When it came to the Big Elmen Event, the Elmen Center staff wasn’t playing around.
However, everyone else got to play. Junior Ali Ramsley and senior Michelle Braun, both team leaders for Recreational Services, planned the Big Elmen Event (“The Big E”) around a very playful theme: life-size board games.
This is the first time the Elmen Center has done their version of the Big Event in the spring, and Ramsley said “there seems to be a lot of interest in it.”
The idea to use board games as the theme was a pretty random decision, Ramsley and Braun said. Braun threw it out as an option during a brainstorming session, and it stuck.
Ramsley and Braun based the Late Night event on popular childhood games, adapted to be life-size compatable. Seven games were chosen to be a part of the evening’s festivities: Life, Candyland, Battleship, Where’s Waldo, Yahtzee, foosball, and Rock ’em sock ’em Robots.
Each game was set up in a separate area of the Elmen, and students could participate in any events they wished. Upon entering the Elmen, each student automatically entered the game of Life. For each activity, students accrued “Life” points, which could be turned in at the end of the night for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Best Buy.
While most of the games stayed true to the actual form of the game, some had to be adapted to fit the life-size requirements, but as much as possible, “we used the aspects of the game to create the activity,” Braun said.
For instance, Candyland was simply the snack area, Ramsley said. Risk became a glorified game of dodgeball, complete with war barricades, a smoke machine and flashing lights.
The life-size version of Battleship involved less strategy and more sinking. Students signed up on teams to command their own canoes in the pool. Each was given a bucket with a single goal: sink the other canoe.
While the Waldo hunt was life-size, the Waldo wasn’t. Hidden behind posterboards and in stairwells, Waldo provided the finder with bonus “Life” points.
Yahtzee gave the rollers bonus points as well, but students only played with half of the roll options to accommodate the extra time it took to roll six life-size dice.
Both Yahtzee and human foosball were held in the racquetball courts. Human foosball was team-oriented as well, with students holding a long PVC pipe under their arms and moving back and forth laterally, attempting to kick a soccer ball into the Elmen-employee guarded goals.
Freshman Janae West played foosball, Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots, and Yahtzee, and said it was a welcome change to the typical night of studying.
“It’s fun,” she said. “I get to spend time with people doing things other than homework.”
Ramsley and Braun both want the spring Big Elmen Event to carry on into future years.
“We’re hoping this will be an annual thing; this big hoo-rah in the spring.”
The team leaders are unsure what next year’s theme will be, but it might be hard to top playing favorite childhood games.