Ask a Game Design Expert

In requirement 4a, can you give me an example of how to change the rules of a game?


Sure – let’s take chess as an example. One of the standard ways to change the rules is to limit the amount of time a player may take for their moves – this is commonly known as ‘speed chess.’ If a player runs of time, they lose, no matter what their position is on the board or which player still has the most pieces. Another variation, standard in Shogi, is that instead of moving a piece, you can put a captured piece back on the board as your own (if you did this with standard chess pieces, you would have to somehow mark the piece to show that it was operating as a different color). Finally, you could change the movement of different patterns – like adding the ability to go one square side to side and front to back to the bishop or one square diagonally to the rook.

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  • David Radue is an Eagle Scout and co-leader of the Game Design merit badge development team. He is also the co-founder of the Salem Boardgames Group in Salem, MA, and has had a lifelong passion for games of all kinds. David is a mechanical engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory where he has worked on projects ranging from missile defense radars to laser communication systems.

    David Mullich has been a Scouter for eight years and is the father of an Eagle Scout. He designed and programmed his first professional videogames for the Apple II computer while still in college and went on to become a game producer at such companies as Activision, 3DO, Spin Master and The Walt Disney Company. David has spoken about game development at the annual Game Developers Conference, volunteered as a game industry mentor at the USC GamePipe Laboratory, and serves on the Los Angeles Film School’s Game Production Department Advisory Committee.

    Tom Miller is an Eagle Scout and has been a Scouter for many years. He remembers playing games of Yahtzee at family gatherings when he was in Cub Scouts, but his real passion for gaming began in high school, when he joined a club that played games from Avalon Hill such as Afrika Korps and Midway. Now as a father with three teenage sons (all Scouts), Tom continues to enjoy playing games with his family, be it board games like Settlers of Catan or electronic games like World of Warcraft.