Artwork #4 Final Iteration Freshmen Challenge Game

by | Dec 5, 2017 | Artwork #4: Experience

Tabletop role playing Game: Freshmen Challenge

This is one tabletop role playing game. The game story based my first semester experience of university life. There are three players who can select three different roles randomly. Three roles are students who come from different majors: Computer Science, Sociology, and Business major. Different major students can have one special quality that can provide advantages in game. There are six chapters in the game and every chapter represents two weeks in the semester. In every chapter, some events will happen and players should make some choices for these events just like they make decisions when facing some situations in the university. Every player will have five attributes including health, grade, friendship, happiness and scholarship. Every event has one rule and decisions made by players will make them gain points for these attributes or lose points. Player should utilize their major advantages and try to balance their attributes. When each event happens, players do not know rules of event until after making choices.


Attributes of characters:

Health Level: serious ill (1), disease (2), uncomfortable (3), sub-health (4),  common (5 – 7), health (8 – 10)

Grade Level: Fail (1 – 2) Poor achievement (3 – 4),   Good achievement (5 – 6),                        Satisfactory achievement (7 – 8), Outstanding achievement (9 – 10)

Friendship Level: unknown to public (1 – 3), sociable (4 – 5), glamorous (6 – 8),  popular (9 – 10)

Happiness Level: grieve (1 – 2), depression (3 – 4), dull (5 – 6), happy (7 – 8), excited (9 – 10)

Scholarship: Every month, when players’ grade level is higher or equal to 7, they can obtain one happiness and one friendship point.

Attention: If any score of four levels is too low, you will face some serious consequence.

Original Status:  Health: 5   Grade: 3   Friendship: 3   Happiness: 5


The characters of the game

  1. Business students:

Special characteristics: Every month (two chapters) you can gain one more friendship because you have good communicative skills and social ability. But you will lose one grade because you spend much time on social activities.

  1. Computer Science Students

Special characteristics: Special characteristics: Every month you can gain one more grade point because you have good learning skills. But you will lose one friendship every month because you are not family with communicating with others.

  1. Sociology Students:

Special characteristics: Every month (two chapters) you can gain one happiness point because you can analyze some social activities and enjoy them, but you also will lose one grade point because you did not spend much on professional courses.


The first-semester life in the university

Many main events and every event you can make different decisions

Every half of month is one chapter:

The first chapter:

  1. Student Orientation: Introduce yourself to other players:
  • Discussed with other fresh students: Gain one friendship point
  • Just leave and prepare for the upcoming learning: Gain one grade point
  • Just leave and play with your old friends: Gain one happiness point
  1. Because new semester is coming, many clubs invited you to join:
  • Choose to join one club: Every chapter, you can get one friendship and one happiness point, but every month you will lose one grade point
  • Do not join any club: Every chapter, you can get one grade point but every month you will lose one happiness
  1. Now, you should make one new plan for your semester, you are considering whether choose to do fitness every week
  • Do fitness on weekends: Every chapter gain one health point
  • Study in the library on weekends: Every chapter gain one grade point
  • Play with your friends: Every chapter gain one friendship point, you must make friends with at least one player

The second chapter:

  1. Because there are many assignments in this week and due day is coming, the tutoring time is in dinner time 6 pm, now you need to make some choices
  • Ask tutors for help and do assignment, but do not eat dinner and put off dinner time to midnight: gain one grade point but lose one health point
  • Enjoy your dinner and decide to solve problems solely: gain one health point and lose one grade point

The third chapter:

  1. There is one group project you need to finish, now you have some choices to do:
  • Find some students you are not family with to make one group: Gain two friendship points: throw one coin: head side gain two grade points, tail size lose two grade points, because you did not know your partners are good or not, maybe they are good at studying, but maybe they will do nothing in the group assignment
  • Find your friends in this class to make one group: Gain one friendship point and one grade points.
  1. The midterm exam is coming:

Any player whose grade is higher than 6 can gain one happiness point, and others lose one happiness point

The fourth chapter:

  1. The winter has come:

Any player’s health is lower or equal to 5 will get one sick: lose one grade points, one friendship and one happiness point.

