Semester(s) Offered: Spring
Credits: 2
Course Call Number: GAMES-GT 407, GAMES-UT 407
Taught By: Jesse Fuchs

The traditional deck of cards is a device of unparalleled convenience, accessibility, and flexibility. As pocketable as a harmonica yet possessing the spectrum of a piano, this humblest of gaming platforms supports an amazing variety of games: historical classics, 20th century classics, and games by modern game designers, ranging from children’s games to the most intense mental contests, along with everything in between. Every game designer should be conversant with the basic history of playing cards, possessed of a wide selection of games that can be played with a standard deck, and comfortable with using it as a design tool that can often cut straight to the heart of a game mechanic.

Upon completion of this course, the student will:
1) Be familiar with a wide variety of card games: important historical examples, games by 20th century designers such as Sid Sackson, Robert Abbott, and David Parlett, and modern games by recent designers such as Zach Gage and Richard Garfield.
2) Understand how to use online resources to research and learn new card games.
3) Learn how to not only design but explain their own card games, with a focus on writing clear and comprehensible sets of rules, including strategies and other aids to beginning players.
4) Gain an understanding of the history of playing cards: the contested stories of their origin, the genres that sprung up throughout the centuries and how they evolved, and how these reflected the changing cultural attitudes towards them.
5) Gain an internal understanding of what kind of games you enjoy, what kind of games you don’t, and why you have those preferences.