About Double Cross


Movement is key! You see your enemy’s camp across from your own; all you need to do is occupy it!

Double cross is a game of strategy and tactics. Set up a blockade in your camp or use your enemy’s movements to your advantage. However, be correct in your movements or it could prove costly. How you win is up to you, just get your pawns to their camp first!

The Importance of Rounding Numbers

While rounding numbers up or down might seem like a simple introductory math lesson, students in remedial math course often have issues with the concept. By turning rounding itself into a mechanic and mixing it with the gameplay of Chinese Checkers, Colmena created Double Cross.

In this game, players use rounding in order to determine movement, helping them learn the math. By mixing the game play of Chinese checkers with our own rules, we aim to help students become accustomed to rounding numbers up and down through engaging play.

Two dice - a D10 and a D10x10 - are added together and rounded to determine movement. Advanced play substitutes the D10 for a D20 and requires players move their pieces to the enemy camp and back to their own to win. We've found that students really connect with the game, developing numerous strategies in order to win. 

Learning Is the Goal

Double Cross is a game that we created in collaboration with professors at Hostos Community College on their National Science Foundation funded grant to bring games into remedial math and science courses in hopes of increasing retention rates and improving student pass rates. The program was not only a success, but we designed and produced over a dozen math and science-based games for it.

About Argyle: The Number Line Game


Argyle is a number line game that is one part backgammon, one part checkers, and one part tug of war. Here two players face off along a row of thirteen diamonds representing positive and negative points on either side of a zero position. Players work to move their pieces in such a way as to land on and capture those of their opponent. Victory comes when only one player’s piece(s) remain.

Movement is determined by two factors – a spin of the spinner and a roll of two of four dice (two white, and two green). The spinner decides which dice combination will be used (white dice represent negative numbers, and green dice represent positive numbers). Players roll the combination indicated by the two ends of the spinner and then add the two resulting numbers together in order to move one of their pieces forward or backward on the number line.

Strategic choices involve which pieces should be moved when they should be moved, and even what sort of equation should be used when one of the Wildcard options come up on the spinner.

The First G-FMS Game

Believe it or not, Argyle is the first game we developed for the Game-Framed Math and Science Initiative. When Colmena came together, we examined several types of games including one that involved puzzles and mathematics, and another introduced to us by Professor and Lead Principal Investigator Rees Shad called 357, a coin based game that he picked up from a couple of friends in the Philippines. 

However, we felt that niether of those games addressed the student learning outcomes we were trying to achieve. After a break and much deliberation, we came up with a concept. Something simple and minimalist. We decided to use the number line as a board with a positive and negative side.

Working With the Positives and Negatives

The game became a play on checkers with players using the math of positive and negative numbers, determined by a dice roll, in order to move their pieces. At the advisement of one of our advisory proffesors, William Baker, we made it so that several combinations of positive and negative integers would come into play.

Amazingly, this concept was created and fleshed out all on the first day. Over several months, it was refined and Argyle: The Number Line game was born. While normally the number line would be a basic introductory concept for math, professors stressed that students have a hard time grasping it. With Argyle, Colmena hopes that the state of play would help students become more comfortable with the subject.

About Bond Raiders

Bond Raiders Banner


Bond Raiders is a card game where each card represents an atom or a bond. Players build ordered sets and functional groups, which allows players to rack up points. A Functional Group recipe card is included in order for players to recognize and learn possible set combinations.

Conflict arises as opponents raid each other’s hands in order to create functional groups that will help them to win the game. Optimal gameplay involves four players, although the game can be played with only two players.

How Bond Raiders Came Together

Teaching organic functional groups to environmental chemistry students was a big hurdle for science professors at Hostos Community College. The solution to this problem became Bond Raiders, a fun card game that helps students build and remember chemical bonds.

One of the guiding mandates that Colmena enforced during the creation of the G-FMS games was making sure all of them are playable without having prior knowledge of the subject's material. With that in mind, we implemented elements of environmental chemistry into the cards and turned making functional bonds into the primary goal.

Gameplay involves players creating their own quadrant of atoms and bonds. Throughout play they steal from one another for the chance to create as many functional groups as possible. Using a recipe card tells players what functional groups are available to create.

