North Texas Daily

Students plan, play created tabletop games

Students plan, play created tabletop games

Students plan, play created tabletop games
April 14
00:14 2015

Erica Wieting / Staff Writer

Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t made in one day, and neither will the board games UNT students began creating this past Saturday.

For three Saturdays beginning April 11, a board game workshop will take place in the UNT Media Library located in Chilton Hall 111. Among other things, the program focuses on thinking like a designer.

There are five steps to the program: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.  During this first day, the empathize portion of design thinking was enacted.

“You’re going to go out, play games with each other and watch other people play games,” UNT Media Library cataloger and event organizer Diane Robson said as she addressed event participators in her opening speech.  “What do they enjoy?  What is making this game great for them?”

Head of the Media Library Kim Stanton said she is excited about the success of the workshops so far and hopes to continue the program in the years to come.14_gaming_web2

Business sophomore Jessica Rios carefully pulls a block from a precarious pile. The oversized game of Jenga was a popular stop for many students.

“The first round went really well.  We learned enough, and we made some changes to kind of smooth things out, so we’ll see how this one goes,” Stanton said.

For the first session of the workshop, students trekked over to Bruce Hall, eager to partake in board game festivities.  The event, open to the public, involved a myriad of board games, card games, and even giant versions of Jenga and Connect Four.

One game in particular, a card game called Gloom, seemed to be a fan favorite.

Though it’s a seemingly harmless game from an outsider’s standpoint, Gloom’s main goal is to kill off your family in the most horrible way possible, ending with the largest number of points.

But here’s the thing—you can play cards either to hurt or help other people, depending on your own strategy.

“You’re trying to give people horrible deaths by poisoning, andsomeone else will be like, ‘Here’s the antidote,’” senior math major Tiffany Jones said.

14_gaming_web3

 Graduate students Michael Shumate, right, and Chase Carter study the rules to Pandemic. Carter said this was only his second or third time to play the game.

Jones also said someone could potentially cover up a -20 point card that you placed on another player’s character with +20 points, cancelling out the original action.

Electrical engineering junior Melissa Sinclair and North Central Texas College student Ricardo Jones joined Tiffany for a few rounds of Gloom.

Sinclair said killing off your own characters can be beneficial, but only if they’ve achieved their maximum number of points.

“I was about to kill my guy because he had all +15 [a total of +45], but Roberto played -30 dead,” Sinclair said.  “So I lost all my points because he killed it prematurely with nothing.”

The game is unique for more than one reason: its cards are completely see-through.  This, Tiffany said, is a great new feature that older versions of the game do not have. She said the transparency of the cards makes gameplay easier because players can stack the cards without obscuring what’s underneath.

14_gaming_web4

UNT students and alumni gather around a Pandemic board. The game is collaborative, meaning players work in teams.

Virtually anything is possible in Gloom, she said. During the course of the game, bears ate one of Ricardo’s characters.

Many board games have just as much of a following as card games do. Sitting on two couches facing each other, UNT students taught each other how to play Pandemic, a collaborative game that encourages teamwork.

“That was a super interesting concept,” logistics and supply chain management senior Louis Bradford said. “I haven’t played a board game where you’re supposed to work together.”

Journalism graduate student Chase Carter said he was trying to teach his colleagues how to play, but his plan backfired after his team lost.14_gaming_web5

Business sophomore Jesica Rios, left, enjoys a game of Ticket to Ride next to her resident assistant, kinesiology junior Amanda Arent-Brito. In this game, players try to build train tracks between cities. 

He said he didn’t care about being on the losing team.

“Every loss, you want to play a little bit more,” he said.

Unlike other games, Pandemic also allows players to stay in for the entire game whether they’re winning or losing.

“This game was more about competing against the game itself,” accounting graduate student Michael Shumate said. “You win or lose together.”

Other games played included Dixit, a card game similar to Apples to Apples but played entirely with pictures, and Puerto Rico, a board game where players build their own cities and trade items with each other.

Robson, media circulation manager Steven Guerrero and science and technical writing senior Lauren Heckler created their own board game after they came up with the idea for the convention.  The game is called Zombie Panic.

“I had zero appreciation for board games until I started playing them,” Robson said.  “This is some really neat stuff.”

Featured Image: A wide variety of game choices are available for convention attendees. The event took place in Bruce Hall on Saturday afternoon. Photos by Erica Wieting – Staff Writer

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