‘Dark is the Night’ in the spotlight

Two daring players can act as a hunter and a monster in Dark is the Night, a tabletop game created by three Bradley game design students. Tomorrow, others can learn more about the game when it is displayed for the International Games Day conference in Chicago.

The creators, seniors Arwen Boyer, Joshua Estill and Zachary Abbott, said they made Dark is the Night as an assignment for a class.

Essentially, the game itself was born in our Game Design 1 class, where we were tasked with making a game that fit into an Altoids box, Abbott said. The theme of being stuck in the dark with an unseen monster was a constant drawing point of inspiration for us in regards to the overall mechanics of the game.

In the class, each group sent their entries to BoardGameGeek, where the 2015 Mint Tin Design Contest was held and judged. Dark is the Night won second place in the Best Theme category.

According to Boyer, the team spent hours figuring out the mechanics of the game and what they wanted it to be about.

We tried to come up with something that wasn’t too complex and had a board/game pieces that could all be printed out on paper and folded to fit inside the tin, Boyer said. After my team and I decided to go with the hunter vs. monster/darkness vs. light idea, the design process just included game balancing. We achieved this by conducting many hours of playtesting, which helped us pinpoint flaws in the game’s design that needed to be ironed out before we could call it finished.

Organizers of International Games Day, which is celebrated annually at Chicago Public Library, reached out to the team asking the students to attend and to display their game. Acccording to the students who worked on the development of the game, being featured at the convention is a great way to spread awareness of the game.

The “Dark is the Night” board game was created by three Bradley seniors.
Photo by Hannah Snidman

I’m excited to be able to show our game off at such a large and popular venue, Estill said. I’m very proud of our game and the recognition it’s received. It’s exciting and surreal at the same time.

Now that the group is in their final year of college, they have had other tasks to focus on besides Dark is the Night.

Right now, all three of us are in our senior game design capstone class, which is a year-long project in which we create a full, polished game from start to finish, Boyer said. It’s currently our main project and top priority, and the finished product will be displayed at the Interactive Media department’s FUSE show in May.

Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Interactive Media, Ethan Ham, taught the students in their Game Design 1 class two years ago.

I’m thrilled that their game was published, Ham said. It’s beautifully put together and has been getting a great response. I think it’s exciting that they’ll be able to introduce their game to a bunch of new fans at the Games Day.

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