  1. Your classmates organize one activity and invited some people to join:
    Any player’s friendship is lower or equal to 5 cannot take part in this activity: If players take part in it successfully, they can obtain one friendship and one happiness. Players who did not take part in it will lose one happiness point because they felt disappointed with it.

The fifth chapter:

  1. Thanksgiving holiday and make decisions:
  • Study at home: gain two grade points
  • Stay with your family gain two happiness points
  • Take one trip with your friend: gain one friendship and happiness point

The final chapter:

  1. Final Exam is coming:

Any player whose grade is higher than 6 can gain one happiness point and one friendship because they want to study with you, and others lose one happiness point

In this game, we should learn to adapt the new environment, learn to have to give up something because we have limited time and energies. It monitors real situations happened to me in the university.

Artist’s Statement:

From the Schrank’s Avant-garde Video Games book, I understand the avant-garde art game is not just one game, more important essences show they contain some cultural forces and other meaning ideas which makers want to express through games. In fact, I found purposes of four assignments we designed and created are not only for creating something for entertainment, but also, they inspired our creative, critical and artistic ideas and inspirations. The process of creating taught me a lot. Hence, in this final assignment, I want to combine these elements and created one independent and special game.

Firstly, after experienced the Friday independent and art game activity, I obtained much ideas about my game. Because that activity asked players to choose different status card, make groups and cooperate with each other, finish one project together and compete with other groups. The whole process included social status, communication skills, group work, competition and many conflict human nature problems. Therefore, I wanted to create one game that also can reflect some social problems or something we should learn for our future life. I wish my game not only can provide happiness for players, but also can affect them, bring some new deep thinking about their actions and decisions they made in their life. My original idea is about using my common school life elements to construct my game, especially for my American University. Because I found many events happened in my university life, especially for first year, told me how to confront some difficulties, control our motions, how to adapt unfamiliar environment, how to communicate and collaborate with others. Experiences in university have many related and important elements of our future social life.

Later, I saw the Cost of life game and played this Avant-garde Video Game. I found some elements I like and want to use, such as different characters for players, some attributes that can show results when some events happen and help player to judge something in the game, some special events will bring exciting points in the game and so on. In my game, attributes related to students including health, grade, friendship and so on. Roles are students who come from different majors. Because game should provide colorful elements like strategy, advantages, drawbacks and decisions made. Hence, I gave different roles special characteristics but also include disadvantages.

For considering this point, because in our first chapter “Score”, I know the game originated from life and when unity of art and life become part of game, this game will be endowed unique values. Elements in game indeed are representatives of some situations in life. The game is fair just like life is unbiased. In my game, computer science student is good at studying but are not familiar with communication. Business students focused on social skill because they want to run business and cooperate with people. For corresponding problems, they cannot spend much time on studying. Another point was random, because sometimes we have to rely on our luck in life. Score work taught me accidents hidden in life can create something beautiful and interesting result. I added this element in my game. For one event in my game, players can choose to work with strangers and friends. Choosing friend means they do not want random result and wish to get expected consequence. Choosing strangers means they want to one random result and do adventures. Random result can bring us more surprised but also maybe one depression.

Furthermore, the concepts of intervention promoted me to obtain more inspirations. Because intervention wants help people get rid of problems even dilemma that sometimes they did not feel. My game also wants to help students, especially for freshmen in the university to escape from nervous and confused conditions when they came to university first time. Hence, in this game, I picked up some meaningful and important college events happened to me and added some cooperating, competitive, and communication elements. The goal of this game is not gaining higher attributes. I wish players can experience, learn, and enjoy the process of making choices for their life. Because these events changed my mindset, improved my abilities and affected me a lot. I wished to provide my first-year university life experience for them and intervene them from dilemma that first time to go into university. I consider some problems I faced and freshmen will also face.

In conclusion, this game contains my university life experience, my story, feelings, and my harvest. I wish players can obtain my feeling and experiences from this theme game and simulated events. Winning is not always the final goal of one game. Experience can teach you a lot in the game, especially for the Avant-garde game.