This page contains lots of links to research material I have encountered.
Edtec: Based in San Diego, this university has some great resources for development of games, with a focus on educational aspects.
Their course deals with aspects of the design process which are sometimes neglected.
To design an instructional game well, you must be both systematic and intuitive, as well as analytical and artistic. In mastering the ISD process, you’ve learnt to handle the cognitive side of instruction (which, almost by definition, is the most important). In EDTEC 670, you’ll also learn to deal with the affective side of instruction. Throughout the course we’ll be addressing the questions: What makes some activities interesting or fun? How can we maximize enjoyment without sacrificing instructional quality? It’s a difficult and fascinating challenge for any instructional designer.
A second major theme of the course involves the design of simulations. The questions that will dominate the second half of the course are these: How do we represent reality in a simulation? How do we balance simplicity, efficiency, and playability against realism, richness and complexity? These, too, are challenging design tasks.
German games: why so good?
I have been playing “German games” for some time. These are board and card games mostly coming out of Germany. They have particular features which make them very entertaining and well worth buying. But it is very difficult to get British people to even try these games.