Published on November 4, 2022. Last Updated on May 1, 2023.
For beginners and people looking to get some help making their game the way they want, this structured course is what you’re looking for.
The course itself is run on Thinkific, a solid platform to creating video courses like this one. Once you’re in, you’ll see the list of videos to watch in the left column and the video on the right (which of course can be expanded to full screen).
Who’s teaching the The Fail Faster Game Design Program?
For those that don’t know who Jay is or why they should listen to him, Jay Cormier has frequently teamed up with Sen Foong-Lim to make games like Junk Art, Mind MGMT: The Psychic Espionage “Game.”, Belfort, and But Wait, There’s More! He’s been making and publishing games for well over a decade, so he knows a thing or two about how to make a game and iterate on it quickly.
As you’re watching, Jay will encourage you to pause the video and think about something, make something, or try something out. You’ll hear it, but you’ll also see it with some helpful ‘pause’ portions of the video. Do yourself and your learning a favor – actually take the time to do the assignments.
Is The Fail Faster Game Design Program for beginners?
The course starts with the most basic terminology you may or may not ever used before, but it sets the scene towards teaching you / showing you how to become a game designer. You might think the best way to learn this is to just get started with bits and pieces, but Jay has a methodical approach that aims to teach what are games, why we play them, and even a bit of psychology. This background sets the scene for when you actually get to making a game, since you’ll have these reasons and understandings as part of your knowledge. Knowing what makes a game fun (and what makes it fun for the various types of gamers out there) makes it easier to create the game to fit those expectations.
How long does The Fail Faster Game Design Program take to complete?
The overall course can be absorbed over a couple of afternoons, but it’s the sort of thing you can leave and come back to. Most videos are less than 10 minutes long, so you could even sneak them in while working if you wanted.
By the end of the course, you will have made a game – and Jay has really laid out the path here quite nicely. The roll-and-write design guide makes thinking about what to make as simple as checking some boxes. Obviously, there’s plenty of room for creativity as you learn more about game design (and most of the multiple-choice options have an ‘Other’ box to fill in your own ideas.
The platform has some built-in ‘Discussion’ buttons (look for the black button in the top right of your screen, making it easy to ask questions to Jay or other people taking the course.
What are some highlights?
One great highlight is the ‘How to write a rulebook’ course. At 20 minutes, it’s one of the longer sections, but it really makes you think about some of the nitty gritty details that can cause confusion. Remember your rulebook will go through more iterations than you think (probably even more iterations than your prototype). Since you don’t come in the box, lots of eventualities and edge cases have to be included, along with the crystal clear language to ensure people play the game correctly.
Another highlight interspersed throughout the course are the ‘What Other Designers Say About’ the topic at hand. Jay’s one of the most well-connected designers I know, and so you’ll get little snippets from other designers you’ve heard of giving their thoughts.
What are some lowlights?
Jay can speak pretty fast when he’s excited… and he gets pretty excited teaching game design. Click the gear in the lower right corner of the video area to slow the audio down if you need to.
As courses go, this is neither over-produced or under-produced – it’s just about right. No flashy intros or set pieces, just a few basic edits to stitch the sections of content together. For me that’s not a ‘lowlight’, but if you’re looking for flashy, overproduced videos with a presenter that’s just had a 6-pack of energy drinks, look elsewhere.
Overall verdict on The Fail Faster Game Design Program
It’s a well-taught approach to game design, and lots of short videos are easy to absorb whenever you have the time. It gets you to a well-considered stage that helps you make a game, carefully craft rules, and playtest it effectively.
Go check it out for yourself ($99 – this is an affiliate link)