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The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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The excitement of football in a card game’: Junior Harrison Brooks nominated for TAGIEs’ Rising Star of the Year

Illustration by Shveta Shah
NU student Harrison Brooks is nominated for Rising Star of the Year for Fourth Down, a football-themed card game he created with NU student Cameron Briskin.

McCormick junior Harrison Brooks was nominated for the 2023 Toy and Game International Excellence Awards’ Rising Star of the Year earlier last month. Brooks and McCormick junior Cameron Briskin created the football-themed card game, called Fourth Down.

This is not the first nomination for Brooks, a 2020 Young Inventor of the Year finalist for his first game, ElevatorUp. 

“I know I’ve grown a lot and learned a lot and created a whole new game since then, but I still was shocked to have gotten nominated,” Brooks said.

From playing rummy with his grandmother to card games with his sister, games have always played an important role in Brooks’ life. Brooks said he always knew he wanted to create games that facilitate social interactions and interpersonal connections.

He developed ElevatorUp at the age of 16 based on his daily interactions with elevators growing up in New York City. With an easy and quick-paced experience, the game received over 200 five-star ratings on Amazon and one particularly touching email, inspiring Brooks to take on his next project.

While studying in Norris University Center with Briskin during his first year at NU, Brooks received a message from an ElevatorUp fan who said the game had resonated with her grandson, an elevator enthusiast who carried the card game everywhere he went. 

“The fact that something I created was that important to him really re-inspired me to want to keep working on ElevatorUp and also keep creating other games that can speak to people in the same way,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ company, Brokli LLC, caught Briskin’s attention. The former legal intern would join Brooks on his next business venture. The duo then brainstormed three new game concepts that combined their interests and passions. 

After settling on football as the inspiration for his game, Briskin began drawing up the initial designs and layouts for their game that very night. 

As the lead graphic designer, Briskin spent six months sketching designs on his iPad and conferring with Brooks to create ideal illustrations and layout. 

“One card might’ve taken 20 hours or 50 hours,” Briskin said. “But after doing maybe five of the unique designs, I got it down quicker and quicker and quicker and learned new skills on Procreate that made it a lot faster of a process.”

With finished designs, they sent prototypes to friends and family, generating interest for their Kickstarter. Brooks launched the Kickstarter in May 2023 and exceeded his goal by June 2023, which raised over $3,000.

In September, Brooks launched the game on Amazon under Brokli. 

McCormick junior Emilia McDougal was one of the game’s first customers. She loved Brooks’ earlier game and played Fourth Down with both her younger brother and her friends at NU. 

McDougal said she loves the excitement of the game. 

“One of the reasons that I love Northwestern is you can have a friend that’s super passionate about a project and see it go from the beginning to the end during your time here,” she said. “So, something that’s really cool is (that) a friend from my dorm freshman year is now creating a card game that got nominated for an amazing award.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @zoejchao

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