We tried 6 board games from Ohio designers, and here’s how they rate

Ohio Gaming Brigade was at it once again this past weekend.

The group was at UD Con, University of Dayton’s annual gaming convention, hosting another “Dayton Designed” event.

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Dayton Designed gives game creators from all over Ohio a chance to showcase their games. These designers have projects in various stages of production, ranging from simple paper print-outs to full-fledged mass market games. The gamers who attend try out the projects and give valuable feedback.

We went to Dayton Designed at UD Con and played a bunch of these homegrown games to tell you about some of the best.

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In the distant future, space athletes play an arena sport called Hexfall, where they jump onto objects and try to capture star tiles in the center of the board. But in Hexfall, gravity affects each player differently.

“‘Down’ is different for every player,” says Paul Cunningham, creator. “We're born with an innate expectation of how gravity works, but Hexfall turns that assumption on its head. Watching a player experience that ‘eureka’ moment when they figure out clever ways to make gravity work for them, that's my favorite part.”

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The King’s Guilds  

In most games, players all compete on a level playing field. They’re all given the same tools to use on their path toward victory. The King’s Guilds is totally different.

In this game, created by Toledo resident Nathan Woll, each of the 5 players takes a different path toward achieving the same goals. One player might roll dice, while another lays tiles, while another manages a hand of cards.

"I wanted to create a game that would allow players to play to their strengths," Woll says, "or play the type of game they most enjoy. Or simply play to their mood."  
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Hamilton's Wraith Games represented the only digital game at Dayton Designed. Their unique puzzle app, Collapsus, turns the genre on its head. The player taps brightly colored squares, trying to make rows and columns of four. But in this game, you can turn your device and change the direction the pieces fall.

“There are all sorts of the same-old, same-old puzzle games on the market,” says Wraith’s Jay Kidd. “Collapsus makes you think in new ways. To us, that's what makes a good game.”

Dwarven Defenders

Local game company Blackfall Press was testing an awesome semi-cooperative board game. In Dwarven Defenders, up to 4 players take on the role of dwarves protecting their sacred tomb, while a fifth sends undead to defile it.

We asked designer Andy Klosky, “Why dwarves?”

“Dwarves are the ultimate badasses of the fantasy world,” he says. While elves and hobbits are skipping across the valley, dwarves are in the trenches, battle axe in one hand, mortar launcher in the other, ready to beat down the barrow-wight scourge!"

UD graduate game designer Tom Maly’s board game plays out like a classic Japanese monster movie. Players battle against each other, rolling dice and using special attacks to cause damage.

Maly plans to seek crowdfunding on Kickstarter this summer.

Maly expresses nervousness but is ultimately optimistic that the project will get the funding it needs to reach the production phase.

“Anytime you Kickstart a project there is always the chance it might fail,” he says, “but seeing how much fun people had playing Daikaiju Director at Dayton Designed has really proven to me that it is a ready.”

This beautiful, anime-inspired battle card game was the only project at Dayton Designed that has completed production. The designer, Adam Wik, a Wright State MBA, will be hosting a release party for Galatune at D20 on April 15.

"Game design isn't all fun and games,” Wik tells us. “There's so much stress behind the scenes. But at the end of the day, it all feels worth it when you can bring joy to the gamers who supported you along the way.”

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