Every spring, University Laboratory High School (the high school run by the University of Illinois) organizes a special week of classes called Agora Days. During these four days, students, parent, alumni, faculty, and members of the community are encouraged to come in and teach small courses on a wide variety of topics. Each year there are over 100 unique courses taught during Agora Days.
For Agora Days 2018, CUDO Plays Committee co-chair Kaity Bequette and myself ran a class on, you guessed it, board game design! The class was called Board Game Crash Course and it closely followed the usual CUDO Plays Board Game Boot Camp curriculum, though spread out over four days of 50 minute classes.
On Day 1, we broke the students up into six teams of four. They drew two random game themes from jars, then after a short presentation on game mechanics we let them lose to brainstorm. Of course, we’d brought all of the CUDO Plays bits boxes so they could have boards, cards, dice, and other pieces for their games. Days 2 and 3 were largely work days. We urged the teams to play as many of their ideas as possible.
On the last day, teams had a bit of time to put the “finishing touches” on their games. Then each team gave a short presentation to the rest of the class on their game concept and any things they were still struggling with. For the rest of the period, one member of each team stayed to teach their game, and the rest swapped tables to play other teams’ creations.
Kaity and I had an awesome time with the Uni High students during Agora Days. We were very impressed by the games that came out of this class, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!