Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will introduce its newest merit badge, Game Design, at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, Texas — a three-day event that provides gamers and game designers alike an opportunity to interact and learn from one another. BSA notes that games are an important element in every culture around the globe. Simple games give structure to children’s playtime and help enforce basic social skills like courtesy, sharing, and taking turns, and more intricate games can help children hone their logic, strategy, and even mathematics skills.
Scouts will now be able to put their creativity to the test when they work toward achieving the Game Design merit badge. To earn this badge, a Scout is required to analyze different types of games; describe play value, content, and theme; and understand the significance of intellectual property as it relates to the game industry.
Over a two-year period, volunteers from the game industry and game enthusiasts across the country created and tested the merit badge requirements and accompanying pamphlet text to ensure the merit badge pamphlet held the young person’s interest, was challenging and fun, and required minimal out-of-pocket expense to complete. The Scout puts his newfound knowledge to use by designing a game and creating a design notebook for this project. In his notebook, the Scout must demonstrate an initial concept, multiple design iterations based on initial testing, and feedback from blind testing. Once his concept is approved, the Scout can begin to build a prototype of his game. Testing of a Scout’s game can be done at Scouting functions such as camp outings. For his game design, he can choose from a wide range of media, from cards to boards, dice, and even designing a smartphone application.