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Learning Game Design: for a job or a hobby

The process of specifying and modifying the way the game plays: not programming, art, marketing, licensing, sound, etc.

This course is designed for people who want to design games - video or tabletop - but lack information about what is really involved and how to go about it. It's not rocket science, but commercial design is a JOB - one that cannot be done by rote, there is no "Easy Button". I'm not here to encourage you, or entice you to read, I'm here to inform you. I assume you have the motivation to learn how to design games, you just need to know how. And that means you need to do it from start to finish, to complete games rather than merely start them.

We'll discuss the process of game design, the possible structures in games, the best way to start learning game design, what makes a game good (there's a great variety of opinion about this), ways to provide a framework for your design efforts, ways to keep records of your work, software to help you learn. Many aspiring game designers have crippling misconceptions (such as the notion that it's all about a great idea, or that everyone who counts likes the same games they do), and I'll try to clear those out of your way.

This is not a comprehensive class about game design as a whole, it is a class about learning game design. That's a process that goes on throughout a game designer's career, but it starts here.

Course goal and objectives:

  • Learn the fundamentals of game design - any kind of game
  • Learn to avoid false assumptions that many beginning designers believe
  • Learn a process and structure for designing games
  • Learn what makes a game "good"
  • Learn the vital importance of repeated playtesting and modification, the "heart" of game design
  • Create and COMPLETE a game. This is likely to take a long time, likely much longer than it takes to go through the course lectures
  • And much more . . .

Intended audience: Anyone who wants help in designing games, professionally or as a hobby

Course Requirements:

  • A familiarity with many kinds of games
  • No programming or other technical skills necessary
  • An open mind. If you think you know it all, you probably won't like what I have to say

There are no discounts for this class, or any others on this site. I am actually more likely to raise prices than to offer discounts, because discounts can be disrespectful to people who pay the full price. These classes are already much lower priced than the same classes on Udemy, where this one has run for more than 100 people.

Review at Jeffro's Space Gaming blog:

Review at Alan Paull's blog:

This course has run on for more than 80 people, but it is considerably more expensive there than it is here.

Review at Jeffro's Space Gaming blog:

Review at Alan Paull's blog:

Udemy reviews:

Jimmy Voskuil? ( ,? 9 days ago

Great course! Good for the starter like myself :)

Currently I follow this course (at 75% so far) and its a great course for beginner game designers like myself. The course is not a 1 click button and after your a game designer no (please send message if you found that course btw) but it gives a good frame work, hand outs, ideas and background about both video games and tabletop games.

So if you wanted to start with game design this is a great first step.

The teacher is clear and good to follow ( I am a student from The Netherlands and got no problem following this course). Also the course got some assignment I strongly recommend doing them I finaly found out why I Hate Monopoly :)

Cheers all hope this was usefull,



Mark Frazier


Designs In Creative Entertainment, LLC.

An ideal introduction to game design

Dr. Pulsipher distills the critical elements of designing games into manageable chunks. This is an ideal course to take if you are interested in designing games, regardless of whether you intend to pursue it as a career or not.

Much of the material covers the specifics of the process of game design, but there is alot of prime advice to be had in the lectures on creating the right conditions for quality feedback and on understanding the realities of the publishing business.

A must-have certification if you're serious about designing, and I'd say, even publishing games!


Jeffro Johnson? ( ,? 3 months ago

Pull Back the Curtain on the Game Design Process

I know that in the past there's only been a couple of times that I managed to blunder into some sort of prototype, but I had no clue as to what I was doing that was different than usual. Well... the material in this course nails down precisely what to do to get over that initial hump. It can save you from countless false starts and dumb ideas. And unlike other commentary on the design process, Dr. Pulsipher provides a whole menu of things that you can do in each phase of development.

This material reveals more of the dials and knobs of gaming than I even knew existed. And being aware of these things was enough to shift me from having an occasional promising idea to having more ideas than I know what to do with. Even just playing new games now, I cannot help but see "behind the curtain" and into the dilemmas the designers were facing. If you care about game design and actually do the work that this course entails, you are in for a profoundly illuminating experience.

There are no discounts for this class, or any others on this site. I am actually more likely to raise prices than to offer discounts, because discounts can be disrespectful to people who pay the full price. These classes are already much lower-priced than the same classes on Udemy.

Your Instructor

Dr. Lewis Pulsipher
Dr. Lewis Pulsipher

Dr. Lewis Pulsipher (Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental" ) is the designer of half a dozen commercially published boardgames. His game "Britannia" is described in an Armchair General review "as one of the great titles in the world of games." Britannia was also one of the 100 games highlighted in the book "Hobby Games: the 100 Best". He has over 17,000 classroom hours of teaching experience including teaching video game design and production, and over 20 years of part-time graduate teaching experience.

His book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish" (McFarland) focuses on practical advice for beginning game designers, about how you actually create and complete game designs. Three more books about game design are in progress. He also contributed to the books "Tabletop: Analog Game Design," "Hobby Games: the 100 Best," "Family Games: the 100 Best." His game design blog has been active since 2004, and he is a contributor and "expert blogger" on, the #1 site for professional video game developers.

His latest published game is the 2011 reissue with additions of "Dragon Rage," originally published in 1982. Three new versions of Britannia, including a 90-120 minute version and a diceless version, are forthcoming

Lew has a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history from Duke University, from ancient days when degrees in media, computer networking, or game design did not exist--nor did IBM PCs. In 2012 he was a speaker at the East Coast Game Conference, PrezCon, Origins Game Fair, and World Boardgaming Championships. Long ago he was contributing editor for White Dwarf and Dragon magazines, and publisher of various game fanzines.

Game design blog: and
Teach game design blog:
"Expert blogger", Gamasutra:
former contributing editor, White Dwarf, Dragon, Space Gamer, etc.
former publisher, Supernova, Blood and Iron, Sweep of History, etc.

"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest." --Mark Twain

Course Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the class start and finish?
The class starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online class - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the class?
How does lifetime access sound? After purchase, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the class?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!