Monday, December 3, 2012

W - a future board game

You must be wondering what comes next for NSKN after Exodus: Proxima Centauri and Wild Fun West. We're already working on several new projects which we'll present to you as they evolve. We said quite long ago that we're trying to diversify our portfolio and the result of this effort is starting to take shape.

I have been fascinated with politics ever since Romania ceased being a dictatorship and embraced democracy and I have been following political news from all over the world since my high-school years, although I never intended to get actively involved. There are things I like about politics and probably more things that I dislike about it, but one thing is for sure, a political campaign has something unique, that je-ne-sais-quoi that pushes me to study further.

The US political campaigns are particular interesting, they run much longer than the European ones and in my opinion the political debate is far above what I could expect in my home country and most of the countries I've lived in. Even in its darkest hour, US has provided the world with very entertaining presidential campaigns which made the whole world stop and watch.

Blue states vs. Red States - Source: Wikipedia

Two of these campaign features ex-president George W. Bush. Although I am not a big fan of him myself, I studied his campaign for a simple reason, they are some of the tightest political contests is US history and, like everyone else, I sometimes wonder what would the world have looked like if only a few thousand votes went the other way.

So, between hearing news, reading Wikipedia and playing board games, an idea sparked in my head, a board game about the US elections. Easier said than done, I have been working on the game mechanics, studied the history of the Democrats and Republicans and the American political system in details and, long story short, I decided to pursues the idea of putting the US presidential election of 2000 and 2004 in a board game.

For now, the working title is simply "W". Whether we like it or not, George W. Bush was the winner and the main character of those elections and now part of all our history. In "W", two players will take the roles of campaign managers for the Democrat and Republican candidate and will try to either preserve or bend history.

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  1. A political board game ? Hmmmm ... you will need my expertise. I still have 3 computer games all about politics on my laptop.


  2. something like this?

  3. I haven't heard about the game you mentioned before. I plan something less random and more complex

  4. Excellent idea, Andrei! :) I'm very into politics myself and I can't wait to hear more about this new project. However, one might fear that the non-US public at least is not too accustomed to what is so special about 2000 and 2004 so and I think you should consider including newer "scenarios", like 2008 or 2012.

  5. Andrei. I would honestly think about a different country. When it comes to usa I can think of at least two games by Jason Matthews who really knows alot about history and politics. 1960: The making of the president and Campaign Manager 2008 are examples. For German elections I remember Die Macher. I believe a political game about Europe would be more interesting. My 2 cents...

  6. Land of the Free covers elections in the 1930's, which I recently wrote a play report for:

    You might also find this inspiring:

  7. @Alex - I am aware that the 2000 and 2004 are slowly fading away from people's memories, but those were much tighter and therefore much more interesting. I will consider approaching the 2008 or 2012 as well

    @LordRevan - thanks for the warning, I though about placing the game in Europe, sadly the US electoral system is the only one entertaining enough to make a board game. I know 1960 and it is a good game, I haven't played Campaign Manager but I read the rules. What I have in mind will be quite different. But I am biased of course, we'll see what people (American people) think of it after the first sessions of playtesting

    @Michael - thanks, I checked your review and it looks interesting, fortunately nothing in common with what I;m designing

  8. Andrei, I will put it there... The eternal struggle between italian communist party led by Palmiro Togliatti and the Christian Democrats led by Alcide De Gasperi. That's the best time in Italian history... just giving u hints... I am not sure I can take another game of US elections. I would buy a game about other elections in Europe on the contrary. Italy after WW2 or Romania after Ceausescu, or Poland, or even France could be interesting...

  9. You seem to know a lot about modern politics. Do you have in mind any elections anywhere which were really tight? I have a few in mind, so I am looking to broaden my perspective. I will check on the ones you told me about, especially in Italy. Thanks!