by Dianne Beltrán

Dianne works full time as a computer lab coordinator at Memorial Academy Junior High. When she is not at work, she is at San Diego State University as a graduate student in Educational Technology. That's it. Nothing else. Unless someone can figure out how to put more hours into a day. Oh.... and yes.... she is a vegetarian

Instructional Objective The instructional intent of "Where's the Beef???!!! is to introduce the players to vegetarianism by having them actively construct a nutritionally balanced vegetarian meal. The game exposes the player to everyday obstacles and decisions about nutrition and eating habits that vegetarians must face.

Learners/Context The learners/players are High School Nutrition students or any age learners who are interested in Vegetarianism and what it entails.

The game is designed to introduce, not preach, a vegetarian lifestyle. The players would have already learned about the different types of vegetarian diets; Lacto and Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians are people whose diet includes milk products or milk products and eggs respectively. A "true" vegetarian is one whose diet consists only of plants, no animal products. Where's the Beef???!!! involves the players in the day to day obstacles that a vegetarian must face; maintaining proper nutritional requirements and the trials of eating at home or eating out.

Time Required Finishing time of the game depends on the number of players. The game can be played with up to 4 players, so approx. 15 minutes maximum.


Object of the game: To be the first player to collect enough nutrition cards ( servings) to have a nutritionally balanced vegetarian meal.

Nutritionally balanced vegetarian meal
Protein 2-4 servings
Grains 6-8 servings
Fats 0-4 servings
Vegetables 4-6 servings
Fruits 4-6 servings

Game Play:

  1. The players will role the die to see who goes first. Highest role goes first and then the rest of the players will follow in a clockwise manner.

  2. Place the playing pieces in the starting square. The first player roles and then moves the appropriate number of spaces.

  3. If the player lands on a colored nutrition square, the player will then draw the appropriate nutrition card. They can then layout the card in front of them so they can keep track of how many more cards (servings) they need.

  4. If the player lands on a Where's The Beef???!!! (WTB) square, or one of the restaurant squares, the player must draw that card and follow the written directions. Card then goes to the bottom of the deck.

  5. If the player lands on the Food Drive square, then the player can give up one serving of any extra servings they might have.

  6. Play continues until a player collects enough servings to have a well balanced diet.

Card Design There are 6 different sets of cards that are used. Five of these sets are called Nutritional Cards and the other set of cards are Where's The Beef cards. Pictured above are sample Nutritional Cards (front & back) and Where's The Beef? Cards (front & back).

Nutritional Cards The nutritional cards are divided into 5 sets; Fats, Protein, Grains, Vegetables, and Fruits. Each of these cards represents ONE nutritional serving of that specific food group. For example, if a player was to land on a Protein square, the player would then draw one Protein card and have ONE serving of protein. For a well balanced vegetarian meal, 2-4 servings of protein is recommended, so the player will have to collect 1-3 more Protein cards.

The cards are in color to correspond with the board squares. Each food group has it's own identifying color; Fats=Red, Protein=Blue, Fruits=Purple, Grains=yellow, and Vegetables=Green. On the back of these cards are two examples of what constitutes a single serving. On the front of the cards is the name of the food group and how many servings are needed.

Where's The Beef!!!??? Cards (WTB) The WTB cards are consequence cards. They give important factual information to the learner and then as a reward or punishment, give out consequences. Every time a player lands on a WTB square, the player must draw a WTB card and follow the written directions. These directions can be either positive (move ahead spaces) or negative (change cards with the person your left).

Board Layout

ß The Board layout is square in shape and is modeled after the Monopoly game board. There are 36 small squares that consist of 5 different nutritional squares, Where's the Beef squares and Restaurant squares.

Design Process What gave me the most trouble during the designing process was the board layout. I couldn't figure out what kind of structure I wanted the path to take. At first I wanted the players to make a decision about whether they would Eat-in or Eat-out. The choice they would have made would have taken them on a different path. I felt this was a way for the player to have control over the game. However, after playing a mock-up I realized that despite the choice made in the beginning, not much player interaction was going on. I needed to design something that would keep and hold the players attention.

One way I thought I might be able to get the players attention was to model the path and structure of the game after Parker Brothers Monopoly game. Most players have played, or are at least familiar with, this game. According to Keller and Suzuki, " motivational concern is with the getting and off sustaining attention." (Keller and Suzuki, pg. 403). I feel that this is achieved when a player sees a Monopoly-type game. Not only are they drawn to what is familiar, but they most likely wonder if the same is played in a similar way and will play it to see.

Another design problem I had was making the game "fun enough". My first design didn't seem to have enough obstacles, which according to the principals of game design , are needed. I then ended up giving the player many different obstacles and making these obstacles the learning focus. Everyone after a while can just "collect servings". I designed the obstacles to bring forth the factual information about vegetarianism. Lack of certain vitamins and minerals and how to supplement them are touched upon. Interesting little tidbits of information, cooking hints etc.

References Dudek, Susan G. (1993). Nutrition Handbook for Nursing Practice. Philadelphia, NY: J.B. Lippincott Co.

Keller, J.M. & Suzuki, K. (1998) Use of The ARCS motivation model in couresware design. In D.H. Jonassen (ed.). Instructional designs for microcomputer coursewear. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Last updated by Dianne Beltran on September 28, 1995.

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Educational Technology 670, Fall 1995.