Games for Social Good

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Fall 2017 quarter

Taught by

mathematics, history of science
academic and creative nonfiction writing, community studies, analog game design

Social impact gaming is rapidly becoming a force around the globe for learning, compassion, and collaboration. Designers, human service workers, and change activists use games to model and explore person-to-person interactions, and human relationships to social and physical environments.

This program will introduce participants to the design and uses of games in social change efforts. Our focus will be on analog games (card and board games) because these provide the best opportunities to understand an effective game’s inner workings. Program members will learn and apply basic game design theory while playing, analyzing, and assessing a variety of analog games. We’ll also create several simple games, and complete a more complex project that involves both modifying an existing game and writing game documentation.

Our work will include careful examination of the interplay between chance, skill, and strategy in game play and design, including the development and use of basic probabilistic techniques to understand and evaluate game play. We will consider games as opportunities for rich experience, reframing competition and winning as energizing components of games rather than the objective of play.

Credit will be awarded in quantitative reasoning, analog game design, and technical writing. The only program prerequisite is an interest in the workings and uses of analog games as media for social change.

Program Details

Fields of Study

community studies education mathematics writing


Fall Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Mon/Wed 6-10pm

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning