Designing for Collaborative Games


The students are introduced to the concept of collaborative games and some recommendations and challenges for their design. The concept of design patterns is introduced followed by gameplay design patterns. A design space outlining the space of co-located collaborative games is used to give concrete suggestions for patterns that can be useful for design and illustrated by an example game. An exercise is used to let the student practice using gameplay design patterns as a generative source of inspiration for designing collaborative games.

Learning Outcomes

On completing this module the students should be able to:

  • recognize collaborative games
  • describe lessons and pitfalls when designing collaborative games
  • describe the concept gameplay design patterns and its use for design and analysis of collaborative games
  • recognize design space as a concept
  • describe how the CoCe design space can be used for design of collaborative games
  • reflect on how gameplay design patterns can influence design of collaborative games

Teacher Guidance

This teaching activity consists of two main components, a lecture and an accompanying exercise. The expected length of the lecture is 30-45 minutes. The exercise can be given varying amount of time, but a couple of hours is recommended giving a total duration of about 3 hours.

  1. In the lecture (40 min), the teacher introduces students to relevant factors in designing collaborative games.
  2. For the exercise (60), the students in small groups practice using gameplay design patterns as a source of inspiration for designing collaborative games.
  3. The teacher checks what the students are doing (3 minutes / group) and advises on aspects to consider.  
  4. The students share their practice outputs with peers (20 minutes), and gain access to peers’ outputs as a model for their practice. 
  5. The teacher chairs a class discussion (30 minutes), asking for reflections on experiences, and consolidating the lessons learned.

It is recommended that students read the recommended literature before the teaching.

Recommended Readings

  • Zagal, J. P., Rick, J., & Hsi, I. (2006). Collaborative games: Lessons learned from board games. Simulation & Gaming, 37(1), 24-40.
  • Eriksson, E., Baykal, G. E., Torgersson, O., & Björk, S. (2021). The CoCe Design Space: Exploring the Design Space for Co-Located Collaborative Games that Use Multi-Display Composition. In Designing Interactive Systems Conference 2021 (pp. 718–733): Association for Computing Machinery.




Concepts and aspects of collaborative games


Design and engineering in higher education


Online, face-to-face, or hybrid


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