Game playing programming assignments can provide useful hands-on learning experiences for teaching search tree programming techniques, space efficient data representation, and heuristic evaluation functions. However, a number of issues arise with game playing assignments that are not relevant to the focus of learning the AI material. Among these are interface development and agent communication. This paper describes the implementation of a network game playing system that allows students to center their attention on the relevant AI topics. Student evaluations and test scores over the last three years indicate that the use of this game playing system has enhanced the learning of AI concepts.