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Tips for Selecting Games

Key Words for Good Games

Based on experiences in teaching games (Dr. Chang teaches chess +++ class Saturdays at Northern Westchester Chinese School in Somers), Dr. Chang has surveyed among students and parents and concluded a set of key words for measuring the "goodness" of a game. The key words are listed below:

  1. Entertaining (fun, cool, not boring, not tiring, people interaction)
  2. Learning (learning more, learning from other players, observing player behavior, knowledge, from game to another game, learning and teaching)
  3. Simple (simple to learn, easy to play)
  4. Thinking (concentrate, focus, alert, strategy, math, language)
  5. Strategy (logic, planning, thinking)
  6. Math (Probability, estimating odds, calculating scores, learning, challenging)
  7. Language (word formation, spelling, intellectual, learning, challenging)
  8. Competitive (competition in group, compete to win, peer pressure)
  9. Bonding (family, companion, group playing, club activities)
  10. Stimulating (brains, thinking, strategy, math, language)
  11. Varieties (multiple games, from game to game, not boring)
  12. Exciting (fun and pressure, time pressure, peer pressure, compete to win)
  13. Challenging (intellectual, math, language, strategy, competition)
  14. Short (not taking too long to play, no long waiting time)

To make a credible judgment on a game, one must play the game before forming an opinion. It is useful to devise a quantitative scheme so that games can be measured and compared with reasonable objectivity. The above key words are derived from a number of surveys where these words are used by game players to describe the 'goodness" of a game. So if we simply assign a numerical quantity 0 to 7 for each key word, then these key words can be used to produce a quantitative measure of a game. If a game receives 7 score for all 14 key words, then the game has a net score of 7x14=98; the highest score a game can get. Applying this method to Scrabble, a well known game and to Scrammble, a new word game (average of surveys made of game students), we can obtain a quantitative score for each game as follows:

Scrabble Vs Scrammble     

  1. Entertaining        (5 vs 6)

  2. Learning              (6 vs 7)

  3. Simple                  (6 vs 6)

  4. Thinking              (6 vs 7)

  5. Strategy               (4 vs 4)

  6. Math                      (2 vs 4)

  7. Language            (6 vs 6)

  8. Competitive        (5 vs 6)

  9. Bonding              (6 vs 6)

  10. Stimulating         (5 vs 6)

  11. Varieties              (1 vs 5)

  12. Exciting               (4 vs 6)

  13. Challenging       (5 vs 7)

  14. Short                    (3 vs 5)

Total Score                  (64 vs 81)

Any game with a score higher than 50 is a pretty good game. Scrabble is obviously a very good game to be world-wide popular. Based on the above comparison, the Scrammble game may have a chance to win popularity over the Scrabble game. Scrabble has a history of 50 years. It will be interesting to observe how long will take Scrammble to surpass the Scrabble game in popularity.   

The readers may be interested in applying the above method to other games to verify the validity of this measurement. The following is a list of new games and their web sites for reader's reference.  

Some inventors' and entrepreneurs' web sites (Highlighted sites are contributors to Scrammble Tournament):

HotVsNot.Com Web Directory - Comprehensive Database of Web Resources that includes Card Games

Dream Green

Eternity Games

Face2Face Games

Karmel Games

Mic-O-Mic Americas, Inc

QBIC Toys (Pty) Ltd

RADGames, Inc.

Scrammble Games

TriKing Games

Other related web sites:

Canadian Game Companies -- Toys, Games and Puzzles


Educational Insights

University Games


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