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Coding Pirates

Student: Sarah Ragab
Type of work: Interaction Design, Game Design
Jochen Braun, Ahmad Saqfalhait
Year: 2016

Coding Pirates is a strategic board game designed to teach players of all ages computer science logic. As a pirate you are going to cross the seven seas looking for the hidden treasures. You will have to think ahead and use concepts like conditional statements, looping, boolean assignment operators, bugs and others to find the treasures and bring them back home. You will sail with logic, attack with conditions and avoid being cursed with bugs.


Why is it important to teach programming?
Children in the Egyptian society in general are exposed very rarely to coding, though coding can be easily the magic wand for a youth society like Egypt to advance and has brighter future. All you need is a computer to start building things and creating wealth. An almost zero infrastructure to start unlike other industries like cars manufacturers.

Is it important for all children to code or learn coding?
At the end very few children will grow up to become programmers, but if this is our criteria then why we teach them how to write if they are not going to be journalists or professional writers. We teach them writing  because it is not just a profession, it helps in different aspects in life like sending emails, writing down shopping lists and writing down our thoughts. The same goes for coding, it is not just a profession, coding impacts the way we think and deal with problems, for example it make you a better manager with better planning skills, it makes you realize very early that you are not perfect and even your hard thought plan can contain errors (bugs), so learning to code is not just a job opportunity, it teaches you new ways and strategies.

Children are not only learning mathematical or computational ideas as variables, conditional statements, looping…etc. They are learning how to organize their thoughts or even develop a sense of strategy in terms of coping with priorities and solving problems, such skills are not only useful for programmers but also for everyone, regardless of age, background, interests or occupations. 



What is computer programming?
In the most basic sense, programming means creating a set of instructions for a device or person for completing a specific task. In the context of computing it means creating a set of instructions for a computer to accomplish a specific task using a set of  directives–a programming language– known to both the programmer and the computer operating system.

Usually this set of instructions, or program is intended to complete a task that; a) is repetitious and therefore, would exceed human patience or capacity for long term attention to detail. b) is unsuitable for humans because of physical limitations, hazardous condition, etc. c) it requires a high degree of accuracy. d) it requires high speed.

Hour of code
In 2004 Obama, president of the United States kicked off the "Hour of code" week. Aproject the aims at teaching everyone how to code. The mission of this project is mainly the contribution to this global movemnet, explore different opportunities and ways to expose kids at early age to the basic of coding concepts in a funny yet scientic and educational way.


Gaming as a channel through which we achieve values
Children learn best when the content is relevant to them and when they can connect with what they previously learnt. That is why we choose gaming as a method to teach coding, strategic games in particular because it has the strategic angle that we aim to introduce and allow maximum interaction between the players as well as the teachers.

Value proposition
Focusing on having positive impact on children and teaching them while they play set our games away from the general competition. Unlike all the existing games that teach coding and belong to the same genre, our game have a learning curve– The more time spect playing with the game, the more children would develop computational thinking skills. It should not be passive nor boring for adults. Being entertaining for adults and getting the parents engaged is a key factor to enjoy playing the game with their children.


Target group
There are three segments to approach:
1.Kids aging from 6+, selling point by approaching then throw the pirate theme and childish art.

2.Parents from middle and upper class, selling point is the appeal to give children an advantage by teaching them how to code early.

3.School, selling point is providing the latest teaching methodology in their institutions.

Target market
We’re going to focus first on the US market. It is a huge market with proven success stories. The board game culture is there, Obama started an hour of code campaign. The biggest IT industry in the world, the software and related services sector employed 1.7 million people in the US in 2007. the software industry adds more then $260 billion in value to the US economy. It is a big market with coding and board gaming culture.

Launching strategy
We are going to crowd fund the project through Kickstarters. We aim to pledge $50k. However, placing the idea on Kickstarter won’t work alone, we need to have strong marketing materials, as well as reaching out for the tech websites and magazines interested in the software industry. In the later stages we are going to tackle other distribution channels by making the game available on ios and android stores. 



