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3:23pm on Tuesday, 31st March, 2009:

Where I Work #5


Continuing the occasional series...

On the wall to my left, behind me, at the top, we have this well-ordered set of items:

It's basically my non-computer game design stuff.

The large pieces of card are boards for board games, some of which date back to the mid-1970s. I have more card to make more maps, but that's behind the cassette tape boxes I showed you earlier.

The Wheat Crunchies box contains the rules, cards and tokens and other bric-a-brac for lots of games in various stages of completion. Some are, in fact, complete and eminently playable — and they do get played every now and then. The 80gsm A4 paper box next to it has similar things inside, but only for nearly-complete games that I need to finish off. The two main ones are about pirates and the wild west; I'd like to get them done but don't have time during the day and don't have space when my wife is home and wanting to use the kitchen table.

Underneath the A4 box are folders and envelopes containing rules, notes, maps and drafts of game designs. This whole pile is very old, dating mainly from my teens; it includes designs (these days I guess you'd call them mods) for Railway Rivals scenarios, for example. For historical reasons, the pile also has an ancient magazine and an early choose-your-own-adventure-game booklet in it (inspired by my own one, as it happens). There are also some early game-making materials, such as the sheets of hexagons that I drew myself (I have an O-level in Technical Drawing) and then paid to have "photocopied" (photocopying was still on its way to becoming mainstream back then).

To the right of the pile of old papers are two small boxes I made for the cards for two completed games, the Mog and Tilly Boardgame and another one we call Athens to Reykjavik (because I haven't thought of a decent name for it yet). The blue tin to the right of that is full of dice, and the red tin next to that has glass pieces in it that I use for generic pieces. Behid them, where you can't see, are more bits of my games-making kit, such as sheets of pre-cut coloured card (or "blank tokens" in game designer parlance).

Above the tins is an old shirt box that contains a game based on those countrywide search-for-a-pop-star competitions. It's commercial quality; if you're a boardgame manufacturer, let me know and I'll pitch it to you. My kids loved it when they were younger.

To the right of the tins is my stack of game design booklets. Rather than write ideas down on whatever I had to hand, I standardised on these in 1992. This makes it easier to return to them when I have more notes to write; they're effectively lab books for game design. Nowadays, though, I just do it all on the computer unless I think it's going to need a lot of diagrams.

Just about visible above the stack of booklets are the maps I have that aren't on card. These are usually first drafts, and tend not to last very long due to encroachment from things on the shelf to the right of this lot. Indeed, you can see some wrapping paper for birthday presents lying on top of them where it shouldn't really be. Also up there somewhere is the folder where I wrote down a report on every single game of Civilization and its derivatives that I ever played, until Civ4 came out and I completed about 3 of the first 25 games I started.

Maybe I'll show you some of the things inside the boxes and the envelopes and the notebooks some day.

Not today, though...

Referenced by Where I Work #6.

Referenced by Where I Work #10.

Referenced by Where I Work #15.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).