Introduction to Transformative Game Design

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 5SD315

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Game Design A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 15 February 2023
Responsible department
Department of Game Design

Entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of Introduction to Transformative Game Design, the student should, within the following areas, be able to:

  • Knowledge of the Field: Discuss topics, themes, and theories related to transformative analog game design, role-playing game studies, and other interdisciplinary fields.
  • Game Play, Design, and Playtesting: Design, play, iterate, and critique transformative analog role-playing games that have specific growth-related goals.
  • Academic, Professional, and Reflective Writing: Compose written texts and other communication materials on transformative analog game design in various formats for distinct audiences.


This course focuses on analog role-playing games, which involves spontaneous co-creative character enactment, world-building, and fictional representations that emerge from the participants. The course gives an overview of the theoretical and practical underpinnings of using play as a vehicle for personal and social growth, drawing from a broad background of theoretical areas, such as: psychology, play, game studies, critical theory, narrative, creativity, and conflict transformation. Students will put this theory into practice by designing, playtesting and critiquing analog role-playing games, as well as writing their own considerations and results. This course provides a basic foundation of knowledge and practice that allows students to develop skills in these areas to build upon in future work.


The course is delivered through asynchronous group discussions, lectures, and flexibly scheduled synchronous group meetings. Curricular materials may include some or all of the following: video recordings, research articles, popular texts, game design documents, etc. Students will create tangible game design related projects, (mainly within analog role-playing games), either alone or in teams, and play and test their games. Students will show and critically discuss the results with their peers, the teacher, and other researchers/stakeholders where indicated. Feedback and guidance on writing will be provided throughout the course.


The basis for assessment is the students' active participation in course-related activities, presenting regular progress of agreed-upon deliverables and adhering to deadlines. Moreover, the students should meet regularly with the teacher, following through on directions and conducting themselves professionally throughout the course. Deliverables may include oral presentations and written assignments.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.