Did You Know That There Is a Game Design Boy Scout Merit Badge?


Recently, my friends Mike and Dustin, the Scoutmasters for a local Boy Scouts troop, invited me to discuss some board games I had designed. I learned, upon arriving, that this talk was to satisfy one of the requirements of a Game Design merit badge for the Scouts! I did even not know such a merit badge existed!


It turns out there is an 8-step list of requirements you need to meet.  The full list and discussion is here but here’s a quick rundown of the requirements for a Game Design merit badge:

  1. Analyze previous art
  2. Discuss possible directions with a counselor
  3. Discover what Intellectual Property is
  4. Take an existing game and vary some of its rules as an exercise
  5. Design a New Game
  6. Create a Prototype and Test your New Game
  7. Blind test your New Game
  8. Meet with a professional to discuss game design


So, my meeting with the group satisfies item 8 from the list. Strictly speaking, I am a professional, as I made money from my board game designs of Co-op: The co-op game and Sidekick Saga. Even though I didn’t make a lot of money, strictly speaking, I do qualify as a professional!


Over about 20 minutes, I brought out various prototypes of my games (from 3×5 index cards to in-between prototypes to full professional printing), talked about the importance of keeping a journal, discussed the importance of testing, and implored the group to be receptive to feedback. Even as an adult, it’s hard to hear criticism of something you have put a lot of time and effort into: I wanted younger kids to be aware that feedback/criticism can be essential to learning and improving!


We also discussed the differences between Game Design and Game Publishing: Designing a game is very different than trying to Kickstart and sell your games!


In the end, I ended up hanging out for a little bit and talking about game design and watching the kids and their games in various states.


Thanks to Mike and Dustin and the troop 2020! It was great talking to you guys!


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