"Chance favors the prepared mind." -Louis Pasteur

In many ways, life is a game. We sharpen our skills, then deal with what life throws us. Sometimes it’s a curveball, other times it is what we were expecting. Studying game design over the last six weeks made me see this with fresh eyes, and be more intentional about how I play my own game of Life.
 It started with a quest to explore probability and try it out with a day of Casino games.

Do you dislike losing more than you like winning? Or do you like winning more than you dislike losing? Has this affected your decision-making a little, a lot, or not at all?
Is there such thing as luck? Does it exist? Do you consider yourself lucky?
What was your greatest lesson learned about gambling today?
After that, learners used their knowledge about probability to create games of luck, games of skill, and then games of luck and skill–laying on each incrementally and playtesting their games on each other.
Which is more important: that a game is fun, or that it is good for your brain? Why?
As a game designer, are you more likely to make a game that makes the players feel lucky or a game that makes the players work hard? 

What does equal chance look like in a game: that everyone starts the game with the same skill level, or that the game itself treats everyone as equal? 

“Fair isn’t always equal.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? 
Finally, they brought their own purpose into creating a game to playtest not only on each other but on each other’s family and friends. 
What is the purpose of a game? Can you change the world with a game or a toy? 
Should your game be more based on luck or on skill? How much of each will you incorporate? 
Will your game be more communal or more independent?

Do you think a game is more likely to be successful if the designer draws inspiration from his or her own interests, or if they focus on what is popular with others at the time of design? 

Should you design a game that you would love to play? Who do you think will make a better playtester for your game: you, a friend, an acquaintance, or one of your parents?  

Of course, in true Acton form, all of this was buttressed by Socratic questions and discussions, and the finished products were really and truly the full responsibility of the learners, not their parents.
If you had to choose whether to be completely logic-oriented, or completely intuition-oriented in your decision-making, which would you choose and why?

Is it better to take risks (even big, dangerous ones), or not to take any risks at all? 

Is there such a thing as too many rules in a game? What about in the studio? How do you feel about the rules that guide our community? Are there too many or too few?

At the end of the session exhibition of learning, parents enjoyed interacting with one another’s children, and learners loved the challenge of tapping into their empathy and explaining their games to friends and strangers who knew nothing about it. When it was time for the panel, where learners take questions from the audience, the preschool-Kinders asked some of the best questions. That, my friends, is a WIN!

Molly Franklin Lucia, M.Ed.
Head of School

More photos from Session 4: Game Design

Schedule a tour or just reach out with a note or a call if you are ready to explore your children being in on the Acton Academy Lakewood experience. We enroll a limited number of new children gradually throughout our Academic Year.