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Serious Tabletop Game Design and Development

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Please Note: Due to the continuing Covid-19 situation, there will be a greater focus next year on applying online solutions to the playing and study of serious games.


You are creative. You are playful. You are intellectual. You want to make an impact on learning. You want to make a difference in your classroom. You want to make a serious game.

This module is your opportunity to master serious play. Learn about the mechanics, messages, and motivations of serious games in order to build your own educational tabletop game influenced by your Warwick degree. Through a range of learning activities, from online vlogs to seminar games, you will develop an understanding of serious games and an appreciation for the creating and testing of game play whilst critically exploring the relationship between games and student learning and motivation.

Be inspired by your Warwick degree. Turn your knowledge into play. Design and develop a serious tabletop game.


The module follows a flipped classroom approach. Students will be tasked with engaging in online activities and independent learning, which will inform the weekly seminars. Seminars will incorporate group activities, gaming, and guest speakers. There will also be a Game Night as a voluntary event to engage with the course and classmates outside of seminars. All students will be expected to engage in a one-to-one with the module tutor to discuss their individual game idea.

Weekly topics include (subject to change):

  1. Go: Welcome to serious table-top games
    Understand the process of game design; Identify different elements of a game; Recognise different types of games
  2. Why so serious?
    Understand what serious games are; Identify different types of serious games; Examine different serious games; Understand 'the game is not the experience, the game enables the experience'
  3. Design Thinking
    Recognise the components of design thinking; Apply design thinking to generate a serious game idea; Appreciate intellectual property, plagiarism, and copyright in the design of games
  4. The Elements of a Game Review
    Recognise the elements of a game review; Deconstruct the playability, technical and aesthetic qualities of a game; Create a game review
  5. Once upon a time: Game narration and storytelling
    Identify the different stories and plot devices; Recognise the link between narration and motivation; Apply narration to own serious game
  6. Player Psychology and Accessibility
    Understand the different player's motivations and competencies; Reflect on own player identity; Appreciate the value of and ways for designing inclusive games
  7. Game mechanics and Theory
    Identify the types of game mechanics; Understand the uses of different game mechanics; Apply game mechanics to own serious game
  8. Technology and Serious Games
    Evaluate the connection between game mechanics and motivation; Investigate the ways in which Game Theory can be applied to Serious Games; Translate game mechanics into rules
  9. Prototyping and Playtesting
    Explore the meaning of Visual Communication; Evaluate the usefulness of different types of prototyping and game testing; Understanding the production costs in creating a game
  10. Marketing, Launching and Selling Your Game
    Appreciate alternative formats of serious games; Recognise the different approaches to selling and marketing your game; Investigate future careers related to the module; Playtest your game


Your task is to design a serious game based on a class or subject material related to your Warwick degree. Each week you will build on this game by incorporating what you have learnt online and in seminars. In addition, you will have the opportunity to write a review on a serious game. Participation in online activities ahead of seminars will also be assessed.

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Goblins​ ​- A Serious Example!

You've set out to find the lost caves of Azkabulli on the north side of the island. Not long after leaving your settlement, a group of grumpy looking goblins try to block your path. Do you....

  1. Attack the Goblins before they attack you
  2. Evade the Goblins by exploring a nearby cave ; the mission can wait
  3. Evade the Goblins and continue on your mission - the goal is everything...
  4. Try to befriend the Goblins, they may come in useful

Module Convenors

Chris profile card

Chris Evans

C dot L dot Evans at warwick dot ac dot uk

Any questions about the module? You are welcome to email me!

CDevon profile card

Dr. Devon Allcoat


Class Time 2022-23

Term 2 (Spring)

Thursday 2-4pm


R0.14 (Ramphal)



Serious Tabletop Game including 1,500 word essay, rule book and Sell Sheet (70%)​

Game Review, 1000 words (30%)

Games Expo 2022

Games Expo