Digital educational games (DEGs) are increasingly recognized as a promising tool for learning. To deepen the understanding of how two key components – content and player – of DEG contribute to learning effects, we developed a model on game elements. It informed the creation of a mini-game on programming, which was evaluated with 50 computer science undergraduates as a pilot study. Data were collected with questionnaires on background, domain-specific knowledge as well as user perception and with a screen cast recorder. Results show that most of the design requirements derived from the model were met. Pre-knowledge was found to be a significant factor influencing user perception. Implications to future work on implementing design elements such as feedback are drawn.