Time to Upgrade...

Eric M Logan

eric_m_logan@yahoo.com http://www.ericmlogan.com


| Instructional Objective | Learners & Context | Object of Game | Game Materials |

| Time Required | Rules | Design Process | References |


Instructional Objective

The intent behind this game is to introduce, and reinforce, general knowledge about computer hardware and software. Subject matter ranges from facts about computer peripherals to questions about computer software.


Learners & Context of Use

The intended audience for this game is the computer novice to intermediate user. The targeted age group is 12 and up. As this game is about computer related topics, a basic understanding of computers and its usage is recommended though not necessary.

In addition to being able to accommodate 2 or more players, this game can be used anywhere be it a home or a school classroom setting. All that is required is a table and a couple of chairs. Further, as this game is designed to introduce and reinforce knowledge, it can be played more than once.


Object of the Game

The objective of this game is to earn enough money, by various ways, to build the ultimate computer according to given specs. The various ways to earn the needed funds are as follows:

  • Correctly answering questions about computer hardware
  • Correctly answering questions about computer software
  • Choosing the safest paths on the game board
  • And to some degree, blind luck


Game Materials

This game consists of several objects including:

  • A dice
  • The gameboard
  • Game character pieces representing a player to be moved about the board
  • 1 set of cards with questions about computer hardware
  • 1 set of cards with questions about computer software
  • 1 set of cards with circumstances to be dealt with
  • 1 set of cards representing a piece of hardware and it's monetary value
  • And 1 set of paper play money ($10, $20, $50, $100.)
  • A brief manual on the objective and rules of the game

 


Time Required

The game takes 3-5 minutes to set up and may be played for half an hour to an hour or more depending on the player's computer competency.


The Rules

The object of the game is build the ultimate PC based computer in the year 2000 according to the specs provided. In order to do so, money has to be earned by correctly answering questions about computer hardware and software. As funds are accumulated, they can be used towards the purchase of parts, as represented by cards, for the ultimate computer. To begin:

  1. Open the box and lay the game board on a flat surface
  2. Place the hardware questions deck, as indicated by the name "hardware" on the back of the card, on the appropriate spot on the board
  3. Place the software questions deck, as indicated by the name "software" on the back of the card, on the appropriate spot on the board
  4. Place the circumstance questions deck, as indicated by the name "circumstances" on the back of the card, on the appropriate spot on the board
  5. Place the light green money deck on the appropriate spot on the board
  6. Place the hardware deck, as indicated by names of hardware, on the computer store spot on the board
  7. Each player chooses a game piece to represent him or herself
  8. Each player places their game piece on a "Start" spot located in each corner of the gameboard
  9. The provided dice is rolled to determine who will go first with the highest roller going first. The order will continue to be clockwise from then on
  10. The first player then rolls the dice to determine how many spaces to proceed forward from their start position (choice of direction is up to the player with the only requirement being the amount of spaces as dictated by the roll of the dice and that spaces are followed consecutively)
  11. Each spot on the game board that a player will land on correlates to a certain condition for the holder of that position
    • Answer a question about computer hardware
      • Answer correctly and depending on the difficulty of the question, the appropriate amount of funds are rewarded as indicated on the card
      • Answer incorrectly and funds are not given
    • Answer a question about computer software
      • Answer correctly and depending on the difficulty of the question, the appropriate amount of funds are rewarded as indicated on the card
      • Answer incorrectly and funds are not given
    • Encounter a situation to be dealt with (as assigned by a card from the circumstances deck)
      • Such situations may include forfeiture of a piece of hardware (i.e. a card) due to some mishap, an opportunity to trade a card with another player, etc.
    • If the spot is free money, then the player may pick up the appropriate amount of funds from the money deck
    • If the spot is "Win/Lose Software" or "Win/Lose Hardware" then a card from the corresponding deck is picked up by the player to the left of the current player. The question on the card will then be posed to the current player.
      • If the player answers the question correctly, the appropriate amount of funds may be taken from the money deck and the card is returned to the bottom of the pile.
      • If the player answers incorrectly, then the player to the left of the current player recieves the amount of funds indicated by the card. The card is then returned to the bottom of the pile.
  12. The player to the left of the current player will always pick up a card from the corresponding deck, as dictated by the space the current player landed on, and pose the question, or situation, on the card to the current player
    • If it is a hardware or software question, and the currently player answers correctly, the current player can pick up the appropriate amount of funds earned as indicated on the card containing the question. Then, return the card with the question back to the bottom of the corresponding deck.
    • If it is a situation to be dealt with, the current player must deal with the situation posed by the card accordingly. Then, return the card with the situation back to the bottom of the corresponding deck.
  13. As money is earned, for correctly answering questions posed or dealing with the situations given, it can then be applied to the purchase of a piece of hardware. Such hardware are represented by cards from the hardware deck. This hardware deck is placed on the computer store spot on the game board. The objective is to accumulate the hardware pieces (i.e. cards) that would comprise the ultimate computer system as dictated by the given specs
  14. The next player then rolls the dice and so it goes
  15. The first person to acquire all the parts (represented by cards) for the ultimate computer, as specified by specs given at the beginning of the game, wins


Design Process

The game board was designed so that even though there are starting positions, there is no ultimate ending position. This correlates to the real world of computing as there is no true end. A computer user may go about the upgrading and learning process with no end to be reached as there are always more upgrades available and more knowledge to be gained.

I also chose to use real world circumstances for players to deal with. For instance, power surges have been known to wipe out unprotected equipment. Purchases of faulty equipment occasionally occurs. Trading of equipment among people and even the gift of equipment by people are things that actually take place in the computing world.

Originally, I was designing a game where the object was to build the ultimate computer by collecting the correct number of parts (represented by cards). I ran into the problem of how to collect the correct cards and how turns were decided. I revised my original conception by foregoing the card game-like design in favor of a design where it was the amount of knowledge that you had that could advance you further. As the game currently stands, the more computer knowledge a player has, the more likely that player will win.

I feel that my revised design fulfills the requirement of a game that is intended to teach in addition to entertain. As my design allows for only a limited amount of cards (questions), reiteration of the questions and their answers are inevitable. Not only does this introduce knowledge if it wasn't already known but it also reinforces preexisting knowledge.

Another problem that I ran into was the layout of the board itself. I didn't really know how to arrange the "paths" that the players could travel. I eventually decided to just keep it simple and have it go everywhere but nowhere really. The paths don't really go anywhere but yet they do cover the entire board providing more than enough room for players to move about as they are bombarded by questions.


References

Internet:

PriceWatch - http://www.pricewatch.com/

ZD Webopedia - http://www.zdwebopedia.com/

 


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Last updated October xx 1999