Your 2nd step towards Gamification Design:


Now, as we have prepared the 'playing field', let's get started to animate this still empty canvas by using our knowledge and methodology around Game Thinking.

By the way:
The term Game Thinking was established by Amy Jo Kim. I can really recommend to read her books and especially her last release: Game Thinking (no affiliate link!).

As I have written in Step 1: “I have created these materials, insights, and tools for you so that you don’t have to spend almost a decade in learning what works and what does not like I did.”
This is why I want you to learn about our methodology of Gamification Design. On top you can see how it looks like visualized today.

But don’t worry. For now, I want you to focus on the yellow pillar.

In the beginning, almost every time, I start with Mastery.
Why this is elementary will be part of another lecture.


Nothing great should be easy.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about games, sports or hobbies, there is something that fascinates me the most about them. This is the fact that if you succeed within them, they are going to be more difficult next time. And here comes the real secret about that fact: because it is going to be harder you are even more motivated to come back and stay engaged.

Mastery is something that is built into our brain. It is a learning engine. Even its neurochemistry works this way.

If you want to go deeper on this subject you should read Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster.

In our daily work with Gamification, this means to design a ‘Path to Mastery’. To get started, ask yourself: “In what kind of activity do you want your user to make better? How does it look like to be a beginner and how would it look like to be a master of it?” What kind of new skills are developed over time? What challenges but also responsibilities are coming along with personal progress? Newly earned skills should always lead to new possibilities to progress (unlocking). New skills to learn and new responsibilities to fulfill help you, in the long run, to keep the activity interesting and always challenging for the user.

If you want to stop here to find out more about the science behind the ‘Path to Mastery’, have a look at this video about the Flow.

A great way to help you get into the process of creating your own ‘Path to Mastery’ is to start by reframing our thinking. Instead of focusing on the product or the service itself, you need to find out about the behavior and the skills of the user by using your product and how it changes over time.

That means you need to think about the most inexperienced user of your product/service, and, as the other extreme, think about the most experienced user of your product/service (master).

The ∆ (delta; from shallow –> deep) between both users tells you about the possible journey from a beginner to an expert. As a Gamification Designer, it is your task to make that journey engaging enough.

To achieve that you have access to a huge selection of elements and mechanics. I’m going to introduce these mechanics in the next part.

Roman Rackwitz

Roman Rackwitz

is the Enterprise Gaming Pioneer at Centigrade GmbH and the founder of Engaginglab, Europes 1st Gamification agency. He is leading the Gamification movement in Europe for more than a decade now and fighting for its real potential for enterprises, educational institutions and public organisations.

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About Me

I’m passionated about engagement. This is why I reverse-engineer the science of fun in order to fix what is wrong in most business activities. I call this: Enjoyneering.

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