VeggieVaders! by Andrew Sunwood

Probably one of the most confusing games to understand, it feels much better to actually play than just learning rules. Once you understand the concept, VeggieVaders becomes incredibly straight-forward. VeggieVaders requires a bunch of bacteria flags, plant receptors, things to cancel out receptors, and more plant receptors/R-proteins to cancel out the things that canceled out the plant receptors. Some questions arise such as, What happens when the bacteria’s flag matches the plant’s receptor? How many points can the plant get if it has three matches? And which side will almost guarantee a victory: plant or bacteria?

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The VeggieVaders Game Board

VeggieVaders is mainly a game of luck. The objective of the game has both sides, plant and pathogen, drawing a total of eight cards and placing them on the board. The pathogens goal is to infect and invade the plant by having at most one of the first four drawn cards or flags matched by the plant receptor on the outside (first two rows); if there is a match on the outside, the pathogen will need an effector that matches the plant receptor inside (rows 3 and 4) in order to cancel out the match. For the plant, two of four cards or receptors need to match the pathogen’s flag in order to prevent “infection” on the outside, and one R-protein to match the pathogen’s effector on the inside. As seen in the VeggieVaders Game Board, the plant won because it matched the bacteria’s C flag with a C receptor in rows 1 and 2, and the F2 effector was matched with a F2 R-protein.

At first, we were all just having fun getting a feel for the game, and even after Dr. Mukhtar made it into a competition with great prizes at for the victor, it still had that easy going feeling. Of course, I got knocked out in the first round by Amir. My hopes wasted away and I thought I would help train Jeremiah because he got a free ticket to the semifinal of the VeggieVaders tournament. But with my luck, he had to leave, and guess who his replacement was? Me. Game on – I had a chance to win this tournament and beat my arch-nemesis Amir. I defeated JaKara in my semifinal match drawing three bacteria effectors to cancel out three of her matching plant receptors.

The final match placed me against Amir, the one who knocked me out of the tournament in the first round. The tension could be felt during this final. Not a sound could be heard from the spectators. Everyone waited to see which player would get the lucky draw to win the game. I won’t go into anymore details, but in a total of three rounds, Amir won 2-1. He played as the plant side twice if that answers your question of “Which side should I choose?”.

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OUTPACE Students playing the game

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The final between Amir and me

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The Final Game Board!

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