Jan 16, 2006

Panera-induced flashbacks

Okay, so what is this trip about? Tommorow morning I will be presenting Battle Stations. This is a tactical-level space ship fighting game. The company I'm presenting to hasn't made a board game in years; they've been focused on CCGs. However, their license includes the rights to make a miniatures game. Battle Stations was designed to be that miniatures game. Players interact with the game in three ways. Primarily there is the board on which the ships maneuver. Players also have a ship card for each of their ships on which they track damage. It will be interesting to see if they actually end up getting back into publishing board games. As any frequenter of BGG knows, there is a non-trivial segment of the gaming population who refuse to play CCGs because of their cost. So I think it would actually be good for them to tap a new customer base.

I spoke to Andy again, let him know about my meeting. He was a fan of this company too, so he asked me to find out for him if they really are serious about publishing board games again.
In addition, we hashed out the details of the meeting I'm having with Z-Man Games at Dreamation. Andy has a game he's showing Zev, the owner, and then they're gonna meet me at the con. Andy got me the meeting with Zev, who he knows really well and who published both of Andy's first two games.

Andy, btw, is Andrew Parks. His games so far include Ideology: The War of Ideas, Camelot Legends, Parthenon: Rise of the Agean, and The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG. I met Andy back during his CCG-playing days. He ran tournaments that I attended and used to go to a chatroom for the game (#lotrtcg on SorceryNet). I became a regular at the chatroom and when I started going to conventions we became friends. One night he invited me to join a bunch of them for a game night.

At this point in my life I was playing nothing but CCGs. My knowledge of board games was limited to the obvious: Monopoly, Risk, Clue, Scrabble, Connect-4, etc. I kind of knew that there were other games out there, but I didn't bother to check them out because the ones I knew bored me to tears. The geekiest games I played were Chess (high school team), Axis and Allies, and Diplomacy.

So imagine my surprise to learn that we would be playing a couple of games that Andy himself made. These hadn't been released yet, but they were really well-done prototypes. It turned out that Ideology was in the final stages of playtesting and would be printed soon. I don't remember who I was that first game, but Doug Faust won it playing as Communism. (It would turn out to be one of the very few Ideology games I would ever lose. ::wink::) I immediately loved the game, and it was responsible for turning me on to the broader world of board gaming and especially eurogaming. Next we played Camelot. I was not a fan. I just felt like I was reaching around in the dark and didn't know what I was trying to find. That was probably just because it is the type of game where it helps to know what all the cards do in advance. I also have never been big on midieval stuff. Everyone else liked it, though. Camelot would go ont to outsell Ideology, to my chagrin.

The reason I'm recounting this is that I was astonished that someone I knew had invented a board game unlike any other I had heard of and it was going to be sold in stores. To me, board games were like the oblelisk: they were things whose existence were unkown and true purpose not explainable, people just used them and hoped for the best. It didn't cross my conscious mind that actual people, living nonetheless, went out and made them. That was the day the seed of desire to design was planted in my mind. To be continued . . .

1 comment:

  1. Mike Vroom11:16 PM

    One of VERY few games you've lost, indeed. Ideology is your game, man. And someday, you may even let me live down my turncoating...

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