April 28, 2008

Risk Board Game Moves Online and to C.U

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Cornell students, arm yourselves. GoCrossCampus, an online version of the board game Risk, has invaded Cornell’s campus.
Initially played between colleges in the Ivy League Championship Tournament, GoCrossCampus has established a game exclusive to Cornellians, becoming an intra-campus battle. Divided by the various possible residences on and off campus, Cornell students vie to take over the halls and libraries of this virtual battleground. At the present, the Cook/Becker/Bethe team is in the lead with Off Campus, Program Houses with the Gothics/C-Town Dorms/Co-Ops trailing close behind. The freshmen residence teams are the weakest.
GoCrossCampus, which has the motto “Conquer your campus. Win your World,” aims to bring people who live on the same physical campus closer. Through this team-based game, the website hopes to imbue campus members with a sense of community.
On their website, GoCrossCampus explains the greater benefits of participating in this local game rather than the very popular networking website Facebook.
The GoCrossCampus website states, “After all, linkages in a social network are designed for action and fun, not counting and ‘poking.’”
Last November, Cornell was part of the Ivy League Championship Tournament. Although Princeton ended up the victor of the tournament, Cornell achieved an honorable second place.
Muhammed Sameed ’11, chief of special ops for the Cornell team in the Ivy League Championship Tournament, was responsible for providing ideas to the commander and recruiting more students. Sameed expressed his positive experience with his involvement in the tournament.
“I learned about GoCrossCampus through a couple of kids in my dorm,” Sameed said. “The tournament helped me meet a lot of kids on campus. I definitely gained some friendships from the competition.”
Not only did Sameed build a social network on campus through the tournament, but he also gained a greater understanding of strategy and computer programming.
“A few of the Ivies like Yale were using the computer program macros that basically did their strategy for them. Although the Cornell team never used this program, it taught me a lot about game strategy.”
Jason Lustig ’11 led the Cornell team during this arduous campaign of the Ivy League. Last month, in an effort to get more Cornell students involved in the team-building competition, Lustig and others helped create the Cornell exclusive game that is currently underway.
Not only does Lustig enjoy playing the game, he also understands that GoCrossCampus has greater implications for the Cornell community. Like the rally-around-the-flag effect in organizational behavior, GoCrossCampus seems to bring people together in situations of conflict.
“It brings a lot of people together to discuss strategy and game theory,” Lustig said. “And I think it also creates friendships.”
While the intensity varies greatly from player to player, Lustig suggested that the game is not a major time commitment for the average player. He compared the game to any other activity on the computer, whether it be checking one’s e-mails or writing on someone’s Facebook wall.
“Usually a player checks the game like once a day for five minutes,” Lustig said. “It’s not very time consuming if you don’t want it to be. It’s another thing to do on the web.”
In looking at Cornell’s present intracampus game, Lustig predicts a West Campus victory. However, he still feels that it could be any team’s game.
“It’s been changing a lot,” Lustig said. “But it looks like West Campus is going to take it.”
Matt Pearson ’09, a commander for the West Campus team, explained the two-part strategy behind his team’s present lead. Besides recruiting members, the West Campus team allied with other teams to defeat the Greek system team, which was originally in the lead.
“The fraternities and sororities had the most territories in the beginning of the game,” Pearson said. “However, we ganged up on them with a couple of other teams and took the lead. The number of participants is also very important in the game. Each team is given an army with each new person and your number of armies is based on territories.”
In looking at Cornell’s success in future Ivy League Championship Competitions, recruitment is the Cornell’s team main goal. Sameed hopes that this new intracampus game will recruit more members for next year’s tournament.
“Recruiting was our biggest problem during the competition,” Sameed said. “Even though we have such a huge campus, there was a general apathy on campus. I think that this Cornell game will attract more members for next year’s tournament so that we can take first place.”