Tackling the Student Learning Outcomes of Environmental Chemistry

Bond Raiders was created to be used in conjunction with lab assignments involving 3D models of the functional groups found in the game. The color scheme of the atom and bond cards, as well as the terminology of the cards match those of the lab kit within the classroom. These principles  and terms become more familiar through the low stakes form of play. For more advanced students, it becomes a fun and engaging study aid.

Getting Game-Framed: Colmena and the G-FMS Initiative

Creating Math and Science Games for the Classroom

Many of our games have G-FMS branded on them. That's because, we were a part of the Game-Framed Math and Science Initiative, which started in 2013. This project was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and helped Colmena Design create our catalog of games to be used in remedial math and science courses.

During that time, when we were formerly known as the Hive Cooperative, Colmena worked together with G-FMS instructors to use our games to help teach their math and science curriculum. We also gave students a breakdown of Game Design mechanics, teaching them how to create their own games as study aids.

The project ended in 2015. However, we found success in teaching students to gamify their lessons and study habits. Student engagement and retention in these STEM courses increased, especially when they made their own games. Today, Colmena continues to promote the games we created and participate in workshops using what we learned from the G-FMS Initiative.

About the Game-Framed Math & Science Initiative

The Game-Framed Math & Science (G-FMS) initiative [supported] existing media design curricula at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College by increasing students’ understanding of STEM-based subjects. Framing math and science within game design will serve as the foundation for programming-centric courses and provide students with the skills to pursue careers in game design as well as interactive media. It will re-imagine how fundamental concepts in math and science can be engaging to digital learners. These goals will be achieved through a redesign of current remedial and college level math and science curricula, through the implementation of G-FMS curricula in a Summer Games Institute for secondary school students, and through professional development workshops for college and secondary school educators interested in mirroring our pedagogical approach.

Over the last four years, a thriving program in media design and production has expanded career pathways for students at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx of New York City. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the college has worked to equip students with the twenty-first century skills necessary to more effectively compete in the increasingly technology-driven workforce. With a majority of the student body comprised of minorities, Hostos has aimed to provide students with these vital skills in order to increase their representation in industries where they are currently underrepresented. The Associates in Applied Science (AAS) programs in Digital Music and Digital Design & Animation have had substantial success in recruitment as well as retention. These media design and production offerings have recently been expanded with the addition of an A.A.S. in Game Design. This degree path is the first of its kind at CUNY and explores game theory and development in order to help students recognize and pursue a wider variety of technical career paths. - G-FMS Initiative, 2013

About Einstein & The Honeybee


Introducing young naturalists and physicists to the fascinating world of bees, Einstein & the Honeybee inspires an interest in Apiology and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Players explore the garden of Albert and Elsa Einstein as they work to pollinate flowers and rescue lost bees while avoiding predators, pesticides, and harmful mites. Players are able to use some of Einstein's discoveries to their advantage as they struggle to save the hive. The world of bees and physics has never been as fun and engaging as it is in Einstein's & the Honeybee, a game for players 8 and up.

Why You Should Care About CCD?

The question you may be asking is, why is CCD important? Why have we created this game? The truth is, CCD is something that affects all of us. Honey bees are dying at an alarming rate. In 2015 42 percent of bee colonies in the United States died. This is critical, especially when considering the fact that approximately one in three mouthfuls of food that we eat has been directly or indirectly affected by honey bees. Not only that, but the economic value of crops in the United States that benefits from bee pollination is estimated to be 15 billion dollars a year. Because of this, we here at Colmena Design strongly believe that educating and engaging people about the topic is essential to taking care of our communities. We hope that our game will help inspire those who play to learn more about CCD and honey bees, and that they take this knowledge to help create a better world.

Message to the Players

This game has been in the works since our first project bought us together - Einstein & The Honeybee: An Introduction to Game Design and Game Development. We are very excited to bring this game not only to you, the public, but to educators as well. You can help spread awareness about CCD. Why is this important? Because every person who is aware of the issue is another person who can do something to affect change. Creating positive change in our communities and spreading awareness will help support the bees! Remember, anything and everything helps. Thank you so much for your time!