Kids, Chores, and Game Design

With five kids, I needed a scalable chore system that didn’t have a 1:1 correlation with real currency. So about three years ago I designed a ticket system to incentivize chore completion in my house.

It works like this: at the start of the week, I announce the prize – for instance, a particularly large chocolate egg – and the remainder of the week the kids do chores in exchange for tickets. I dynamically change the ticket value of chores in real time, depending on how urgently I need that chore done, or to offer someone further down the ladder a chance to climb up.

At week’s end, the kid with the most tickets wins the big prize.

The kids are incentivized not just extrinsically (the prize) but intrinsically (the competition), and I get a flexible system that gives me cost certainty on my end, but theoretically unlimited chore completion by the kids.

Curious – what techniques have other game industry parents imported into their family lives? Love to hear what works for you!

Talk soon,

Compulsion Loop
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Design This Castle

App Minis LLC

Why Play? Design This Castle is a builder game that fans of The Sims and other decoration games would really enjoy. It focuses less on managing resources, and more on making a dream place to live. Players will enjoy the large amount of options available for free, but can work toward unlocking premium options as well.

App Store
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Joel McDonald

Why Play? Prune combines the familiar swipe-to-chop interaction of Fruit Ninja with incredibly elegant visuals. In the same vein as downloadable console darlings Flow and Flower, this indie game won over critics with its contemplative atmosphere and relaxing gameplay.

Google Play App Store
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Small World 2

Days of Wonder, Inc.

Why Play? A triumphant implementation of Days of Wonder’s hit retail board game Small World. The polish on the UI and tutorial mode make it easy to pick up and play, even if you don’t already know the game. A study in turning a board game into an app.

Google Play App Store
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Doomsday Clicker

PikPok Games

Why Play? Idle games are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, but Doomsday Clicker brings a fun cartoony art style to a fresh new armeggegeon theme to create something a little different. It’s still slow to progress, but some engaging additions such as blowing up the entire world and some quality-of-life improvements break up the monotony.

Google Play App Store
Compulsion Loop

CompulsionLoop is AC+A’s ( weekly pursuit of providing a Featured List for those in the games industry. A look at the latest must-play apps, along with short, useful takeaways from our team of game design and product experts. If you have a game that you think your industry colleagues should try, we’d love to hear about it at Don’t forget to tell us why industry insiders should be compelled to try out the game (see what we did there?).

Know a game that you think others should play? Let us know and tell us why we should play it.

Thank you for reading and we look forward to helping you discover more games that you can glean learnings from. Feel free to reply to this email or contact — we’re always happy to hear from you.

Have a great week!

- Adrian Crook