Game objective
Teaching children from the age of 8 to above the basic programming concepts through gaming.

Core concepts
Any programmers should be capable of:
1.Think ahead; programmers write the code then execute it.
2.Understand conditional statements; if..else..the/while.. do
3.Logical operators like; And/Or/Not.
5.Assignment operators like: assign/ swap/ insert/ delete/ push/ pop/ copy.

Game play objectives
General rules and guide lines:
1.Strategic game with luck recipe that does not destroy the strategic aspect.
2.Levels; there should be different mode for playing the game starting from easy to hard, concepts should be introduced to the children one at a time.
3.Back and forth, players should not be disappointed. 




Character development | Persona and personality traits
Creation of a persona or stating some personality traits for each character before digitalizing them to help me pick the right color palette for each one.


Board game design process
Each group of elements must be visually connected in order not to affect the thinking phase of the players. The board elements are bug islands visualized as skull islands, six treasure islands, four homelands, four portals represented as swirls.

The three decks:
1. Bug Deck
1. The bug terminates any running program if the player stepped on it.
2. If the starting position is a bug, the player draw a bug card just before playing and arranging his dice.

1. Introducing array operations concept.
2. Delay the players giving opportunity for the game to converge.

2. Attack Deck
1. If the treasure exists take it, then drown his ship or control it using your dice.

1. Introducing conditional concept (if else, for each)

3. Bonus Deck
1. For each three ships you attack you have a bonus card.
2. You can play it at any time.
3. Bonus card is valid for one round only.
4. You can only play one bonus card at each round.

1. Giving incentive for the players to attack each other, even if they don’t have a treasure or coins.
2. Luck portion to the game.

1. Hack and crash homeland process
There are four homelands on the board where the pirates would return the treasures to take their reward, each have a unique symbol and the same color code of the character living there.

2. Bug islands process
There are four cursed bug islands on the board where the players should not step on them on else their ships would be cursed. The visual language of these islands must be deserted, and to look alarming with ship wrecks and fire.

3. Treasure islands process
There are six treasure islands on the board. The visual language of these islands must be enchanted, with greenery and the treasure should be obvious. The islands should be identical with slight changes to be unified.

4. Portal islands process
There are four interconnected portal islands on the board where the pirates use them as a short pass to hunt the treasures or even use them to hunt their enemies. The visual language of these islands must be magical and enchanted.


Final Game Concept
1. Each round of players:

1. If the treasure isn’t placed, the treasure dice is rolled to place the treasure.
2. Roll the dice.
3.The player with the highest dice number start playing (if two or more players have the same highest dice, we look to the next highest..etc. if they do have exactly the same dice they roll the treasure dice, the one with the highest number play first.

2. Rules
1. Players can use the bonus cards anytime.
2. If the player is standing on a bug, he draws a bug card after rearranging his dice, then he does what the bug card says. Then, he starts his moves.
3. If any player hit any ship, he take an attack hard. Then, he can either drawn this ship or control
it using his dice.
4. If controlled the ship hit another shop, both ships drawn.
5. Drawn ships return to the home position.
6. If the ship goes outside the map, the movement is terminated. The treasure is dropped and the ship return to home position.



Board main elements
The board main elements are as follow: Bug islands visualized as skull islands, six treasure islands, four cities where each has a unique symbol and color representing the team and four portal represented as swirls.

Board sub elements
The board sub elements are four interconnections between the cities with unique elements as waterfalls, volcanos, caves, bridges, ships and shipwrecks and some animals which are hiding in the bushes.

Players board process
The dice board elements:
1.Engraved dice places: to avoid the dice rolling when the players construct their program and to avoid any adjustments after the movements execution.
2.Team indication: an emblem for each team to give the chance for the players to either play with a boy or a girl pirate.
3.Attack indicator (optional): to remind the players that after three attacks they will win a bonus.
4.Treasure box: 15 coins places engraved where the first to complete it wins.