Gaming the System

Understanding How (and Why) We Play

In this two-week program, participants will gain a deep understanding of the role of games in different societies around the world, investigating both the cultural aspects that define what makes a “game” as well as the economics that have allowed certain games to become truly global. We look at different domains of ‘gaming’, including tabletop games, outdoor games, and parlor games, and how their expressions in different cultural contexts both represent and influence differences in values and perceptions of the world. Students regularly test out different games with their home group, reporting back on the challenges and enjoyment of each.

We continue the course with a consideration of the business of video gaming. We explore the historical development of both the technology and the community behind video games, and then investigate the financial aspects of this multi-billion dollar industry. The course concludes with student creation of their own game for everyone to play.


Two cohorts are available in Chinese Standard Time (CST) on the same dates as the Americas cohorts (marked with ET). Sessions for these cohorts will be held from 7:30 am – 12 pm China time. These are separate cohorts with convenient times for students residing in Asia, either during the Summer or permanently. The language of instruction is English. To register for a China cohort, select an option marked with “Student, CST” in the Select Your Program section of the Registration form.


Cohort 1 – ET
July 13-July 24

Cohort 2 – ET
July 27-Aug 7

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
1pm – 4pm (Eastern Time)

Cohort 1 – CST
July 13-July 24

Cohort 2 – CST
July 27-Aug 7

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
7:30am – 10:30am (China Standard Time)

• Defining Games
• Values Auction
• Analyzing Games for Values

• Watch & Discuss: “Under the Boardwalk: the Monopoly Story” (2011)
• Design Journal: Creating a game
• Sharing game ideas in small groups
• Development of game

• Games in Latin America
• How games reflect (and transform) contemporary Latin American culture

• Call with professional game-designer
• Design Journal–Creating a game
• Creating prototypes

• Games in a European Context
• Value of Play Webinar

• Watch and Discuss The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
• Call with professional gamer
• Design Journal– Presenting Games
• Celebrations

Program Kit

Students who participate in this program will receive a Program Kit in the mail containing materials for the course, including but not limited to:
• Traditional Games from various countries
• Game pieces for Design
• Relevant reading materials
• Snacks + supplies
• Moleskin + pen


In US Dollars

Total for the program


Includes access to all virtual sessions, program kit, and platform materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will this program take place?

There are two cohorts for this program.
Cohort 1: July 13th to July 24th
Cohort 2: July 27th to August 7th

ET sessions for both cohorts will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST.

CST sessions for both cohorts will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM CST.

What platform will we use for the sessions?

Sessions will be held on Zoom.

What do I need to participate in this program?

Students need a computer with a camera and microphone/speaker, and an internet connection with ample bandwidth to handle videoconferencing. Headphones are recommended.

How long is this program?

This program is a combined total of 18 hours.

How much does it cost?

$459.00 USD.
This includes access to all virtual sessions, program kit*, and educational materials.

*Program kit will only be shipped to addresses in the US.

What ages is this program designed for?

The curriculum and activities are specifically designed for rising 9th – 12th graders.

Can I access the sessions after they have been held?

Sessions will be recorded and available to participants during the course of the program only.

When is the registration deadline for this program?

For Cohort 1, students must register by July 5th, 2020, at 11:59 PM EST. For Cohort 1 CST, the deadline is July 5th, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST.

For Cohort 2, students must register by July 19th, 2020, at 11:59 PM EST. For Cohort 2 CST, the deadline is July 19th, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST.

If you are interested in registering after the deadline has passed, please contact us.

What work do I need to do OUTSIDE of the synchronous moments?

In order to take full advantage of the experiential education potential of a program like this, we’ll be asking you to go out into the world and complete some tasks and activities. These will range from talking to family members, doing short bouts of online research, or exploring your backyard in some cases. If you cannot complete an assignment for any reason, check with your Beyond Travel Program Leader.

What if I need to cancel?

All program fees are non-refundable. Please note that all programs are contingent on reaching a minimum number of participants. If this number is not reached, then you may shift your registration to another cohort, or receive a full refund. You will be notified if a program is not filled 7 days before the program start date.

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