Certificate in Applied Game Design

Central Michigan University's Center for Learning through Games and Simulations (CLGS) and Gen Con are partnering to bring you courses in applied tabletop game design – game design for your workspace and your playspace. Industry experts team with academic experts to create online synchronous courses where most of the time is spent engaged in active learning, interaction, and collaboration with your instructors and classmates. Courses use the Gather.town platform for meeting and playing. Our course offerings will vary based on the availability of our experts, and we’ll be constantly adding new classes. If you see something you want to take, don’t hesitate – it may be a once in a lifetime chance.

Take a single course for your own enrichment, professional development, or continuing education*, or take 3 courses and earn a Certificate in Applied Game Design from Central Michigan University and Gen Con. These courses will also count toward Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU or CEC) for K-12 teachers. We are currently working with the various state institutions to make using these courses for units/credits seamless, but reach out to us if you are wondering about where we are at with the process for your state. Knowing that we have people interested from a specific state will help us prioritize which states we work through the process with first.

Upcoming courses

Closeup image of Dr. Christienne L. Hinz wearing a grey suit jacket and brown shirt.

Classroom Game Design: Yes, You Can!

Are you a committed tabletop/role-playing gamer AND a K – 16 educator, corporate trainer, or instructional designer who is curious about the similarities and differences between hobby game design and educational game design?

Are you a K – 16 educator, corporate trainer, or instructional designer who uses or wishes to use game-based learning in your classroom, but can’t find or adapt a hobby game that fits your subject matter, classroom constraints, or desired learning outcomes? 

Are you a hobby game designer interested in learning how to design games for classroom applications, but don’t know where to begin?

Classroom Game Design? Yes, You Can! will take you on a six-week deep dive into the differences between hobby game design and classroom game design.  Participants will develop game concepts specific to their areas of expertise. We will examine ways of designing not just effectively but efficiently, using design jams to turn mere “ideas” into actual mechanics. By the end of the course, you will have designed the chassis for an educational game customized to your classroom needs.

  • Course launches Monday, March 4, 2024.
  • Course ends Wednesday, April 10, 2024.
  • The course runs on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
  • This is a non-credit bearing course and certificate.

Industry Expert: Dr. Christienne L. Hinz, Professor Emerita and Game Designer (Gaming World History)
Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press
Cost:
$460

Crowdfunding with Confidence: Designing a Game with Crowdfunding in Mind

Just about every tabletop game success story over the past 10 years started with a solid crowdfunding campaign. But it's not as easy as you may think. Let's learn why crowdfunding and tabletop gaming are such a great match. And better yet, let's learn how to design your next game with crowdfunding in mind. It all starts with the seed of an idea, finding ways to nurture and validate that idea, and ultimately get your game made and on people's table. By the end of this course, you'll have the knowledge to crowdfund your next game with confidence.

  • Course is scheduled for May-June 2024 (dates and times TBD).
  • This is a non-credit bearing course and certificate.

Industry Expert: Jason Furie, Creator Community Lead, BackerKit, and Game Designer (Rental Rumble, Realm Runners, Shape Shape)
Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press
Cost: $460

Eloy Lasanta, owner of Third-Eye Games

Intermediate Role-Playing Game Design: From Alpha to Beta to Published Work - January 2023

Do you already know the fundamentals of role-playing game (RPG) design and want to dive deeper? Is your RPG nearly there, but missing something? Already taken “The Art of Game Crafting: For Your Classroom, Board Room, or Game Night”? Then this six-week synchronous online course will give you what you need to broaden your game and bring it to the masses. Using a combination of discussions with our Industry Expert, Eloy Lasanta, and hands-on activities, you will break down every aspect of your game and piece it back together bigger and better than before! We hope you’ll join us and get your game over the finish line!

  • Course is scheduled for June-July 2024 (dates and times TBD).
  • This is a non-credit bearing course and certificate.

Industry Expert: Eloy Lasanta, Owner of Third-Eye Games
Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press
Cost: $460

Registration

NOTE: Our registration software performs at its best with Chrome as your web browser.

The courses are professional development/non-credit courses which are non-transferable for CMU credit. For information to earn credit for professional development experiences for a CMU degree, visit the Credit for Prior Learning website.

Register for applied game design courses

The Art of Gamecrafting is an exciting, inspiring, and timely course for the budding game designer.

Current and previous courses

During this six-week synchronous online course, you will study how games convey information—intentionally or unintentionally—and then learn to harness these powers for yourself. You will gain experience breaking down games about history, science, and more so you can see what and how they teach. By the end of the course, you'll develop an idea for a game that can teach something you think others ought to learn!

