Students get their game on

Bradley students made their move with their own board game.

Junior interactive media majors Zachary Abbott, Arwen Boyer and Joshua Estill have been offered a publishing contract with Advanced Primate Entertainment (APE) Games, a board and card game publisher based in Houston, Texas, for their original game “Dark is the Night.”

Boyer said “Dark is the Night” started as a class assignment last year. Her instructor had each group in the class enter their games in the 2015 Mint Tin Contest.

“The main hook of this contest was that whatever games were entered had to be able to fit inside a regular Altoids mints tin,” Boyer said. “I tried to come up with something that wasn’t too complex and had a board and game pieces that could all be printed out on paper and folded.”

For the competition the group created “Dark is the Night,” a two-player tabletop game in which one player is a hunter and the other is a monster. The goal of the game is to navigate the board and eliminate the other player before time runs out.

“The hunter has several different items they can use to hunt down the monster, and the monster has a special move they can use to escape danger,” Boyer said. “Most of these things can only be done once during the game, so it matters when and where the player decides to utilize the changes for each game.”

Abbot said the group’s instructor later encouraged them to submit the game to SaltCon, a board game convention in Utah. There it caught the attention of Kevin Brusky, founder and President of APE Games.

Brusky and the students emailed back and forth for a couple of months about making certain changes to the game. Then in April, Brusky offered them a publishing contract.

“It was so surreal, and it still is,” Abbot said. “When we started working on this game, it was for class, and we just decided to have fun with it. I would have never expected it to go this far, but I am very excited for the future of ‘Dark is the Night.’”

Boyer said regardless of the publishing contract, the game has been a tremendous learning experience for her.

“This project taught me a lot about what it really means to design a game for the game’s sake,” Boyer said. “Since it was tabletop, we didn’t need to worry about audio, animation, coding, bugs or anything else that comes along with digital game creation.”

Boyer said the project also taught her the importance of spreading her work beyond the classroom.

“Our game would have never been published if we had just shelved it as a completed assignment and never looked at it again,” Boyer said. “If you’re proud of something you’ve done, show it off.”

Abbot said he encourages aspiring designers to take pride in their work and have fun with it.

“That energy follows you into your everyday interactions, and it shows to employers, publishers and other designers,” Abbot said. “If you have passion and genuine joy in regards to the work you are doing, you will get noticed.”

APE Games will launch a Kickstarter campaign for the game’s production sometime this month. Boyer said if the Kickstarter is successful, then the plan is to publish the game sometime in early 2017.

For more information on Dark is the Night, visit apegames.com/portfolio/dark-is-the-night.