To begin, the teacher introduces the game and assigns the students to teams, with each team having a balance of stronger and weaker students. Players then choose a character class so they can gain access to the powers needed to progress in the game. Personal and team strategies help students maximize their advancement in the game and therefore in their studies. Once started, Classcraft is played to the end of the term.
Players gain experience points when they accomplish certain tasks. Examples of such tasks are listed in the table below.
|Finding a mistake in the class notes||50|
|Correctly answering a question in class||60|
|Helping another student with his/her classwork||75|
|Helping another player by using your powers||5/AP|
|Being positive and hard-working in class||100|
|Being particularly helpful||50|
For every 1,000 experience points players gain, they will level up and gain 1 Power Point, which they can use to buy powers. Powers include benefits like eating in class, getting a hint on an exam, or handing in a paper a day late. Use of powers is limited by the player's Action Points (AP).
A player loses HP if he/she fails to accomplish certain tasks. Examples of such tasks are listed in the table below.
|Arriving late to class||10|
|Disturbing the class||5|
|Arguing with the Gamemaster||10|
|Being negative, lacking motivation, or slacking off in class||20|
|Per point below a 60% score on an exam||5|
When players lose all their HP, they die. Players must then roll the Death Dice and suffer the penalty shown. Some possible penalties are Saturday morning detention, copying a five-page text, or 5 minutes less to complete the next exam.
To play Classcraft, each student much choose a character from three different character classes. Each has unique properties. Explore them below.
When a team member loses life points, the Healer can use his/her healing powers to restore them. Healers can also use these powers on themselves. With maximums of 50 Life Points (HP) and 35 Action Points (AP), Healers are balanced between strength and survival.
|ARDENT FAITH||DURING AN EXAM, THE HEALER CAN ASK THE GAMEMASTER IF HIS ANSWER TO A QUESTION IS RIGHT|
|HEAL 1||A TEAMMATE GAINS 10 HP|
|FAVOR OF THE GODS||THE HEALER CAN LISTEN TO HIS/HER IPOD DURING CLASSWORK|
|HEALING CIRCLE||ALL OF THE TEAM MEMBERS GAIN 15 HP|
The Warrior uses his/her protection powers to absorb the damage for others while neutralizing the attack. This way, the Warrior only suffers part of the damage. With 80 Life Points (HP), Warriors don’t die as frequently, but with only 30 Action Points (AP), they can’t use their powers as often.
|AMBUSH||THE WARRIOR CAN HAND IN AN ASSIGNMENT ONE DATE LATER|
|PROTECT 2||WARRIOR CAN TAKE UP TO 20 DAMAGE FOR HIS TEAMMATE WHILE RECEIVING ONLY 65% OF THE INITIAL DAMAGE|
|HUNTING||THE WARRIOR CAN EAT IN CLASS|
|FRONTAL ASSAULT||WHEN TWO WARRIORS USE THIS POWER AT THE SAME TIME, EVERYONE ON THE TEAM CAN HAND IN AN ASSIGNMENT ONE DATE LATER|
When a player needs more Action Points (AP) to use a power, Mages can supply them. Mages are the strongest character class because they can acquire a maximum of 50 Action Points, but with only 30 Life Points (HP), they are at risk of dying more frequently.
|INVISIBILITY||THE MAGE CAN BE LATE FOR CLASS (MAXIMUM 2 MINUTES)|
|MANA TRANSFER||ALL OF THE TEAM MEMBERS, EXCEPT MAGES, GAIN 7 AP|
|TIME WARP||THE MAGE GETS AN EXTRA 8 MINUTES TO BEAT AN EXAM|
|FOUNTAIN OF MANA||A TEAM MEMBER WHO ISN’T A MAGE REPLENISHES ALL OF HIS/HER AP|
* Powers that do not affect game mechanics can be customized by the Gamemaster.
Classcraft is played in teams of 5 or 6 students. Teams are chosen by the teacher so that each team includes stronger and weaker players in balance. This encourages students who might not normally socialize to work together toward winning the game. All team members will benefit from cooperative efforts, and students learn to consider the needs of others before they take actions.
Being part of a team is one thing; surviving as a team is another. To get the most out of the game, each team needs to establish a strategy right from the start. Without one, it could fall short when facing critical consequences, like having to save a team member from death. A good strategy is what ultimately helps the team progress in the game.
Once the team strategy is mapped out, each student needs to start thinking about himself. Classcraft has many features that benefit individual players. That’s why an individual strategy is also important to help each player to do well in school since Classcraft is designed to help students succeed academically.
At the start of every class, a random event occurs. These events can be beneficial, funny, or detrimental. However, everyone, including the Gamemaster, must submit to them. These create a random element to the game that makes it fun to come to class on time, and students automatically get focused for the class ahead. Here is a partial list of events:
|HEALING||YOU FIND A SMALL FIRST AID KIT||EVERYONE GAINS 5 HP|
|HEALING ENERGIES||YOU DRINK A POTION THAT TRANSFORMS ENERGY TO HEALTH||FOR EVERY AP SPENT, PLAYERS GAIN 1 HP|
|THE CHANT OF THE MASTER||LET’S HAVE SOME FUN||THE PLAYER WITH THE LEAST XP CHOOSES A SONG THAT THE GAMEMASTER MUST SING|
|WOUND||A DRAGON ATTACKS YOU||THE PLAYER WITH THE MOST HP LOSES 20 HP|
|ENERGY BOOST||YOU SLEPT WELL AND FEEL ENERGIZED||EVERYONE GAINS 5 AP|
|SHAME ON THE MAGES||THE MAGES ARE ASHAMED OF THEIR MISTAKES||ALL OF THE MAGES MUST STAY SEATED UNTIL THE BELL|
|THIRST OF THE WARRIORS||THE WARRIORS HAVE A STRANGE THIRST||ALL OF THE WARRIORS CAN GO FOR A DRINK OF WATER|
* All events can be customized by the Gamemaster.
In class, the teacher plays the role of Gamemaster. During a regular class, students call out the actions they want to perform, and the teacher inputs them in the platform. Over the course of an hour, game management occupies roughly 5 minutes. The rewards, such as easier class management, more structured class time, and greater student focus and participation, far outweigh the cost in time. Students are strongly motivated to perform in the game, and this transforms the learning environment for the entire class.
The Classcraft web-based platform manages all the complexities of the game. With it, the teacher can manage all aspects related to the game. Students can also access it to check their and other players’ status.
Most importantly, Classcraft is subject-agnostic in the sense that it can be played in any class regardless of the subject matter. It can also be implemented without all the students having to play; students who don’t want to play don’t have to (which sometimes happens), and they can continue to participate in class in their normal way.
Classcraft founder and high school physics teacher Shawn Young tapped his unique background in education, gamification, and web development to create an online role-playing game that teachers and students can play together in the classroom. Young joined forces with his father, 35-year business veteran Lauren Young, and brother Devin Young, a creative director with an extensive background in design, branding, social media, and developing and producing websites and web apps. From a belief in the power of game-based learning, the Classcraft team has built a game with real-world risks and rewards. As Shawn says, “Changing motivation changes education."