Champaign-Urbana Board Game Design Competition

Champaign-Urbana Board Game Design Competition

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Guest post by Micah Kenfield.

The Champaign-Urbana area has a fairly vibrant maker community, with multiple makerspaces hosting everything from computer programming classes to woodworking.  One of our community organizations, the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization (, recently hosted its third exhibition for CUDO Plays.

Logo for the CUDOPlays design competition

CUDO Plays ( brings together aspiring board game makers to design, manufacture, and play-test their games. In addition to providing a community that supports the efforts and provides feedback, the game-makers are able to leverage the tools at local makerspaces to create their own game pieces and other components.  One very polished game called Democra-sea 3D-printed their pirate ship game piece from their own design, and laser-etched the box that held the pieces.

While many of the gamemakers are simply looking to create something fun to play with their friends within the CU gaming community, others hope to eventually manufacture their games on a larger scale.  Two games spun out from the CUDO community are currently running Kickstarter campaigns. Sabotile was well received at the second CUDO Grand Exhibition. Houdini’s Poutini didn’t compete in this year’s exhibition, but was available for demonstration. It’s a quick and simple card game where you’re a dinner guest of Houdini, trying to nicely leave the party before you taste his horrible cooking. It’s cute, easy to learn, and (ideally) coming soon to a game shelf near you.

Breaking into the board game industry can be very challenging, but the Maker community in Champaign-Urbana is doing what they can to make it easier. Have you ever created your own board or card game? Tell us about it in the comments below, or visit us on twitter @makerbridge!

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