VFS life: Game Theory Practical (A.K.A. play-board-games-class)

Warning: this blog post contains very little educational content.

A little introduction: I am an Australian-Malaysian-Macanese singing-acting-dancing-book-loving-raging-feminist who is a moody optimist. I like cats. Cool. Done. Let’s move on. SCHOOL.

Here’s my summary of student life thus far:

  • Average of 6 hours of class a day, with a minimum of 3 and maximum of 9
  • We get around 2-5 assignments per week
  • Everybody in my class is a crazy kid with a huge variety of game ideas
  • You put in a butt-load of work, you get out a butt-load of work to fuel your launch into the industry

In this post, I’m going to chronicle one of my favourite classes thus far: Game Theory Practical. Schmancy name for ‘Play board games for 3 hours and discuss what you liked and didn’t like about them’.


This week we focused on card games. We played games supplied by VFS, games we brought, games we made and wanted to prototype. The guys in the picture above were prototyping Scott and Spencer’s game, a twist on poker with ‘bulls**tting’ mechanics. Lots of raucous laughter from this corner, so I think it was a success.

Daniel’s constantly drawing in class.

My table started off playing Illuminati, a game of world domination. But we got bored because the rule book was long and complicated, and we weren’t able to strategize between turns as there were 6 players, and as such, the early game of collecting resources would take too long for us to build up to any action.
So then we switched over to the game I brought: Gloom! 

The aim of Gloom is to make your family as miserable as possible whilst narrating the tragic events that occur, then kill them off as quickly as possible – whilst making your enemies happy. I did say I was a moody optimist.

The art work of Gloom is stunning and the humour in the characterization and writing throughout the game help immerse you into the world of Gloom. The rulebook is elegant – it’s easy to learn the rules and start to play, as most of the rules regarding card mechanics are explained on the cards themselves.

My table ended up really enjoying Gloom. No surprise. Humans love being evil and this game is made for disruptive gamers, since you’re constantly messing with other players’ cards. Even though I didn’t make the game and merely brought it, I felt proud to have introduced my favourite game and have others enjoy it too.

My teacher, Jonathan Falkowski, got sore that we didn’t like Illuminati. Mostly because he thinks I’m a smart-@$$. Which I am. HI JON (That’s his shiny head below). He’s a pretty cool dude. (If you’re reading this Jon, I didn’t mean that. May your ego remain unfed).

Some of the class playing Yu-Gi-Oh.

The Latinos (Willy, Kdu and Chema) + Adir (he’s from Israel) playing Dominion. According to them, this game kicks @$$. Can’t wait to try it.

Semin’s from Korea. Our class is fairly multicultural, which is awesome when it comes to having differing contributions to game design. I kept glaring at Semin when we were playing Gloom cause HE KEPT ATTACKING ME. You’re going down Sim. Now the internet knows. It’s official.

These guys were playing Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. VFS does not condone gambling for money kids.

The unwanted kids sitting on the bench.

Obligatory discussion about what we thought about the games we played: their genre, themes, mechanics, rule books etc.


Well, that’s it for now folks! Until next time!


Jaymee Mak is a Game Design student at VFS, and a winner of the Women in Games Scholarship