Deb Linder and Doug Kipperman

Deb Linder is a manager of curriculum integration at Jostens Learning Corportation, San Diego, California.

Doug Kipperman teaches computerized graphic design at Coronado High School, in Coronado, California.

Deb and Doug are currently graduate students in Educational Technology at San Diego State University.

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Instructional Objective__I__ Learners/Context__I__ Rationale__I__ Rules
Class Exercise__I__ The Game is a Foot__I__ Card Design__I__ Ancillary Materials
Deck Design__I__ Design Process__I__ References

Instructional Objective

The learners will be able to use the card game, CerebralFlatulence, to jump start the creative process and find "fresh" views to solving problems. This game will enable the learners to avoid "white fright," the fear of starting a creative piece, and will provide a method for gaining new insights into otherwise mundane topics.

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The learners are enrolled in the arts. The game will be used initially as a part of the creative writing / graphic design class at the high school level. The learners are 16 to 18 years of age, with a strong interest in developing their creative writing skills. They are also interested in using graphic design and computers to produce their written works in print and on the World Wide Web via an electronic literary magazine.

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A card game is an appropriate format for this situation because the cards are compact, easily transportable, and allow for unlimited possible combinations avoiding redundancy and boredom. The game can be played on many different levels from very basic to very complex. The current game cards contain age appropriate content for the high school level; although this could easily be expanded to meet the needs of other age groups. The time required to play can vary depending on whether the game is intended to be a quick exercise or a tool to produce more elaborate efforts. Players have the ability to score enough points to win even though they may have started out poorly, providing an element of chance. The more confident and skilled players have an advantage, but the novice can still win. The game can be played with groups or as solitaire. When played alone, unless others are involved in the scoring or assessment, the game takes on the role of a tool rather than a game. The lack of scoring should not detract from the individual's satisfaction given the learner context of self-motivated creative artists.

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This game may also be played with teams of one or two players. There should be at least two judges for scoring.


  1. Students divide into teams. A team may be one or two people. If there are two members to the team they may act as judges when it is not their turn. If a team only has one person, at least one more person must act as a judge.


  2. The first team starts the game by drawing three cards from the top of the deck, or the front of the box. When the round is over place the cards face down next to the deck, or in the back of the box. Make sure to periodically shuffle the cards to insure randomness.


  3. (Optional) If the team chooses to add points to their score they may draw a card from the separate deck of genre cards.


  4. The team has three minutes to develop their oral or written presentation, and another three minutes to give their presentation. The time limits may be expanded depending on the goal of the exercise - a quick fun game, or a more substantial assignment.


  5. The judges base their scoring on the criteria established on the rubric cards and players record earned score (see score sheet).


  6. At the end of the playing time, determined by the players or teacher, the team with the most points wins (the assumption is that each team has an equal number of rounds in which to score points).

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Class Exercise

The class exercise would include the following steps (Couch, 1993). Wild cards do not count in this exercise:


  1. Describe the topic: The facilitator draws a card then asks students to describe the topic, either in small group discussions or by individually writing a paragraph; e.g., CAT.


  2. Create direct analogies: The facilitator draws another card then asks the students to generate a list that would have the same characteristics as those words or phases listed in Step 1 (a direct analogy is set up to make comparisons between the two words, images, or concepts). How are CAT and the STATUE OF LIBERTY alike? Ask them to generate vivid mental images. Mental images are powerful tools in the process.


  3. Describe personal analogies: Have students select one of the direct analogies and create personal analogies. Students "become" the object they choose and then describe what it feels like to be that object. How would it feel to be a cat posed like a sculpture?


  4. Identify compressed conflicts: Ask the students to pair words from the list generated in Step 3 which seem to fight each other. Always have the students explain why they chose the words which conflict. Then have the students choose one by voting. How are tense and inanimate different?


  5. Create a new direct analogy: With the compressed conflict pair voted upon by the students, ask them to create a different direct analogy by selecting something that is described by the paired words. How are tense and inanimate like a plant, a fruit, an animal, a song, etc.?


  6. Reexamine the original topic: Return to the original idea or problem so that the student may produce a product or description that utilizes the ideas generated in the process. They may concentrate on the final analogy or use analogies created in the other four steps (Gunter, et al., 1990).

