Penn College Industrial Design Student Creates Scavenger Hunt Board Game | Education

Williamsport – A Pennsylvania College of Technology industrial design student has ‘rolled the dice’ with his graduation project – and his decision looks like a winner!

Jersey Shore’s Cullen S. Berfield designed a board game for his flagship project. Complete with innovative rules, dice, player pieces, boards, and cards, this unique effort marries his affinity for strategy games with his artistic instincts.

“I’ve always loved board games because they bring people together,” Berfield explained. “Bringing people together for a period of time, whether it’s for half an hour or a few hours, is something that I find special.”

Since the start of the semester, Berfield has spent countless hours bringing his game idea to life, from brainstorming to design and testing to production.

“I enjoyed every aspect,” he said. “I thought, ‘Why not make a board game that breaks the rules? Why not make it three-dimensional?'”

“Seekers of the Sacred” was born.

The objective of the game is to accumulate the most points while exploring a 3D temple. Players must scale the outside of the temple before accessing the different layers. Points are earned by discovering treasures on each level and “robbing” other players. The game is intended for two to four people aged 12 and over.

“As far as strategy goes, it’s a great mix of luck and skill,” Berfield said.

The desire to employ his mix of skills led Berfield to industrial design, the practice of turning ideas into designs for marketable projects and systems. He came to Penn College as a building construction technology student, but changed majors after touring the industrial design lab and interacting with Thomas E. Ask, the professor who created and oversees the program.

Cullen S. Berfield of Jersey Shore, an industrial design student at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Source: Penn College

“It’s one of the best programs I could have chosen for myself,” Berfield said. “Like many other students, seeing a professor so enthusiastic and passionate about the major helped me realize that it was for me. Plus, the mix between art and engineering was the perfect fit.”

His artistic ability encompasses more than the creative use of computer-aided design and engineering software required by the major. Berfield plays guitar for the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division band, the oldest professional band in the state.

Berfield joined the National Guard after graduating from high school and focused on air operations before offering his musical talent to the band. He has been playing the guitar since he was 7 years old. The National Guard experience provided an opportunity to savor another interest cultivated during childhood: board games.

During downtime on Guard weekends, Berfield and another reservist and board game enthusiast delve into their shared collection of games. The activity reminds him of precious times playing chess and other games with his grandfather. This also reflects its future purpose. Berfield wants to be a professional board game designer.

His senior project could be the gateway to realizing this dream.

“Showing my creativity and ability to take a small idea or theme and turn it into a solid, creative game will at least hopefully give me a little leverage to work at a game company,” Berfield said.

Ask sees such potential.

“Cullen is passionate and talented,” the professor said. “He has a clear vision for his designs. He is very creative and willing to work hard. No one has ever designed a game in our program. Cullen’s project shows the interdisciplinary nature of design, where appeal, fun and challenge are all intertwined.”

Seekers of the Sacred includes five card types; four dice, player pieces, player storage areas and boards; and three structural parts. Berfield designed all of the elements except for the artwork on the player cards, which was created by his classmate Matthew P. Sauer of Fleetwood.

seekers cards.jpg

The game cards feature artwork by Cullen’s classmate Matthew P. Sauer of Fleetwood. Source: Pennsylvania College of Technology

“Making a piece for a board game is easy, but creating lots of pieces that work well together is the hardest part,” Berfield said.

Testing the game with a variety of people was the other major challenge. Social distancing requirements resulting from COVID-19 have limited Berfield’s testing group.

“Overall, it seemed like everyone enjoyed playing the game, but the only real perspective I get is from my friends, family, and myself, which can completely skew my results. “, did he declare.

When the restrictions are lifted, Berfield hopes to test the game with people representing a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Those comments could lead to a few tweaks before he’s ready to release Seekers of the Sacred to a game company or sell it on his own.

Much like the game itself, living this reality depends on skill and luck, which suits Berfield just fine.

“Even if only a few people end up playing the game, if they enjoy it, it would be worth it,” he said. “If the reaction isn’t what I was hoping for, I’ll go back to designing more games, and that’s definitely a win for me.”

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