UNIVERSITY graduates have designed a board game allowing players to build their own Oxford college and use literary figures like Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.
Strategy game Dreaming Spires was created by Jeremy Hogan, 29, and his team after he was inspired by the city’s “romantic” atmosphere in his time studying philosophy at University College.
He said: “During my time at university I fell in love with Oxford.
“I grew up in London and it can never be as quiet there as it is in Oxford sometimes.
“I was walking around the quadrangle one evening when I first arrived and I remember it was just everything I had hoped for.” The city’s oddball historical figures were also a source for ideas.
He said: “We have beautiful illustrations of people like JRR Tolkien, Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde and you use those characters to further your college’s reputation.”
“If, like me, you like quotes, there are also plenty of those.”
Requiring three to five players, the game’s timeline begins in 1189 and covers four different eras in which players must try to develop their college.
Graphic designer and lead artist Jessie Price, 29, grew up in Grandpont, South Oxford, and was put in touch with Mr Hogan through a friend.
Ms Price says she and fellow artist Amber Anderson drew inspiration for the design from Oxford’s rich history and ancient stone architecture.
She said: “We were trying to pull out the textures that people associate with Oxford University – all those deep reds and golds and old papers.
“There is a lot of sandstone in Oxford and we tried to make our palette rich and quite stately to get across the weight of history.
“Amber’s style is timeless and works through all the different eras.
“She had a lot of fun drawing the different people, particularly the Enlightenment era men who had very amusing hair-dos.”
The game has been picked up by international board game retailer Games Salute, which has a joint publishing deal with Mr Hogan.
In the deal, the company owns the exclusive rights to publish and sell the game but he keeps creative control.
The game will go on sale in various stores, including the Oxford University shop in High Street.
An online “try before you buy” version of the game is also available to download and print out.
Mr Hogan launched a ‘crowdfunding’ internet campaign via the Kickstarter website which has so far raised more than £11,500 to cover manufacturing and distribution costs.
He added: “I have been following Kickstarter since it started and I find the whole thing fascinating.
“It is exciting to finally have my own project there.”