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The game is played in the following manner:



  1. After the teams have been selected each team will take a turn by drawing three randomly selected cards that contain either words, images, concepts, or wild cards. Each card has an associated point value. Wild cards have a significantly higher value.


  2. The team will have three minutes to develop a coherent narrative using all three of the cards drawn; e.g., card 1 contains the word CAT, card 2 contains the image of the STATUE OF LIBERTY, card 3 contains the concept of SURVIVAL. The narrative should include: CAT, the STATUE OF LIBERTY, and SURVIVAL. Should one or more of the cards be a wild card (wild cards only have a point value, there are no words, images, or concepts on the cards), then only the cards with words, images, or concepts need to be included in the narrative. Should all three cards be wild cards then no narrative is required, just total the points and continue.


  3. Each team has an opportunity to increase their point value by selecting a genre card. The genre card could contain one of the following: Character Sketch, Poem, Expository, Persuasive Argument, or Narrative*. If the genre card is selected then the player(s) would use the three cards drawn in the context of the genre drawn; e.g. using the example above and a Character Depiction card selected as the genre, then the player(s) must characterize the CAT in the context of the STATUE OF LIBERTY and SURVIVAL.


  4. The time, or length of writing, varies with specific application. This game, as stated before, can be used as a simple exercise in which times and length of writing will be short. Three minutes for development and no more than three minutes for oral presentations. Written presentations will be no more than one page. Should this exercise be used to develop more in-depth explorations, time limits, and lengths may be determined by the team(s) or by the instructor. The learners will be assessed by two members of the other team(s) through the use of a simple rubric and a score sheet .


  5. The winner will be determined by point scores. The team with the highest point value will win. This game can be limited to one round, or may continue over a longer period of time, depending on the gaming environment. When used in a class setting, this game may easily become part of the grading process.

    *Character Sketch reveals a character's personality through: character's actions, speech / thoughts, or physical description, showing what others think of the character, or direct statement from the writer.

    Poem traditionally a rhythmical composition, sometimes rhymed, expressing experiences, ideas, or emotions in a style more concentrated, imaginative, and powerful than that of ordinary speech or prose: some poems are in meter, some in free verse.

    Expository intended to explain or present information.

    Persuasive Argument intended to make its audience adopt a certain opinion.

    Descriptive Narrative intended to tell a short story with a plot, having a clear beginning, middle, and end.

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Card Design


Each card has one of five types of information imprinted on one side.

  1. Word cards contains one word and a numerical value between 1 and 5


  2. Concept cards contains one concept and a numerical value between 1 and 5


  3. Image cards contains one image and a numerical value between 1 and 5


  4. Wild cards contains the wild card image and a numerical value of 10

    All of the above cards are the same color.


  5. Genre cards contains a genre and an definition of the genre

    Genre cards are a different color from the other four playing cards

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Ancillary Materials


  1. Rubric scoring cards contains a numerical value between 1 and 3 on one side and an explanation of the scoring criteria for that numerical value


  2. Score sheets contains a grid to fill in the point values earned by each team in each round


  3. Rule sheet contains basic rules for playing

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Deck Design

The intent of this game is that it be produced non-commercially. The total number of cards is limited only by physical practicality and economics. The deck can grow as much as the producer would like. For optimum output and readability we designed all of the cards to be printed six up, cut out of an 8.5" by 11" (standard letter format) sheet of paper. Each card is 4.25" wide by 3.67" tall.


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Design Process

One of the design team members had taken a workshop offered by

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Dodge, B.J. (1993). Card Game Design. Handout presented in Educational Techology 670 at San Diego State Univerity, Fall 1995.

Cass, M.M. (personal communications, September 21-28, 1995)

Couch, Richard (1993). Synectics and Imagery: Developing Creative Thinking Through Images. In: Art, Science & Visual Literacy: Selected Readings from the Annual Conference of the International Visual Literacy Association (24th, Pittsburgh, PA. September 30 - October 4, 1992). (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 363 330)

Gordon, W.J.J. (1961). Synectics. New York: Harper & Row.

Gunter, M.A., Estes, T.H. & Schwab, J.H. (1990). Instruction: A models approach. Boston: Allyn & Bacon

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Last updated by Deb Linder and Doug Kipperman on September 28, 1995.

1995 by Linder and Kipperman, all rights reserved. (At least as many rights that we may have a right to reserve)

Return to the Card Game Table of Contents.

Educational Technology 670, Fall 1995.