Game on: Rebecca Horovitz teaches Girl Scouts basics of game design

By KRISTEN DOWD

The Sun

Thanks to a South Jersey game designer, Girl Scouts have the chance to earn their Digital Game Design Badge with a hands-on virtual workshop.

Rebecca “Becca” Horovitz is the designer of Annapurna: Leave No Trace Behind, a new tabletop game that started hitting stores in March. The Pitman resident, who grew up in Haddonfield and spent time living in Mullica Hill, partnered with the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey to teach Brownies and Junior Scouts how to design a board game.

While the registration deadline has passed for the upcoming workshops on May 25 and May 27, Horovitz is hopeful there will be more workshops scheduled in the future.

“We are very excited to have Rebecca offer this game design program for our Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts,” said Ginny Hill, GSCSNJ CEO. “By participating in the program, our girls will gain hands-on knowledge and upon completion, they will earn their Digital Game Design Badge. We are looking forward to this wonderful opportunity and thank Rebecca for sharing her expertise with the girls.”

Horovitz always knew she wanted to be an artist, but finding a preferred medium proved tricky. When she learned about game design, it seemed to be a perfect fit.

“Game design is something that uses multiple mediums to convey stories, interactions and puzzles,” Horovitz explained. “I get to not only do graphic design, but design what basically amounts to how a program works, and then tell a story if my game has a story aspect.”

In Annapurna, players must maintain their balance while climbing a mountain, using a combination of strategy, tactics and chance to reach the top. There are multiple modes of play – competitive, cooperative and solo – with a team version in the works. Horovitz also worked culture into the game, with the rule books including background about Nepal, where the game is based.

Annapurna was introduced in November by Fiat Lucre and launched through a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s available online and in select stores.

Horovitz can still barely believe it.

“It’s still setting in. It’s pretty awesome and I’m excited to see where it goes. I’m hoping that it catches on, but you never know what catches on,” she said.

When working on publicizing her new game, Horovitz linked up with the Girl Scouts. The organization’s focus on female entrepreneurship was a perfect fit, and finding out they had a Digital Game Design Badge was an added bonus.

“This is awesome. I’m super excited to meet these girls,” Horovitz enthused. “I’m excited and super hopeful I can live up to expectations and inspire them to succeed – and hopefully succeed more than I have. Every generation should be better than the previous one.”

Participating Girl Scouts will learn the intricacies of game design and, through the Tabletop Simulator website, will design their own maze game with elements provided by Horovitz. They will learn how coding is used for good, and how they can use games for education, too.

“They will explore all the tools that are used to do digital game design,” Horovitz explained. “During the event, they will build a maze game, improve the game … You never end up with what you started with.”

Horovitz never expected to share her game design knowledge through workshops, but she is excited and hopes to host more events with GSCSNJ in the future.

To learn more about Annapurna, visit www.annapurnaboardgame.com. To contact Horovitz, email annapurnaboardgame@gmail.com. For more information about the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey, visit www.gscsnj.org.