I think I will have to go back and read Jesse Schell’s Art of Game Design again now that I am right in the thick of the Loch Dreagan creation. It would be very cool to have the cards (is that too extravagant? I just grabbed the app for phone and tablet (iPhone in my case) – free and instant)

Anyhow, apart from that great reference there are other useful systems, these Game Design Frameworks offer ways of looking at and crafting game experiences.

The Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics framework by Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek is a nice simple way of breaking things down:

Mechanics: The rules and concepts that formally specify the game-as-system.
Dynamics: The run-time behavior of the game-as-system.
Aesthetics: The desirable emotional responses evoked by the game dynamics

Apart from the paper, check out the PPT link as well.
I like under Aesthetics the taxonomy of 8 kinds of “fun”:

1. Sensation
Game as sense-pleasure
2. Fantasy
Game as make-believe
3. Narrative
Game as drama
4. Challenge
Game as obstacle course
5. Fellowship
Game as social framework
6. Discovery
Game as uncharted territory
7. Expression
Game as self-discovery
8. Submission
Game as pastime

See the PPT from 2004:

I have had a quick look at the Learning Games Design Model by Barbara Chamberlin, Jesús Trespalacios and Rachel Gallagher from New Mexico State University, USA.
The “I’s” Have It: A Framework for Serious Educational Game Design by Leonard A. Annetta, North Carolina State University has a different take again using a cascade of ‘i’ terms to structure thinking for educational games.