Industry Expert: Liz Davidson, Educator and Host, Beyond Solitaire podcast

Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press

Course Ran: January 22 - February 29, 2024

During this six-week synchronous online course, you will learn how to design a role-playing game tailored to your situation – at work or at home. You will gain hands-on experience in world-building and connecting good game mechanics with what you want your players to take away from your game. In other words, you’ll learn to leverage the power of role-playing games outside game night (and maybe during game night)!

Industry Expert: Eloy Lasanta, Owner of Third-Eye Games.

Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press.

Course Ran: October 9 - November 15, 2023

Syllabus for Art of Gamecrafting (PDF)

Core Loop is a six-and-a-half-week synchronous online course focused on the refining of tabletop board game designs. We’ll cover a working definition of “fun” in the context of games and how to determine where your players experience the most fun. You'll then take a game idea, develop a series of mechanics, refine the idea into a full working prototype, and at each step, we’ll identify what, where, and why your game is fun and bring that front and center.

Industry Expert: Damon Stone, game designer (Android: Netrunner; A Game of Thrones: LCG; Call of Cthulhu: LCG).

Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press (A Visitor’s Guide to the Rainy City, Beasts of the Outer Swells)

Course ran: August 28 - October 9, 2023

Syllabus for Core Loop (PDF)

During this six-week synchronous online course, you will study how games convey information—intentionally or unintentionally—and then learn to harness these powers for yourself. You will gain experience breaking down games about history, science, and more so you can see what and how they teach. By the end of the course, you'll develop an idea for a game that can teach something you think others ought to learn!

Industry Expert: Liz Davidson, Educator and Host, Beyond Solitaire podcast

Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press

Course ran: March 6 - April 17, 2023

Using Games to Teach (PDF)

Do you already know the fundamentals of role-playing game (RPG) design and want to dive deeper? Is your RPG nearly there, but missing something? Already taken “The Art of Game Crafting: For Your Classroom, Board Room, or Game Night”? Then this six-week synchronous online course will give you what you need to broaden your game and bring it to the masses. Using a combination of discussions with our Industry Expert, Eloy Lasanta, and hands-on activities, you will break down every aspect of your game and piece it back together bigger and better than before! We hope you’ll join us and get your game over the finish line!

Industry Expert: Eloy Lasanta, Owner of Third-Eye Games.

Academic Expert: AndrewD. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press.

Course ran:January 17 - February 23, 2023.

Intermediate RPG Design Syllabus (PDF)

During this six-week synchronous online course, you will learn how to design a role-playing game tailored to your situation – at work or at home. You will gain hands-on experience in world-building and connecting good game mechanics with what you want your players to take away from your game. In other words, you’ll learn to leverage the power of role-playing games outside game night (and maybe during game night, too)! We hope you’ll join us and Eloy Lasanta, owner of Third-Eye Games, for our first course!

Industry Expert: Eloy Lasanta, Owner of Third-Eye Games.

Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press.

Course ran: October 10 - November 16, 2022

Art of Gamecrafting Syllabus (PDF)

Lightbulb to Meeples is a six-and-a-half-week synchronous online course focused on the overall progression of designing a tabletop board game from that first idea to a fully playable prototype. You'll be generating ideas, working the design process, and finishing with a prototype of your game that will be ready for external testing while having developed a process that you will be able to apply to any future game.

Industry Expert:Damon Stone, game designer (Android: Netrunner; A Game of Thrones: LCG; Call of Cthulhu: LCG).

Academic Expert:Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of SuperheroNecromancer Press.

Course ran:August 22 - October 3, 2022.

Lightbulb to Meeples Syllabus (PDF)

During this six-week synchronous online course, you will learn how to design a role-playing game tailored to your situation – at work or at home. You will gain hands-on experience in world-building and connecting good game mechanics with what you want your players to take away from your game. In other words, you’ll learn to leverage the power of role-playing games outside game night (and maybe during game night, too)! We hope you’ll join us and Eloy Lasanta, owner of Third-Eye Games, for our first course!

Industry Expert: Eloy Lasanta, Owner of Third-Eye Games.

Academic Expert: Andrew D. Devenney, Associate Director of CLGS, Co-owner and Publisher of Superhero Necromancer Press.

Course ran: May 24 - June 30, 2022.

Art of Gamecrafting Syllabus (PDF)

The Art of Gamecrafting . . . allowed me to explore the how and why games work in a project-based learning environment. The peer-to-peer interaction and instructor feedback was invaluable.