Boy Scouts Can Earn New 'Game Design' Merit Badge by Developing a Smartphone App

The Boy Scouts just made it tougher for parents to crack down on kids for playing too many video games by introducing a new Game Design merit badge. That's right, there's more to Boy Scouts than learning how to whittle your way out of an emergency situation. Through Game Design, the Boy Scouts of America is looking to encourage creativity and help children hone their logic, strategy, and even mathematics skills, the organization explained in a press release.

"Whether it's soccer, a family night board game, or a handheld electronic device—playing challenges us to overcome long odds, tell compelling stories, and work with or against one another," the Boy Scouts said. "Games motivate both young and old to find creative solutions, practice new skills, and keep their brains active. Scouts who work on the Game Design merit badge will likely look at the games they play differently and with a new level of appreciation. To earn this merit badge, a Scout is required to analyze different types of games; describe play value, content, and theme; and understand the significance of intellectual property as it relates to the game industry."

Game Design

The Boy Scouts worked with volunteers from the game industry and game enthusiasts across the country for two years developing and testing the badge requirements. To earn the badge, a Boy Scout has to analyze different types of games and then develop a game of their own, keeping a design notebook for the project. They can choose from a wide range of media, from cards to boards and dice, and yes, even electronic, such as a smartphone app.

Incidentally, Boy Scouts can earn a separate Video Game badge, which was introduced several years ago.