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CUDO Plays Board Games

By: Liara Aber

Whether it's Monopoly or shoots and ladders, board games are everyone's favorite pastime. In Champaign Urbana, people are making their own.

This past Tuesday, community members tested board games they’ve been working on since the fall at a CUDO Plays event in the Fab Lab. The Champaign Urbana Design Organization created CUDO Plays, a board game design competition, almost 9 years ago. CUDO Plays contestants create games from nothing. Molly Cooper is on the board for CUDO and says the group helps a wide range of people. That could be any U of I student to local families. Cooper likes the community CUDO builds around gaming “and getting people to realize that they can actively participate in this hobby and create things that are really cool.”

She says contestants have access to laser cutters, 3D printers, a poster printer, and various computer programs in the Fab Lab to create their games. This weekend, game makers will turn their finished games in to a panel of anonymous judges. They will then decide on awards, presented at a Grand Exhibition later on. Brian Buckley has been attending CUDO Playtest events for 4 years. He decided to enter a game he made for the first time this year. Buckley’s masterpiece is a magical card memory game, inspired by his son. Buckley appreciates the game-making experience. He says “it’s been fun trying to put things together” and have “a basic idea of how the whole thing operates.”

This last week has been hectic at the FabLab. Competitors have taken an idea from the fall, worked it into a game, and are in the final stretch of the contest. For the game-makers the pursuit to monopolize the competition has been worth the risk. Contests will be receiving awards and showing off their finished games at the Grand Exhibition on April 8th. The free event will be hosted at the Broadway Food Hall and is open to anyone interested in playing some new board games.

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