Iconoclasm will get another update that promises yet another
strategic dimension to my deepest abstract game. The current fixed support relation (fire supports
earth, earth supports water etc.) will be replaced by a dynamic mancala mechanism, where the players
move tokens to determine which to play and which to get support from. The players will now be able
to choose between strategic options like acquiring strong support from few and weak support from many
(both at the cost of having more of the supporters' tokens added to the board) as well as focusing on
getting own tokens out only but not get any support at all. Not to mention the inherent mancala
mechanism of denying subsequent players the options they need.
Apokalypsis will get an expansion to add further challenges to
the sinking Thera. How about islands, that will add further space to escape to. Or mountains, that
will stand a bit longer. Or your own castle, where only you may seek shelter. Or temples, where you
may appeal to the Gods' mercy (or suffer their wrath)? The new Apokalypsis will provide new
strategic paths while still maintaining the speed and simplicity of the old one.
During the design of Peoples, I got the idea of making it a double
game, where the components could be used to play both the current migration game and a new civilization
game. The latter game was eventually abandoned but the idea of finding the "holy grail" of a simple
civilization game remained.
The challenge of a civilization game is either that it gets too long
(like the classic Civilization) or that it has to sacrifice elements necessary to create an epic
feeling (like the card-driven games Historia and Nations). Peoples - Civilizations attempts to
overcome those challenges with the following elements:
Modular map: The players start on their own tiles but as they expand, their tiles will merge with
other players' tiles and eventually form a world map.
Swift actions: Each round, players act with 1 unit at the time, starting with the largest player and ending when
a player has acted with all units. This creates a rubber band mechanism, where bigger civilizations only
get one more action than smaller ones.
Engine decisions: In their actions, players can choose to produce resources on the tile or
forego production to move and expand for higher production in the future.
Grain is used to feed the population, with surplus used for adding new citizens
Resources are used to build buildings
Money is used to advance on development tracks
Historical interaction: When the players' civilizations meet, their development tracks
(similar to four of the tracks of Peoples - Migrations) will determine the result.
Military can conquer weaker (and use citizens as subjects)
Religion civilizations can convert weaker (and replace citizens with their own)
Culture can influence weaker (and use citizens as their own)
Economy can trade with weaker (and take their resources)
Map interaction: When the players' civilizations act on the map, their development tracks
(similar to the other two tracks of Peoples - Civilizations) will determine their abilities.
Civics can build cities and increase production by producing from several tiles in one action
Science can move faster and influence on a distance across several tiles
Combinations of development tracks also allow the acquisition of buildings for additional bonuses.
Properly implemented, those simple rules can recreate historical events, like the fall of the Roman Empire
(citizens taken as slaves due to military convert their enemy citizens from within) or the colonization of
the New World (cities take up all space in existing tiles but new tiles get revealed) in a limited playing
time. Exactly what I'm looking for in a civilization game!
Drawing inspiration from the recent
War Game Exhibit at the Stockholm
Army Museum, Bellum se ipsum alet will be revisited. This the second
game by Nova Suecia Game is the only war game so far with the realistic yet unique mechanism of diminishing
supply centers the longer the war continues. One idea is to allow the armies to reach 0 supply to
trigger the end and award the victory to the army with the greatest supply. This will force the players
to fight not only each other but also starvation. Another idea is the double contribution system,
where gold from the cities is used to buy food from the countryside, which recover slowly
(or permanently if plundered). This will force the players to constantly move to feed their armies.
More realism but still in a euro format!
I've always been intrigued by simple and elegant abstract games like chess and go.
Iconoclasm was one attempt to design such a game but the rules
were not as straightforward as players expect from an abstract game.
Lucca builds on the idea of
fighting units with shifting ownership by turning the units into towers and blocks instead.
The strength is measured by tower height and block size, irrespective of color, and the fighting will
cause blocks to be broken up and towers to change owner.
Lucca has the potential of becoming an attractive game with colorful wooden tiles stacked on
January 2016: Cardboard Edison Award
The Cardboard Edison Award
is given to a great unpublished board game. An improved version
of Christina Regina under the new name "The Queen's Path"
was submitted and given good reviews. Christina Regina will be further improved and marketing options evaluated.
Find the Bug! has by far been our most popular game. This testing game has caught the
attention of the tester community but also spawned questions about agile versions. Well, after having worked in several
far from perfect agile projects, got asked to prepare a speech for EuroSTAR
and played the inspirational game Alchemist,
I finally came up with the idea for an agile test game!
