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Image via Liminal Games/Kickstarter.
Image via Liminal Games/Kickstarter.

A group of friends originally from Bellevue, Wash., many of whom also attended the University of Washington together, are approaching their $10,000 goal on Kickstarter to fund a board game. In just about a day, the group — which has named itself Liminal Games — has raised more than $9,600.

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Emergence game pieces

The game they’ve designed is called Emergence and it’s similar to the role-playing strategy game Mafia, with players assigned to opposing teams of humans or AIs. Each group tries protect itself while working against the opposition to survive. The only problem — at least for the AIs — is determining who’s who.

In every round, humans are in the minority, so the humans get to know who their teammates are from the beginning. The AIs do not know who their teammates are, but they have the numbers advantage as they work to eradicate the rebel humans.

The game is different from existing role-playing games because players also must accomplish a set objective on the game board in order to win. Gameplay involves traversing the board, gathering data and compiling that data into “knowledge tokens” that allow players to take actions on the board or to score “victory points.” The game ends when one team reaches its required victory point total or when all the data blocks run out.

The board also can be reconfigured to offer different options for gameplay with each round.

“We always enjoyed playing most board games, however, choosing one to play was always difficult, as we had differing opinions on what made a game fun,” the friends write on their Kickstarter page. “We began working on Emergence to try to create a unique experience that incorporated what we thought were the most exciting aspects of board game design.”

The team behind Liminal Games includes primary designers Billy Sheng, Benjamin Morgan and Jordan Roberts, who met during their freshman year at Bellevue High School. They were assisted by Adam Jacobson, Adrian Chan, Albert Byun, Andrew Lau, Austin Kihara, Chris Park, George Tang, Jarrett Thorsted, Spencer Mischka, Stephen Han, and Vincent Nguyen.

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