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Post-apocalyptic steam punk America setting for Cornish game industry talent     

Published: 25th March 2021

A futuristic frontier thriller with a twist was the theme at the premiere of the 2021 Board Game School at Cornwall College Camborne.  

Games design students hosted the event, which was a celebration of two weeks dedicated to creating a brand-new board game.  

The game, ‘Over the Desert Rim’, is a four-player dice-based strategy game where guilds race to the West of America in steam-powered monstrosities called crawlers, seizing resources and battling other players.  

Matthew Warner, Study Program Manager for Games Design at the College, said that Board Game School is a fundamental part of the year for the students on the course. “The project gives our students the complete experience of creating something new from scratch, including the concept, mechanics, rules, and production involved in creating a board game, as well as arranging a VIP premiere in just two weeks,” he added. 

“Board Game School gives the students valuable employability skills and a personal understanding of how media production works, culminating in a playable finished game. They did incredibly well and even managed to host a Covid-safe premiere, for a panel of staff members.”  

Thomas James Kingsley, 16, a former Penryn College student, was the creator of the concept and game director for this year’s project.  

“I was apprehensive at first, but over time I settled into the role and had a lot of fun learning from and interacting with different people whether it be from a classmate, project manager or panel member,” he said.  

Daisy Heath, also 16 and fellow Penryn College alumni, was the art and assets head of department for the two-week project.  

“As the board game had a theme of exploration, we looked at old style maps and their icons for the board design, which also fit the post-apocalyptic narrative,” she explained.  

“For the player pieces we developed from old style wagons to “Mortal Engine” style vehicles. My favourite part of the process was building up the assets on the board pieces as it was like making a mini world”. 

Both students are hoping to progress to the Falmouth University Games Design once they complete their course at Cornwall College Camborne.  

Rory Mason, Head of Cornwall College Camborne, said Board Game School is a project that takes students out of the normal timetable, giving them a focused, industry relevant experience, where teamwork, effective collaboration and scheduling are the key. 

“What our students achieve in such a minimal amount of time is extraordinary and demonstrates the value of such dedicated projects,” he explained.  

“Anyone interested in a career in games design can follow in these learners’ footsteps and take part themselves in their own Board Game School if they join the course,” he explained.  

“Taking part is a great asset to help expand CVs and personal show reels, essential when applying for jobs in the industry.”  

The Live Arts and Media department at Cornwall College is renowned for its provision, having secured numerous awards, including national recognition for its ‘Creative Curriculum’ approach to teaching.  

Past students have gone on to work in prestigious roles across media, including working on the Star Wars franchise, joining top games design companies and helping develop international TV programmes.  

Cornwall College Camborne is part of The Cornwall College Group, which is investing millions in its campuses, student experiences and teaching.  

The Group has just received the top judgment from Ofsted, “significant progress”, following a monitoring visit.   

For more information on the Games Design courses on offer visit  www.cornwall.ac.uk or attend one of the college’s upcoming advice events. 

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16-19, Arts & Media, Digital Academy, Cornwall College, Cornwall College Camborne, Cornwall College Camborne

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