Aug 312006

Now that I’ve described the structure of the system, I’ll talk about the theme of the trilogy. The concept that I decided upon is that of alien contact and visitation. My hope is to simulate (as much as a board game can) the decisions and feelings surrounding this topic. There aren’t a lot of “book” science fiction games out there. When I say “book”, I mean science fiction in the classic sense. It’s exploring behavior through non-existant scenarios. Doom: The Board Game would fall under “movie” sci-fi where the setting, weapons, and characters are unreal, but it doesn’t really explore any ideas. Anyways, here’s the rundown:

Trilogy Theme Overview

Game 1 – Players use resources to collect and decipher space signals.

Game 2 – Players control governments and organizations to prepare the world for an alien visit.

Game 3 – The aliens visit our planet.

This is a rough outline, but I think that each one of them will have their own feel. Since each game will have its own focus, I will be allowed to explore mechanics in depth. For example, if this were just one game, I’m sure “decipher space signals” would be just one card. In this series, it will be an entire game!

Next Up: Where to Start?

Aug 302006

I’ve had this crazy idea in the back of my mind for a long time, but until now have I actually decided to take a stab at it. I am planning on designing a trilogy of games. We’ve all seen trilogies in books, movies, and video games, but not so much in board games. In the board game world, we have expansions (Seafarers of Catan), spin-offs (Blue Moon City), conversions (Travel Blokus), and let’s-sell-you-the-game-you-already-own (Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition). However, nothing is what I would call a true sequel or a trilogy. (Note: I hear that there is a game being developed called Cartagena II that will follow where Cartagena left off. They may have beaten me to the punch, but that still remains to be seen how that game actually plays.)

My definition of board game series (in my case, trilogy) requires the following:

1. All games in the series will have an effect on one or more games played later in the series.

This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. My current plan is to have the final state of Game 1 to determine the setup of Game 2.

2. All games in the series can be played by themselves.

This is related to the previous rule. Separating the games apart from the overall series experience is important. Each game should stand on its own merits.

3. All games in the series are connected through a story.

This requirement is to strengthen the connection between the games. The story is what separates my definition from game series like the GIPF project.

4. All games in the series require the same range of players.

The same group of players should be able to experience the whole series from start to finish. This will make it more challenging to design, but it will make the players much more open to committing the time to play the series.

I plan on documented my way through this whole project. I know I will have a lot to learn. Designing a single game is no small task, so designing three of them that connect is going to be a challenge. Stay tuned for next time when I tell you about the theme of my trilogy…