G-FMS Curriculum Development Journal – August 3, 2013

August 3, 2013

Chris Aiken joined the troop in the morning, arriving by train at Southeast where I picked him up. The two of us then went to Home Depot to get larger Rubbermaid containers in order to protect the equipment on the trip North to Chazy Lake (it had rained all morning). When we got back to the house, everyone was busy iterating designs, putting together videos, or researching for the chemical version of I’ve Got a Theory.

We packed up the equipment and all the various games and loaded the car and truck in order to head North to Ellenburg Depot & Chazy Lake. The trip took the better part of the day with a stop over in Saratoga for dinner. When we arrived everyone chipped in to once again set up our Hive’s production studio. With areas for playtesting and brainstorming (around the dinner table), crafting elements (around an old pool table at the far end of the room), a video production and print area, and of course a general sit and hang area.

Once set, the group picked up where they had left off in Carmel, with Amara continuing to develop the various cards used in I’ve Got a Theory, and Elijah finishing up design elements for Planetary Pioneers as Kidany started developing a concept for a new cell game for the bio class. Meanwhile, Chris and Rocio began reading through the latest versions of instruction sets and developing ideas for the chemistry version of I’ve Got a Theory.

The evening wrapped up with an intense brainstorming session between Rocio, Kidany, and I about his Cell game. He was hoping to develop a classic labyrinth/dungeon exploration game to help players become familiar with the various elements of a cell, but when we looked for metaphors that might relate the elements of a cell, things kept feeling forced. Certainly a nucleus holds the DNA, which could be considered a treasure map of sorts, but the explorative nature of the game with monsters lying in wait, did not come together. Ideas involving a maze board made up of chunking squares that could be rotated to constantly change the board was exciting to both Kidany and me. A system of dice to determine if a player was being attacked, spun around, or rewarded a sought after cell element began to feel cumbersome, so we regrouped.

This time around, Rocio began by asking that the design be a simple Gin-like card game where players collected the various elements by drawing, discarding, and trading to gather a perfect recipe. Within minutes, Kidany and I had dragged Rocio back to the maze concept. We brought her idea for the cards along, however, trading the set of dice for a single die to determine movement, and creating actions related to individual types of tiles a player might land on.
Tile actions would involve either:

    1. Board movement – where a square section of the board would be turned on its access altering possible choices for player direction.
    2. Draw a Cell element card from the draw pile and add it to one’s hand
    3. Steal a cell element from another player
    4. Be attacked by an as yet undisclosed predator.

By the end of this discussion, we looked around and realized everyone else had head off to bed, and we followed suite.

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