Recognizing games "as an important element in every culture around the globe," the Boy Scouts of America today announced plans to offer a merit badge in game design. The youth organization has spent two years working with volunteers in the game industry to craft the program. Scouts face few limits in choosing the type of game they'd like to pursue: card, board, and dice games are on the table, and yes, they'll even be able to design a smartphone app. Obviously the young participants won't be expected to have a background in coding. Instead, they'll be required to jot down their ideas in a "design notebook." Scouts will need to come up with an initial concept but also keep iterating upon their game based on testing and feedback from others.

Earning the badge will also require scouts to appreciate games they already play in a new light. They'll need to analyze various games, describing the merits and unique aspects found in each. Somewhat oddly, the program will also teach them "the significance of intellectual property" in the game industry. It seems a lawyer or two may have been among those volunteers. The Boy Scouts of America plans to share more about the program at the upcoming SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin.