Season 6 Symposium Recap

Mark Keplinger speaking

If you weren’t able to attend our Symposium this season, you missed out on some great speakers. Fear not though, this blog post is here to give you all the highlights.

 

Dave Dubin – University of Illinois, School of Information Sciences

Game Design, Past and Future

The primary thrust of Dave’s talk was that commercial success is not the only measure of success for a game. He went on to list a number of unique games which were never formally published, but nonetheless found passionate and loyal player communities.

Some of the unique game experiences Dave mentioned were:

  • Empire – A game of economic, political, and military strategy created at Reed College in Oregon. This game was never sold, but was played by Reed students continuously for over a decade, and constantly refined along the way.
  • World Peace Game – Another game of politics and negotiation, but this time for 4th graders! Elementary school teacher John Hunter created the game to show his young students that they could have a positive effect on the world. Learn more about Hunter and the game in his TED Talk and website.
  • Reacting to the Past – This educational series of games from Barnard College is part roleplaying, and part debate team. Students take on the roles of various people from the past. They speak and write in those roles and use real historical sources to impact their decisions.
  • Capture the Flag With Stuff – Take your capture the flag games up to the next level like they do at Carnegie Mellon, by adding STUFF. Because using just flags is boring.
  • Matrix Games – Psychiatric social worker Chris Engle wanted to create a game system where players took on the roll of countries, but instead of numbers or stats, the different attributes would be represented by words and ideas. In 1988, the first of many Matrix Games was born. Several games have used this core concept, you can also find out more about the history in this article by Engle.
  • The Quiet Year – This is a game where players build a community, while also creating a free-form map of themselves and their surroundings. Not quite a roleplaying game, but definitely a kind of collaborative fiction. You can download the rules for free online, or order your own set of rules and special cards.

 

 

Mike Hinson – Elf Creek Games

Playtesting and Development

Mike talked about the importance of playtesting in game development. He explained that development is the refining stage that you reach once your game design stabilizes somewhat. If it wasn’t clear, playtesting is the act of trying out and assessing your game through play!

Some key points from Mike’s presentation:

  • Playtesting is the most important part of development. Every change you make should spark at least one playtest!
  • Playtest your game as much as you can, with whoever you can.
  • Listen to feedback from playtesters, but remember, this is your game, you get to make the decisions about how it should play and feel.
  • Set goals for your playtests.
  • Ask your playtesters open-ended questions to get the best feedback
  • Development never truly ends. There are always changes you could make to your game. This can be daunting, but exciting too! Remember that many of the most popular games on the market have been through multiple rules editions.

 

Mark Keplinger – Titan Games

Trends in the Game Industry

Mark has a good handle on the different trends in the game industry since he manages Titan Games in Champaign. He shared some of his insights with us.

Current game trends:

 

After the presentations there was plenty of open time to mingle and ask questions. Of course there were lots of exciting ideas discussed, but there’s not enough room in this blog to recount them all! Even if you couldn’t come to Symposium, hope to see you at Boot Camp and Pitch Night.

Weekly Rollup: Sep 15th – Sep 22nd

CUDO Plays September Game Night – Plastic Fantastic

A host of wacky plastic games got played at our Plastic Fantastic game night. Among them, the eternal favorite Hungry Hungry Hippos, and the 1987 classic Web of Gold.

 

Season 6 Symposium

Many people showed up for this year’s Symposium ready to learn more about games! Our three speakers discussed finding your audience, the importance of playtesting, and the state of the tabletop game industry. Great talks, and afterwards was time for networking. If you’d like a deeper recap into the presentations from Symposium, keep an eye on this here blog. A full summary will be up very soon!

 

Upcoming Events

Board Game Bootcamp – Saturday, September 29th

CU Community Fab Lab @ 1:30pm – 4:00pm

Not sure you could ever design your own game? This event is for you! Come on down for an afternoon of fast-paced game design and prototyping. See what you can come up with! You’ll be put into groups and randomly given mechanics and a theme to incorporate into your game. We’ll provide all the dice, cards, boards, bits and other materials you could possibly need for your prototype.

Bootcamp is an amazing experience for all involved. If you can only attend one CUDO Plays event this season, try to make it this one!  Facebook event

 

Beers & Board Games – Saturday, September 29th

Cafeteria & Company, Urbana @ 7:00pm – 10:00pm

CUDO Plays has joined forces with Cafeteria & Company to help them run their bi-monthly game nights. Come out to Cafe & Co. every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month to chill with some games, snacks, and beer/wine/coffee. Don’t miss the fun!  Facebook Event

 

Pitch Night – Saturday, October 7th

Pixo @ 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Looking for a team to join, or have a great idea and need a few more members for your own team? Just want to show of your game ideas? Pitch Night will be hosted at the Pixo cafe space at 109 W. Goose Alley in Urbana.

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Tower of Madness.

Tower of Madness game pieces

Investigate unspeakable horrors without losing your marbles — literally! In Tower of Madness, a three-dimensional clock tower, standing a foot tall and filled with marbles of four distinct colors, stands before you. Thirty unworldly tentacles push through the tower walls in every direction in this high-tension, push-your-luck dice game of Lovecraft-inspired horror. Fail your investigation dice rolls and you will be forced to draw a tentacle from the tower. Any marbles that fall as a result affect your character immediately, whether adding to your discovery total, gaining you spells and knowledge that man was not meant to have, or gaining madness; drop one of the three DOOM marbles, however, and you summon Cthulhu and end the game. Investigate every horrific location in the deck, each with its own unique dice challenge, in order to save the world before your luck runs out. The player with the most discovery points is declared the hero and wins the game. Otherwise, the insane players collectively enjoy a brief moment of victory as Cthulhu rises, destroys the world, and eats them last…as their reward.

Weekly Rollup: Sep 8th – Sep 15th

Meet the Committee

No events this week, but a ton coming right around the corner! If you somehow missed it, do check out our last blog post about all of the members of the CUDO Plays Committee.

 

Upcoming Events

Beers & Board Games – Saturday, September 15th

Cafeteria & Company, Urbana @ 7:00pm – 10:00pm

CUDO Plays has joined forces with Cafeteria & Company to help them run their bi-monthly game nights. Come out to Cafe & Co. every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month to chill with some games, snacks, and beer/wine/coffee. Don’t miss the fun!  Facebook Event

 

CUDO Plays September Game Night: Plastic Fantastic – Monday, September 17th

Hyatt Place Champaign @ 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Take a break from your busy schedule and get to know your fellow game enthusiasts! CUDO Plays Game Night is open to everyone! The featured theme for this month is plastic games! Bring your games with crazy plastic components. A bunch of family favorites from the 80s and 90s will be there for sure. Facebook event

 

Season 6 Symposium – Tuesday, September 18th

Symposium image collage

Champaign Public Library @ 6:30pm – 8:30pm

An evening dedicated to the discussion of various aspects of board game design. There will be expert speakers, as well as a networking event to allow teams and individuals to get to know each other better. Facebook event

 

Board Game Bootcamp – Saturday, September 29th

CU Community Fab Lab @ 1:30pm – 4:00pm

Not sure you could ever design your own game? This event is for you! Come on down for an afternoon of fast-paced game design and prototyping. See what you can come up with! You’ll be put into groups and randomly given mechanics and a theme to incorporate into your game. We’ll provide all the dice, cards, boards, bits and other materials you could possibly need for your prototype.

Bootcamp is an amazing experience for all involved. If you can only attend one CUDO Plays event this season, try to make it this one!  Facebook event

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends Mint Works.

This is a light and straightforward worker placement game. Its compact size makes it easy to put in your pocket and take it anywhere. Its simple rules make it easy to introduce new players to the genre of worker placement. During the game each player will have a limited amount of Mint Tokens, which represent their workers. Players will use these mint tokens to earn more tokens, take first player or buy and build plans. Plans are how players earn points. Some plans will give only points, others will give extra powers to the owner. Once any player has at least 7 points earned (or if there are not enough plans to refill the stock) the end of the game is triggered. The game will then be over at the end of the current round.

Get to know the CUDO Plays Committee

CUDO Plays is run by the CUDO Plays Committee; an all-volunteer group of passionate, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and extremely good-looking individuals. If you’ve ever been to any of our events, you’ve certainly met some of us, but if you’d like to get to know all of us a little better then read on!

For this blog post, each current member of the CUDO Plays Committee was asked to answer two simple questions:

  • What’s one game you love that you wish more people knew about? 
  • What cartoon character do you think best represents your personality?

Let’s jump right in!

 

Andrew

Game:  Attack! It got a reprint in 2003, and if you’ve played Axis and Allies, you generally know what’s going on. But unlike Axis and Allies, which starts at the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Attack! feels like it starts in the mid-1920s. You start out as only one country, and most of the world is neutral. So today’s game could be the conflict between Monarchist Brazil, Capitalist India, and Fascist Australia. Then you spend the first third of the game playing this cool political game, whereby you turn neutral countries to your side; sometimes by coup, sometimes by sponsoring a neighboring country to invade. Then the end of the game is typical war game. But that first third… that’s where it’s special.

Toon:  I want to say Porco Rosso, but that’s just me being hopeful. Honestly, I’m probably Owl, from the various stories set in the Hundred Acre Wood.

 

BJ

Game:  Anachronism. A totally unusual and groundbreaking collectible card game from the “bad old days” of the hobby. Your deck consisted of a historical leader or warrior (the game was literally produced by the History Channel) and four other cards. It combined miniature combat with extremely limited deck construction. You could buy an entire playable deck for $5 and you knew exactly what cards you were getting because each leader came packaged with four cards associated with them. I still break this out with my old CCG friends.

Toon: Probably Winnie the Pooh. At my best, I’m sort of an easygoing blank slate like him. Also I’m the same body type, and I like honey.

 

Chris

Game:  Space Alert. It combines several of my favorite game mechanics; programming actions with cards, madcap player interaction, and panicked decision making. Players are the crew of a spaceship and each one is dealt a number of cards that allow them to move between rooms and activate the equipment. Meanwhile, there’s a CD/MP3 playing that dictates the amount of time allowed for programming and announcing dilemmas to solve. The instruction manual is also well-written and humorous.

Toon:  I’m a real good match for the middle-aged Dexter in the Dexter’s Lab movie Ego Trip. I just need to work out…a lot. Like, a lot a lot; that guy’s jacked. But I have the beard and the lab coat and I’m sure I could get a big wrench easy.

 

Jess

Game:  Zogen. Right now I’m really into the speed of the game. You need to call out the name of a missing or added microbe as you place your card down, but don’t get caught placing a wrong card or saying the wrong name or you reset your progress! You can also get away with a wrong move if a card is placed on top of that card! The feeling when someone gets caught is one of those moments where you talk about it for the rest of the night, and similarly for when you get away with a wrong call, accident or not.

Toon: Pikachu. You get one guess as to why.

 

Kaity

Game:  Concept! It’s basically like charades with pictures — you get people to guess a word or phrase you’ve chosen by first putting a question mark on the initial concept, (person, movie, book etc.) then by using other pretty bits to signify modifiers so that people can narrow down their guesses! More people need to know about this game because I am very good at it.

Toon: Do muppets count as cartoon characters? Because if so, then Miss Piggy. She’s glamorous and high maintenance, but at her core just a regular ol’ pig. 

 

Katie

Game:  Coup! Bluffing is my favorite part, and trying to think about who is lying or not and when to lie or do truthful actions is a fun challenge. The best part is really the metagame; remembering who you’re playing with and imagining what choices they would make!

