We have a published game-creator on staff! Kathleen Mercury, the Gifted Teacher for Apogee at Ladue Middle School, has recently signed a contract with IDW, a game publisher for her board game, Crash Course.
The game is currently in the development phase, which means that it is currently undergoing playtesting and tweaking of the rules. “It’s exciting to be part of this process as a designer, as I’ll get to work with a variety of other game design professionals to push this game to completion,” Kathleen said.
Crash Course is a race game in space, where players race around a circular board trying to outlast the other racers by using lasers, shields and other fun toys. IDW has a game in the works called “Rayguns and Rocketships,” and this game will fit into that story line.
Her love of games translates to the classroom, too! Teaching board game design has been a part of the Apogee curriculum for the last 10 years, Kathleen said, but for the last eight years or so, the students have shared their games online. They engage in online discussion and answer questions from other games, designers and publishers. You can check out some of the students’ work here!
“The response to students’ designs has been amazing, with so much appreciation shown for their innovative ideas and novel approaches to game design,” Kathleen said.
“The design process provides students with an open-ended, self-determined problem that they have to create a solution by creating a prototype, testing it, getting feedback, and reworking the prototype based on feedback,” Kathleen said. “Design-thinking teaches so many important skills for any kind of idea that students want to bring to fruition, and I try to emphasize how universal this process is.”
And Kathleen understands the hard work and perseverance that is required for the game-creators; she and her partner Mark Sellmeyer spent several years building Crash Course. And all of their determination will culminate in the sharing of it with the public! Kathleen said that Crash Course will hopefully be available by the holidays.
For other students interested in games, Kathleen also offers a board game club that meets every Thursday. She keeps 25 slots open, and they fill up quickly each week. Kids can stay until 5 p.m. with their parents permission. Students of all ages and experience are welcome, and everyone is included in a game!
Kathleen is grateful for the encouragement her colleagues have given her: “Thank you all so much for all of your support for my board game endeavors with board game design teaching and professional development. I keep telling students that hard work pays off, as well as patience, and it’s nice to have evidence to support this idea! :)”
You can read more about Kathleen’s teaching game design here in an interview done by the Cardboard Republic!