Cogswell Student Wins 'Best Horror Game Design' Contest Held by Ares Magazine

Dalton Techmanski - Winner of the Best Horror Game Design AwardJust in time for Halloween, Cogswell student Dalton Techmanski was the winner of the "Best Horror Game Design" Award from Ares Magazine. A media vehicle for short stories in the fantasy and sci-fi genres, each issue of Ares Magazine is delivered to subscribers along with a new game. He, with Cogswell student Clark Bode assisting, won for his work on Techmanski's original tabletop board game: "Affliction: Purity's Sorrow." The design behind "Affliction" is a one-or-more against-the-system engine in which players control a small band of heroes combating a pervasive evil army spreading "affliction" throughout the land. Regarding the game, Ares Magazine said, "One design led the pack in our contest, with high scores in Originality, Completeness, and Fun -the game 'Affliction.' It also had the best art. We felt that 'Affliction' would work well as a folio, POD, or PDF game. Kudos to the winning designer, Dalton Techmanski!"

Additionally, Cogswell students Christian Sasso and Deoel Noveno, equal contributors to their tabletop board game "Cannibal," earned Honorable Mention in the contest. Said Ares Magazine, "'Cannibal' was the simplest game design we evaluated - and the artwork was cartoony in a good way. It is an enjoyable romp on an island populated by cannibals and human-stomping giants."

David Wessman, Cogswell College Faculty Member in the school's Game Design & Development Program, said, "Game Design 1 is an introductory course intended to provide students with a solid foundation in basic game design skills. This includes developing a concept given specific goals and constraints, creating game mechanics and systems - the rules, as well as the physical systems design - the user interface / components, to produce a playable game that provides players with the desired aesthetic experience. The process is team-based and iterative, with lots of play-testing and feedback from classmates and the instructor."

He adds, "I'm always looking for appropriate contests that are open to student participation. This encourages students to think about their work as something more than just a classroom assignment. It is, in fact, part of their growing portfolio. It also tends to bring out their best efforts, because their games are being evaluated by professionals outside of the school environment. Success in this realm is a strong validation that the course structure and objectives are providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to enter the game industry."

"What is particularly impressive about this achievement by Dalton Techmanski is that this particular contest represented a surprise shift in our course content. I had a different project in mind when I learned of the contest, but when I asked the class if they would be up to the challenge, the answer was unanimously positive - even though they would only have a little over two weeks to complete their games! The win for 'Affliction' is a testament to the hard work and creativity of our students, and their ability to deliver high quality, competitive products on a very tight schedule. Oh, and by the way, this was just the second of the four game projects they made in the class!" Wessman concludes.


The Ares Magazine contest marked that magazine's first ever game design contest. Each of the games submitted were horror-themed games. The magazine judged the games using objective criteria, including factors such as originality, completeness, practicality and fun. Ares Magazine judges said, "We were astounded by the quality of all of the designs that were submitted to us. We didn't know what to expect since this was our first contest, so we braced for the worst. We had a lot of fun running this contest - no doubt we'll be lining up another one soon." To read more about the Ares Magazine contest, please see:

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October 23, 2014