Game Design Merit Badge
Please arrive with ample time prior to the start time of your class for registration.  Remember there will be others checking in as well and depending on the size of the class, and the event the class is being held in conjunction with, that registration may take a little time.

You should bring a blue card filled out properly for this class. - Scoutmaster Bucky Online participants - you will not be allowed to participate if you have not provided your signed blue card prior to the class - you should have forwarded your blue card to Scoutmaster Bucky prior to the class via email or postal mail:
Scoutmaster Bucky - 5724 Aldrich Avenue South  Minneapolis, Minnesota  55419.

If you are not familiar with how to fill out a blue card, you should familiarize yourself with Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card" document. Click here for Scoutmaster Bucky's "How To Fill Out A Blue Card".  Remember it is a Scout's responsibility to take care of their own blue card from beginning to end.
Your Scout Uniform is required to be worn for attending this Merit Badge session.   If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Brian Reiners; Scoutmaster Bucky via email or on the phone at 612-483-0665.

Reviewing the merit badge pamphlet PRIOR to attending and doing preparation work will insure that Scouts get the most out of these class opportunities. The merit badge pamphlet is a wealth of information that can make earning a merit badge a lot easier. It contains many of the answers and solutions needed or can at least provide direction as to where one can find the answers.

It is NOT acceptable to come unprepared to a Scoutmaster Bucky event. You can (and should) use the Scoutmaster Bucky Game Design Merit Badge Workbook to help get a head start and organize your preparation work. Please note that the use of any workbook is merely for note taking and reference and completion of any Merit Badge workbook does not warrant, guarantee, or confirm a Scouts completion of any merit badge requirement(s). You can download the Scoutmaster Bucky Game Design Merit Badge Workbook by clicking here .   If this link is not working please check the internet for other merit badge workbook options.

It should be noted that this merit badge class is not meant for those who just want to come and see what they can get done. It is possible to complete this merit badge by being properly prepared and having done the preparation work prior to the class. Preparation is a MUST 
Game Design Merit Badge Current Requirements
Scoutmaster Bucky's - Game Design Merit Badge Workbook
Game Design Merit Badge and Merit Badge History Page

Game Design Merit Badge Things to remember to bring for this Merit Badge Class:

1. Merit Badge Blue Card properly filled out and signed off by your Scoutmaster

2. Game Design Merit Badge Pamphlet

3. Scout Uniform

4. Supporting documentation or project work pertinent to this merit badge which may also include a Merit Badge Workbook for reference with notes

5. A positive Scouting focus and attitude


1. Do the following:

a. Analyze four games you have played, each from a different medium. Identify the medium, player format, objectives, rules, resources, and theme (if relevant). Discuss with your counselor the play experience, what you enjoy in each game, and what you dislike. Make a chart to compare and contrast the games.

b. Describe four types of play value and provide an example of a game built around each concept. Discuss with your counselor other reasons people play games.

Scout should come prepared to the class ready to share their analysis of the games they have played.  When preparing for this requirement, Scouts may find it helpful to have notes organized and ready for sharing during the class as it may be difficult to record this information during the class and thus fall behind the discussion trying to keep up with taking notes.


2. Discuss with your counselor five of the following 17 game design terms. For each term that you pick, describe how it relates to a specific game.

a. Thematic game elements: story, setting, characters.

b. Gameplay elements: play sequence, level design, interface design.

c. Game analysis: difficulty, balance, depth, pace, replay value, age appropriateness.

d. Related terms: single-player vs. multiplayer, cooperative vs. competitive, turn-based vs. real-time, strategy vs. reflex vs. chance, abstract vs. thematic.

The answers for this requirement can be easily found in the merit badge pamphlet and Scouts should be prepared for discussion on each of the components of this requirement in the class.  Some Scouts may find it helpful to utilize a Merit Badge Workbook to organize their notes and findings for easier reference during the class and to better ensure completion of this requirement in the class.


3. Define the term intellectual property. Describe the types of intellectual property associated with the game design industry. Describe how intellectual property is protected and why protection is necessary. Define and give an example of a licensed property.

Scouts should review this requirement and its terms and be prepared to explain.  It is strongly recommended that Scouts bring any notes or supporting documents they may have to help show the counselor that they have prepared for explanation of these items. The intellectual property term, types, and process will be discussed in the class.


4. Do the following:

a. Pick a game where the players can change the rules or objectives (examples: basketball, hearts, chess, kickball). Briefly summarize the standard rules and objectives and play through the game normally.

b. Propose changes to several rules or objectives. Predict how each change will affect gameplay.

c. Play the game with one rule or objective change, observing how the players actions and emotional experiences are affected by the rule change. Repeat this process with two other changes.

d. Explain to your counselor how the changes affected the actions and experience of the players. Discuss the accuracy of your predictions.

See Notes after Requirement 7.


5. Design a new game. Any game medium or combination of mediums is acceptable. Record your work in a game design notebook.

a. Write a vision statement for your game. Identify the medium, player format, objectives, and theme of the game. If suitable, describe the setting, story, and characters.

b. Describe the play value.

c. Make a preliminary list of the rules of the game. Define the resources.

d. Draw the game elements.

See Notes after Requirement 7.

YOu must have your merit badge counselor's approval of your concept before you begin creating the prototype

6. Do the following:

a. Prototype your game from requirement 5. If applicable, demonstrate to your counselor that you have addressed player safety through the rules and equipment. Record your work in your game design notebook.

You must have your merit badge counselor's approval of your concept before you begin creating the prototype.

b. Test your prototype with as many other people as you need to meet the player format. Compare the play experience to your descriptions from requirement 5b. Correct unclear rules, holes in the rules, dead ends, and obvious rule exploits. Change at least one rule, mechanic, or objective from your first version of the game, and describe why you are making the change. Play the game again. Record in your game design notebook whether or not your change had the expected effect.

c. Repeat 6b at least two more times and record the results in your game design notebook.

See Notes after Requirement 7.


7. Blind test your game. Do the following:

a. Write an instruction sheet that includes all of the information needed to play the game. Clearly describe how to set up the game, play the game, and end the game. List the game objectives.

b. Share your prototype from requirement 6 with a group of players that has not played it or witnessed a previous playtest. Provide them with your instruction sheet(s) and any physical components. Watch them play the game, but do not provide them with instruction. Record their feedback in your game design notebook.

c. Share your game design notebook with your counselor. Discuss the player reactions to your project and what you learned about the game design process. Based on your testing, determine what you like most about your game and suggest one or more changes.

Requirements 4, 5, 6 and 7 will be covered and managed by the counselor in the class. Scouts still need to have read the merit badge pamphlet prior to the class in order to complete these requirements.  These 4 requirements will be worked on for the majority of the class.  Scouts are expected to be attentive and courteous during this class in order to potentially finish all the components in these requirements.  While the intention and plan is to offer Scouts the ability to finish all of these requirement in the class, performance and behavior may affect individual, small group of, or the entire class of Scouts in fulfilling all of these requirements.


8. Do ONE of the following:

a. With your parent's permission and your counselor's approval, visit with a professional in the game development industry and ask him or her about his or her job and how it fits into the overall development process. Alternately, meet with a professional in game development education and discuss the skills he or she emphasizes in the classroom.

b. List three career opportunities in game development. Pick one and find out about the education, training, and experience required for the profession. Discuss this with your counselor. Explain why this profession might interest you.

Scouts should review this requirement and its components and be prepared to discuss.  It is strongly recommended that Scouts bring any notes or supporting documents they may have to help show the counselor that they have prepared for completion of this requirement.

this page last reviewed / updated: November 2018