You uncover bits of the path as you move, and moving onto each new tile requires you to open a lock, either by rolling a d6 or having the right key. While the game mechanics themselves were not totally original, it was great to see students actively designing and playtesting games, and I think a game design course is a very cool idea.
I chatted with Andrew a little bit about the course and gave him some feedback on the game. The biggest advice I can give a game designer, though, is this: play lots of games. That’s how you see what separates a great game from a mediocre game, learn about the many different mechanics for making a game work, and see what’s already been done.