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Boy Scouts of America to offer game design merit badge

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Boy Scouts will soon be able to earn a merit badge in game design, the Boy Scouts of America announced today.

The organization spent two years developing the game design program with "volunteers from the game industry and game enthusiasts across the country," according to a press release announcing the badge, and will officially unveil it this weekend at the SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, Texas.

The Boy Scouts of America recognizes the importance of play throughout human history — the press release highlights games from bowling in ancient Egypt to Angry Birds — and the merit badge will challenge Scouts to study all kinds of games and understand the importance of intellectual property before undertaking the program's main requirement: designing a game.

Scouts can design physical games such as those involving cards, boards or dice, or choose to develop one on a mobile device. They'll have to create a design notebook and then iterate on their idea, refining the concept through their own testing and outside feedback.

Game design will be the newest entry on the list of more than 130 available merit badges for Scouts to earn. You can check out the full cover of the game design merit badge pamphlet below.