Students Bring the University to Life Through Game
Christelle Cyprien, Virtual Reality
Anthony Marquez, Game Design
Morgan Soetaert, Game Design, Game Programming
Known to University of Advancing Technology (UAT) students as the paper prototyping class, Game 170 is a game design prototyping workshop taught by Professor Hue Henry. Class projects are comprised of creating five physical games (two individual and three group projects), culminating in a final project where students are tasked with combining everything previously learned in class. Students Anthony Marquez, Christelle Cyprien and Morgan Soetaert brought a showstopper to the table with their final game project, UAT Invasion.
“When it comes to skills learned in the class, Professor Hue Henry is always asking if it’s fun. He always tells you, if it’s not fun, then scrap it out, because that’s the point of games. One thing I learned in this class is to really pay attention to how my play testers are reacting to this. Are they having a dull moment, or do they want to win/is it competitive?” shares Christelle.
UAT Invasion is a two-player board game based on UAT’s campus. Taking on the role of UAT professors or evil forms of AI, players compete to take over the most territories and rooms on the board. Team Professor plays to protect the campus while team AI tries to hack and take over control of the school with the end goal being the first player to control four of the seven rooms wins.
Starting the game in designated spots, each participant plays with three character markers that can move in any direction across the board, aside from diagonal. Focused on tactics, strategy, chance and skill, the game is played with movement cards and dice, and includes bonuses such as blocking, puzzles and special abilities.
How to Play:
- The participant playing the Professors goes first.
- On the first turn, the player draws a movement card. At the start of each consecutive turn, the player will draw the number of cards they used during their prior turn. For example, if a player uses two cards, such as a blocking card and a movement card, the player will draw two cards instead of one during their next turn. Each player is allowed to hold a maximum of seven cards in their hand at a time.
- Before moving at the start of their turn, players can use a blocking card to block any of the opponent’s characters on the board for one turn.
- To gain control of a room, players must land on that room and roll a die. If the room is empty, the player can roll any number and win control of the room. If the opponent has already taken control of that room, the player will have to roll the same number as the dice in the room or higher. If successful, they replace the opponent’s marker and the room has a new number to beat. If they fail, they can use their next turn to try again.
- To earn special abilities, players must land on a puzzle space that matches their characters and solve the puzzle in under two minutes. If they succeed, the player grabs the token for the space and earns a single-use ability based on the character in use. Players can use this ability whenever they want, as long as it’s during their turn. After the ability is used, the player will return the token to its matching space on the board.
- The board includes an elevator spot that enables players to move between stories.
Characters are classified as Programmers, Designers, Artists and Math Experts, and include many well-known faces around UAT. Play as Professors Derric Clark, Heather Peters and Matthew Marquit, to name a few, or the Monitor, Drone and Phone, and unlock special abilities depending on the chosen characters.
To earn special single use abilities, land on a matching player square and complete the puzzle. Designers unlock the ability for a player to move twice with the option to either move one character twice or move two characters once during that turn. Players will use a separate movement card each time. The Math Experts enable a player to change a die’s value. They can add a point to one of their dice or remove one from an enemy’s die. Programmers unlock the ability to roll a die twice when a player is attempting to capture a room. Artists enable players to shuffle the deck and swap their cards for new ones.
- Designers: Professors Lynn Understiller and Derric Clark vs. the Laptop and Flash Drive
- Math Experts: Professors Nathan Glover and Heather Peters vs. the VR Headset and Drone
- Programmers: Professors Adam and Moore Hue Henry vs. the Computer Tower and Monitor
- Artists: Professors Jorge Portillo and Matthew Marquit vs. the Phone and Art Tablet
UAT Invasion also includes a special room on the second floor of the board for Provost Dr. Dave Bolman, which has different rules from the other six rooms. At the start of the game, both players roll two dice to establish the number required to control this room. The dice are left in the room with a player marker. When a player reaches this room, they have 30 seconds to roll the predetermined number to win this room. If successful, the player will control this room for the rest of the game; the other player cannot steal this room. If they fail, the player can try again during their next turn.
When asked about her experience at UAT so far, team member Morgan Soetaert states, “I love it here. I love the environment. The people are just unique. We’re all very similar, you can talk to anyone and immediately have a related interest. The professors are helpful, and they really care about your education. I enjoy talking to all of them—they’re all very passionate.”
Team member Anthony Marquez shares a similar perspective, “My experience here has been really great. It’s not hard, but it’s not easy. You learn a lot because it’s really hands-on, and the teachers are cool because they’re just older versions of us. The people here [are my favorite], you can talk to anyone because they’re interested in the same things, you don’t feel left out here.”