In a few hours I am heading to the airport to the Essen Game Fair – the largest tabletop game event in the world – to launch my board game Quantum with its publisher FunForge. As part of the pre-launch hype offensive, I wrote an essay for boardgamegeek.com about the design of the game.
Part of their Designer Diary series, the article details the evolution of the gameplay from my first playtest with game scholar Jesper Juul in my Brooklyn kitchen in 2010 to the final production push this past summer. Along the way, I discuss design issues such as the way that the information elements on a playing card signify their meaning and the importance of testing the learnability of rules.
FYI, the picture above was taken during a recent preview event of the game in Europe. That’s boardgame design legend Bruno Faidutti playing my game! I wasn’t there but I heard he enjoyed it.
See you at Essen!
Nathalie and I have spent this week installing Interference in Track 16 gallery in Culver City. A small army from Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and the talents of some amazing riggers have been extremely helpful.
It’s coming along well and we will have everything ready to go by the opening on Wednesday next week. For more information about the opening, the exhibition, and other events related to Interference, see follow this link.
More installation photos below, taken by Sean Meredith of Track 16.
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Interference, the large-scale game installation I created with architect Nathalie Pozzi, is finally coming to the US. Interference was commissioned by la Gaite lyrique in Paris, and over the last year has traveled to Dublin and Moscow. But we’re very pleased to be working with Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) to bring the project to the Track 16 Gallery in LA.
Interference consists of five super-thin hanging steel walls, each less than a millimeter thick. Physically, it’s a gorgeous project – although all of the credit for that goes to Nathalie! The walls act as vertical game boards for a strategy game that occurs between pairs of players. The twist to the game is that each turn, you must steal a game piece from another pair of players. So players end up interfering in each others’ games, and social metagaming often ends up being the best way to win.
The opening on Wed Oct 2 and the exhibition is timed to coincide with the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games happening in Culver City. There are several events happening around Interference, including a lecture at USC, modding workshops, and an opening reception. Here’s the back of the LACE postcard, which includes information about the exhibition and walking directions from IndieCade.
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This is something to see.
I am still processing the over-the-top, completely ridiculous and completely awesome video trailer that Philipe Nouhra and my publisher FunForge created for my new boardgame Quantum. You can see the video here on Boardgamegeek.com and it really does resemble nothing so much as a film trailer for a high-budget science-fiction film. (OK, maybe a rough cut with some of the scenes still storyboarded in – but you get the idea.)
Since my company Gamelab closed about four years ago, as a designer I have returned to my roots creating experimental games – my architectural installations with Nathalie Pozzi, and digital experiments with the Brooklyn Game Ensemble, the Leisure Society, and Local No. 12. That’s why it feels a little strange to be part of what feels like a “AAA boardgame” marketing campaign for Quantum.
But yet – I love it. Yes, it’s a boardgame. But it’s a boardgame with a kick-ass cinematic trailer. Possibly the most crazy-awesome video in the history of tabletop games. Nice work, Philipe.
Like the gleaming, spinning 3D chrome letters ask… Are you ready for Quantum?
About four years ago, I started working on a strategy boardgame design where players moved dice around a grid – each die was a unit in a player’s armada-like fleet of spaceships. The very first playtest took place between myself and game theorist Jesper Juul on my kitchen table in Brooklyn. The game was elegant but complex, approachably fun but satisfyingly deep. It evolved over the years, although many core aspects of the game design were there in that first game with Jesper.
With the help of designer John Sharp, it became the prototype Armada d6, which last year won the Game Design award at the IndieCade Festival of Independent Games. The game caught the eye of Philippe Nouhra at Paris-based boardgame publisher Funforge. And now I am happy to announce that Armada d6 is going to be published as Quantum, a strategy board game that will premiere at the Essen Game Fair this fall in Germany.
I’ve put up a page with images and information about the game on my website, and you can find out even more about Quantum at the Funforge site and at its BoardGameGeek page. Overall, I am extremely pleased with how the game turned out, in terms of game design, visual design, and even the somewhat perverse and philosophical narrative of the game world.
I expect I’ll be writing more about Quantum in weeks to come. But it was a tremendous amount of work to bring this design to fruition over four years and for now, I’m just happy and relieved to announce that the game is going to be available for everyone to play. For reals.