Finally, i am back with a new entry for my boardgame section. I have been very lazy with respect to may beloved inventions, but that is going to change with this post. For the last days i have been in the second work phase of my new board came called Westeros. That name might sound familiar to you and you’re right. It is the name of the continent where the story of Game of Thrones takes place. And yes, the game is somewhat related to that story. After seeing a few board-games that try to combine military and political aspects of the show/the books i came to the conclusion that none of them really has covered all my interests that made the series so wonderful. So far, the preparations for the first phase of the development of my game idea.
The first phase really started a few weeks later, after letting the games make an impression on me. And the first thing i did was, sat down and make a list of what features i wanted to have in my game, to cover all the interesting stuff and make it versatile to play. So i thought about war, i thought about politics, i thought about charaters, diplomacy, connections, king and council, i thought about the lords, inventions, the people of the land, external and internal threats and finally about how to mix all those elements together in a way that on one hand allows a maximum range of possibilities a player has and on the other hand how to make it playable, meaning not blowing the turns of the players out of proportion. Its still a board game idea. But i am fully aware and it is a 100% intentional that playing this game will take about 4-6 hours in the end. That is the goal i am working on.
After writing a lot of that down and drawing connections, making sketches i started to write a first draft of the rules of the game. This draft is not much more than the ideas, sorted by the time they are needed in a players turn. I use that to give the gameplay a first structure. Over the next days and weeks i added stuff, removed ideas and changed a lot, since i had more and more ideas and not everything was necessary and some things were even hard to combine with others. Its not my first game that i write from scratch, so i know that it is a long and sometimes painful process to discard ideas because they do not fit the gameplay, although they are good. What i do then, is leave hem on a separate notesheet to later test if i can re-implement them in one or another way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Then one day i came across a huge obstacle and i had no idea how to solve it. It was an essential idea that needed to be in the game, i just couldn’t figure out a way how to turn it into a playable option. So i had to take a break from it, step back and hope for the best. And a few weeks later, one week ago to be precise, the idea just popped into my head and i immediately started to write it down and integrate it into the gameplay. And then i was ready for phase 2.
Two weeks ago phase two started. In this phase, i begin to make concepts for the game material that is needed for the players, like in this case, a general map, coins, figures and playing cards. Creating those concept art did take quite some, since i am no expert in graphic design or modelling. But in the end, i guess it turns out all right every time i do such stuff, since i think i have a slight idea of colors and design. I finished that work two days ago and went to the logical next step in phase two – Build the material. I still have the smell of fresh spraycan action in my nose and thats something i tend to like very much, since it reminds me of the 10 years i spent doing street graffiti. At the moment, i have colored hald the playing stuff and created half of the cards needed to play. The map is more than half done, just some scoreboards to add and other smaller items before i can let it be printed. That is where i am at the moment.
I must say, i am pretty excited to get this done and to go to phase 3 of the project, which is writing the game manual. This is probably the hardest part because it is so difficult to explain to others how a game works when you know what you are talking about. Believe me, people will read the obvious and still do it wrong. And thats not their fault but the fault of the writer. He / i must make myself clear so that everyone plays it the way it is meant to be. Phase 4 will be the longest and most repetitive, the play-testing. But more to that when i am in that place. For now, wish me luck that i can get the material done soon.