The idea is very simple. Collect codes (cubes) and spend them on other player's user stories
(cards) to test for the right combination of codes, similar to
Failed tests give codes to the user story owner while passed test cases give victory points -
the more integrated user stories, the more victory points. Just like Find the Bug!, this agile
cousin will combine fun game mechanisms with good learning points.
The game was also submitted to
Learning Game Challenge
and although the theme was too narrow for the general audience, marketing options for corporate customers will be evaluated.
The Hippodice Designer Competition 2016
gives a platform especially to new and unknown authors to present their game designs. The competition is tough
but Explorers & Exploiters made it to the next round!
Explorers & Exploiters will be further improved and and marketing options evaluated.
Games'N'Play has expressed interest in
Iconoclasm and recieved a copy for testing. If the result is
positive, a cooperation will be discussed, otherwise the self-publishing option will be pursued through
a relaunch of the Iconoclasm Kickstarter campaign.
Improvements since the previous campaign include:
A game video demonstrating a complete game of Iconoclasm
Exposure at boardgame events to increase the awareness of Iconoclasm
Extensive testing to further polish and streamline the Iconoclasm mechanisms
Rules revisions to make Iconoclasm as approachable as possible
Studies of similar boardgames to determine how unique Iconoclasm is
Evaluation of alternative art and theme to make Iconoclasm more immersive
Campaign analyses to identify improvements for future campaigns
Manufacturer assessments to get new ideas for stretch goals
May 2016: Worker Placement Challenge and Nova Suecia reengineered
The Queen's Path was my first step in reengineering my first six
games in the Nova Suecia series, using everything I've learned during
two years of game design. The next step will be Nova Suecia, the game that
started it all. The clunky rounds will be replaced by smoother turns, the direct trade prone to downtime
with indirect trade through streamlined market mechanisms and the semi-cooperative aspect of paying
taxes with "letters to home", where the players request supplies but won't be first to pick them
once they arrive. The latter is also the working name: Letters to home, inspired by the famous
Swedish epic The Emigrants about the emigration to the US. Incidentally, the game fits the
criteria for the next Game Crafter contest
Worker Placement Challenge,
something that gives a fixed deadline to work against.
September 2016: Mice in a Maze to Games'N'Play
Games'N'Play has expressed interest in
Mice in a Mzze and recieved a copy for testing. If the result is
positive, a cooperation will be discussed.
October-November 2016: Find the Bug! presented at the leading Software Testing Conferences
Le Morte d'Arthur has the ambition of becoming an epic game. The word "epic" does not mean a long or a complex game but rather a game that conveys a feeling to the players, a feeling of a story being told and of characters rising and falling as the story evolves. The game would have to be a combination of a board game and a role playing, rich enough for an epic feeling but smooth and simple enough for a game play of less than 2 hours. Le Morte d'Arthur is still only an idea but the following elements are considered:
Theme: Le Morte d'Arthur used as "bible" for game components, aiming at using as much as possible from the book
Story: Events are randomized to build a story of wars and quests that the players will have to respond to
Characters: Knights and damosels gain arms/craft and virtues/skills that make them stronger
Realm: Knights and damosels gain land to develop in terms of economy and military
Simulation: Enemies and quests are simulated to to create a common goal
Motives: Players are rewarded with positive courtesy points and punished with negative courtesy points that eventually will cause a split between good and evil
Rotating roles: Rotating roles assume "game master" functions so that game secrets may be kept (such as how much each player is rewarded)
Cooperation: Player cooperate to accomplish wars and quests and are rewarded (or punished) based on their contribution and may even marry to increase power
Competition: Players may challenge each other and even wage wars against each other
Final judgement: Good and evil players fight a final battle to determine the winner
Le Morte d'Arthur will mainly be an extension of Knights & Damosels (theme, story, characters, rotating roles, final judgement) but also include elements from Nova Suecia (realm), Tre Kronor Infernum (simulation), Vasa Regalis (cooperation) and Bellum se ipsum alet (competition). Feedback from the old games will be collected and used in the development of this new game. Just like the game session is supposed to evolve slowly, the game design will evolve slowly until all parts are tuned to fit and the whole is mature.
Do you have a game idea that you would like to see realized? Contact us at
email@example.com for a discussion!