Toon:  Aggretsuko! Her life is basically the same as mine — too much work and not enough time! Also, the way she reacts to things is way too real.

 

Rebecca

Game:  Y‘all are going to roll your eyes at me, but I honestly wish Euchre was more popular here. My lifelong saying about it is that if you gather 4 people together to play in Champaign-Urbana, you will have to teach at least one of them how to play. That slows things down and makes the game less social and fun, because you have to keep going over the concept of trumps and bauers… I just want a solid group of people to sit down, drink, threaten and shout at over a card game played with 2/3 of a deck.

Toon: Although it’s not a perfect fit, I’ll choose Slappy Squirrel from Animaniacs. I’m one of the oldest here. I’ll drop those truth-bombs about Bumbi’s mother but then make it up to you by also explaining movies. You’ll believe I’m ready to smack you with my umbrella at any moment, and when someone says, “Well! I Never!” I will reply, “You should try it, it’s fun.”

 

Tim

Game:  For years I’ve been thinking about small games that teach the mechanics needed for larger games. At our last Cafe & Co Game Night I played a game called For Sale that does just that. It starts with an auction draft for real estate properties, so there’s resource management and evaluation of the relative value of options. Then there’s a blind bidding phase with the properties you won in the auction. The game has mechanics which keep all players in the game, so it’s an excellent stepping stone to larger/longer games. 

Toon:  Optimus Prime was a great role model for me as a kid.

 

Tom

Game:  Basari. This is a pretty old game (all the way from 1998!), but also one of the best roll-and-move games ever made (second only to Camel Up!). It’s got just a bit of lots of different game stuff that I love: rollin’ dice, big reveals, wheeling/dealing, COLORFUL GEMS. Don’t let the austere art fool you, this is a classic.

Toon:  Baloo the bear, specifically from TaleSpin. I love airplanes, I love parties, I care about my friends, but I’m also quite lazy.

Weekly Rollup: Sep 1st – Sep 8th

Season 6 Kickoffs!

Season 6 community kickoff

Both our community and student kickoffs happened this past week and each was quite successful. Over thirty teams have already registered for Season 6 of the competition!

If you’d like to register a team, you can do so here. If you weren’t able to attend either of the kickoffs and you have questions, feel free to reach out to us on facebook or email us directly.

 

Upcoming Events

CUDO Plays September Game Night: Plastic Fantastic – Monday, September 17th

Playing Fireball Island

Hyatt Place Champaign @ 6:30pm – 9:30pm

Take a break from your busy schedule and get to know your fellow game enthusiasts! CUDO Plays Game Night is open to everyone! The featured theme for this month is plastic games! Bring your games with crazy plastic components. A bunch of family favorites from the 80s and 90s will be there for sure. Facebook event

 

Season 6 Symposium – Tuesday, September 18th

Champaign Public Library @ 6:30pm – 8:30pm

An evening dedicated to the discussion of various aspects of board game design. There will be expert speakers, as well as a networking event to allow teams and individuals to get to know each other better.

 

Board Game Bootcamp – Saturday, September 29th

CU Community Fab Lab @ 1:30pm – 4:00pm

Not sure you could ever design your own game? This event is for you! Come on down for an afternoon of fast-paced game design and prototyping. See what you can come up with! You’ll be put into groups and randomly given mechanics and a theme to incorporate into your game. We’ll provide all the dice, cards, boards, bits and other materials you could possibly need for your prototype.

Bootcamp is an amazing experience for all involved. If you can only attend one CUDO Plays event this season, try to make it this one!

 

CUDO Plays Recommends

This week CUDO Plays recommends The Big Book of Madness.

Big Book of Madness box

In this cooperative deck-building game, players are all students at a school for wizards. In typical wizarding school student fashion, you have opened up a book you were not supposed to an unleashed a host of terrifying monsters. You must work together and think strategically in order to defeat the monsters and their curses, and close the big book of madness!