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Where to study?

7 replies [Last post]
Mattiewolf's picture
Joined: 08/30/2010

I would be very interested in studying board game design, but haven't really found any school that would teach that. They always include (or even worse in my case, focus on) computer and video game design, which to me is irrelevant. Does anyone know any school basically anywhere in the world that would teach game design with out the video prefix?

Thanks guys


metzgerism's picture
Joined: 06/19/2009
Doing something else...

This really isn't something you can, nor want to, go to college for. Board games are enough of an industry to keep many people employed, but the money out there for designers is fractured and dispersed immensely - to the point that there are probably less than 100 full-time designers in the whole world.

What would be better is to go to school looking for a business or mathematics degree, and focus on something else for your career. For many of us (myself not included because I am, shall we say, "employment handicapped..."), designing games is a hobby, not a job. You are probably at the point in your life that you can intend to do one thing, but keep the dream going on the side.

Good luck!

dannorder's picture
Joined: 10/20/2008
Design your own major, maybe?

metzgerism wrote:
This really isn't something you can, nor want to, go to college for.

I agree with this statement. A degree in something like mathematics or business will put you in a much better position for the kind of financial success that will allow you to fund a hobby that could, with a lot work, eventually turn into a career.

That being said, if you are really dead set on graduating college with a degree in game design, it is something that is at least theoretically possible. Some colleges allow you to design your own major. For a famous example, Will Shortz got what was probably the first and only degree in enigmatology, the study of puzzles. Shortz is doing pretty well for himself. Google his name if it's not familiar to you.

And, let's face it, a significant portion of college graduates don't get jobs in fields devoted exclusively to their major. A degree in game design would mean you graduated, which is all a lot of employers want in the first place.

Of course the deal here is that if you did this you'd really have to have the drive to do it the full way. No college is going to let you just study games for years at a time. You'll have to research the history of games in general as a self-study. You'll need to pick up some mathematics (statistics especially) and business (for economic theory and maybe to make some money on the games later) to have any serious chance at making the study work (at which point you might just want to get the degree in one of those anyway). You'll have to take the standard liberal arts courses too of course, which would no doubt help you come up with game ideas and designs later.

If you are at all serious about it you should read up on how Shortz got his degree and see if you have the same level of passion. Otherwise there's the safe and practical route.

Mattiewolf's picture
Joined: 08/30/2010
Thanks for the consern, guys!

Thanks for the consern, guys! That's pretty much what I'm looking for: I'm trying find a school where they'd have courses on foresaid subject in addition to a general degree. Not looking to major in it or graduate with a "degree on game design" but am actually keen to study it, even for my own amusement.

simons's picture
Joined: 12/28/2008
Why take it for credit?

If it's something you really want to do, there was a thread on here, maybe a month ago, along this sort of thing.

Although, one random thought to throw out there: what would be the benefit to taking a class in this, rather than studying it on your own? If you're worried about access to other gamers, I'd say just make sure you go to a school with a board gaming club (which I think many schools have, either formally or informally), and I'm sure you'll do fine. If you're worried about advice, a lot can be gained from reading internet forums, or just from experience. If you're worried about it not looking legitimate, I don't think anyone will care if you put 100 hours into learning to design board games for fun, or if you did it for 3 units of college credit.


SiddGames's picture
Joined: 08/02/2008

If you have any artistic interests, the Savannah College of Art and Design may be a good fit for you, in particular because at least two professors there are involved in game design. Though digitally focused, both are well aware of boardgame design. Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber are coauthors of the book "Challenges in Game Design;" Ian is the guy who ran the free online game design seminar last year, Game Design Concepts (and I believe there is a followup "course" right now on game development); and Brenda is the author of the "Mechanic is the Message" series of "non-digital games" including that game about the Holocaust, "Train."

red hare
red hare's picture
Joined: 11/09/2009
narrow your search

I agree with what everyone has said about picking a major in business, English, mathematics, or art for many good reasons. But if you are looking to design your own major, I'd suggest looking at small private liberal arts colleges. They offer the most flexibility and personal attention compared to clumsy state universities that often don't want to deal with self-designed majors. Plus, small schools tend to let their students bend the rules about taking classes from different departments and skipping prerequisites.

BTW I heard of a guy who studied coffee, got a BA in it, and is rather loving his managment job at Starbucks.

Oh and think about a school in a city or where it is easy to get to game conventions so that you can network and be a part of what's happening.

Best of luck!!!!

Joined: 05/11/2009

IF your in UK there is a game design degree you can do. Google it
But unfortunately for me you have to have A level maths and English to start with :((

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