Happy start of the school year to all my fellow teachers!
Alright to finish up my series on game card design!
Who & When
This is a common question I get all the time, "Who gets the cards and when do I give them out"? It is a simple one to answer because you do not want to overthink this. Anyone in the game can earn any card in the game at whatever point YOU choose. My advice of course though would be to limit the amount of rare or mythical cards early and make them something that is sought after. Once they get a taste for the cards, that is to say your common and basic cards, begin to roll out the more rare and desirable cards. This will keep your kids coming back for more because they will want to see what they can earn or their guild can earn and the more powerful and rare the more pride of possession they exhibit. I also love making a big deal when someone earns something rare or powerful. Why? It makes them feel great and it encourages other students to dig deep into your game to earn the same amount of praise. This of course leads to ...
This is where you get to have some fun. First, I decided to have a general store in my classroom as well as a blacksmith shop. These two shops sell different cards which I rotate in and out on a monthly basis. I pop in the common ones then I roll out the rare and unique one periodically and I offer them at limited quantities. I even offer sale pricing on items I want to push out to the kids but only run my sales at certain times as well as limited quantities (i.e.: Staff of Wisdom is 50% off Friday at 12:00PM but hurry only 8 available). This really shows you who the true players of your game are because they will come whenever and where ever you ask - which is so cool!
Second, I love mystery, mystery and more mystery ... oh and puzzles too. Open ended questions, puzzles and mystery keep the kids motivated to solve side quests. Students will go above and beyond to unravel a mystery that takes deep thinking and strategy. Reward them with ultra rare or powerful cards. The more difficult the challenge or more people voluntarily competing the richer the prize should be. You will be shocked what a group of determined students will do in order to earn something no one else has!
Finally, I decided to make my own scratch tickers using scratch off paper I ordered online! Here is the link to the website. Using the different scratch off stickers I was able create prizes such as loot bags. Win a battle and the enemy drops a loot bag that you can pick up and search. Hide scratch off treasure chests in books or as puzzle prizes. I even have a gambling section where students can buy a diamond and scratch to see if it is real. If it is real it unlocks a prize vault (I trade them for the diamond) and they can select their prize. You can even print on them so I make the sheets of designs, then place the stickers then print the final images over top. They awesome when they are done. Budget a little tight, here is how you can make your own scratch off paint ... click here for the link!
The trick to the where question is simply "Where/How should I give ____ card(s) to the students"? Get creative!
Time for the finale ...
So after all of this, where can you create your own cards? Here are some helpful links to different online card generators...
Magic Card Creator Link 1- My personal favourite! Many different designs for styles and themes
Magic Card Creator Link 2 - Excellent starting point for intro cards
Hearthstone Card Creator - Great for unique, rare or custom looking cards
Pokemon Card Creator - Great for younger students
Use any of these links to create cards that best suit your game. Of course you can always build a template using Photoshop then sub the text and graphics in and out but these are definitly some quick fixes in the short term. I use all of these in different ways. You can create different looks, styles and themes of cards and that helps to keep the game fresh and exciting for the kids!
So there you have it, the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of Gamification in Education card design! Hope you find this helpful!
Look for my next post about how to handle substitute teachers in a gamified classroom while you are away and kids just might try to play ... illegally! It's a good one! :)
And as usual...drop me a line, a tweet or a comment if you have any questions!
PS: I created a survival guide that hangs in my class that shows all the game cards and how they work while some remain a mystery and they just get to look at the image. Great for creating a buzz, here is mine.
Game Card Survival Guide