Pathfinders

Overview

  • Time: 8 weeks
  • Team: 3 people
  • Role: game design, learner experience design, visual design
  • Methods used: cognitive task analysis, paper prototyping, playtesting
  • Tools used: Adobe Illustrator

Our goal for this project was to design a board game to teach navigation skills to people who have grown up with GPS. We used cognitive task analysis with high school students to figure out what was difficult about navigating. As a result, we decided to target our game towards communicating about landmarks and planning routes using cardinal direction, relative position, and route distance.

Through 8 rounds of iterative prototyping and playtesting, we developed a collaborative two-player game in which players are stranded on an alien planet and must help each other navigate to fuel spots and eventually to their spaceship to return home. We used the EDGE framework to help us integrate learning and the game mechanics. We applied learning science principles, for example, the levels of increasing difficulty provides scaffolding that fades as the player proceeds. You can read the final game rules here.

Trying to create a game that would enable learning but also be enjoyable was definitely challenging, but a fun and interesting project. It was also fun to get a chance to practice some visual design, since that usually isn’t my role on a team.

 

Final version: increasing levels of difficulty (shown with traffic light colors) but boards don’t connect