Columbia students create card game in honor of AAPI month

CeFaan Kim Image
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Columbia University masters students create AAPI card game
A card game by Columbia University masters students is called Trailblazer Heroes and has complex strategies aimed at teaching about AAPI history. CeFaan Kim has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A group of masters students at Columbia University hope their new card game will help raise AAPI awareness and overcome hate.

If you didn't know any better, watching a VR play and seeing the video game consoles, and shelves of board games that stretch from floor to ceiling, you might think it is all fun and games.

But what you're looking at is a group of students who may be on the brink of making history -- or teaching it to be more exact.

"We use games and the power of games to get people to see the world in a new way or learn things in a more effective way or to use the power of games to shift attitudes or make a behavioral change," said Dr. Joey Lee.

Dr. Lee is the Director of the Games Research Lab at Columbia University. It's where masters students design games for educational and social impact.

Their latest game is meant to educate and inspire.

"Only one in four people can think of any significant Asian American and they also have a poor sense of Asian American history," Dr. Lee said.

"Just imagine these cards as trading cards. We thought it would be really inspiring say if you have like baseball cards. People are inspired by the people on the cards; they'll trade them and be able to share their stories," said student Sharleen Loh.

"Like Chien-Shiung Wu, the first lady of physics, or Fred Korematsu who was a civil rights activist during World War II who protested Japanese internment, or Daniel Dae Kim actor, or CeFaan Kim," Dr. Lee said.

It's called Trailblazer Heroes and it's a card game with complex strategies.

It also includes food from different Asian cultures, with the goal of overcoming real-life challenges like racism or the cultural stigma of mental health struggles.

In fact, the students are joining a growing national trend to teach AAPI history.

There are now 10 states that mandate AAPI studies in classrooms, including Connecticut and New Jersey.

More than a dozen more have introduced legislation that would require AAPI studies.

In New York, legislation to mandate AAPI history into school curriculum has been introduced but not yet passed into law.

Nine-hundred school districts though across the state, including all the major districts like New York City, have already gone ahead and incorporated into classrooms.

With that in mind, these students not only designed their card game for friends and families, but also for teachers.

"If it takes like 20, 30 minutes, then a teacher could use it within a 50-minute class," they said.

Their goal is to foster education, overcome hate, and raise awareness one hand at a time.

"We believe game has the power to be transformative and we hope it can also be a catalyst for change," said student Miao Liu.

ALSO READ | NYPD pulls off daring rescue after scare on Staten Island Ferry

A daring rescue took place in the middle of New York Harbor on Monday. Josh Einiger has the exclusive.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.