Ever thought about creating your own board game? When making your own board game, you have to go through the process of deciding on the rules, designing the game board, and inspiring players to develop a winning strategy in order to conquer the game. Whittier College exchange student Morten Andersen did just that.
Andersen is a member of the Artorian Order of the Knights of Pendragon (AOKP), the LARPing club on campus. He joined in 1995 when he was a 19-year-old exchange student from Copenhagen, Denmark. His game Among Nobles is based on feudal/medieval Europe, and focuses on building an empire through bloodlines, and uses historical figures as characters in the struggle for European domination.
Andersen attributes part of the game design to his experiences in AOKP and his love for fantasy games, especially of the “eurogame-genre”. Andersen uses Europe as the central location for the game because he is most familiar with European history.
Among Nobles features iconic figures from history, such as Henry VII of England, Catherine the Great, and Anne Boleyn. Players are confronted with the task of creating and expanding bloodlines with the goal of obtaining as much land and prestige by the end of each generation. The goal is to have as many sons and daughters to carry on the family name and conquer Europe.
The board game process involves working out small details and making sure everything makes sense. Andersen’s role in Among Nobles was designing the rules, but less so in the actual game designing process. The game rules have to be precise and work according to the game plan.
Originally featured on Kickstarter in March of 2015, the game received 585 backers who donated approximately $20,500 to the creation of the game. Andersen claims that Kickstarter is a great avenue for turning ideas into realities. He said that through this type of platform, he was ultimately able to sell about 1,500 games.
Andersen also said that with the use of Kickstarter, the game was able to stay true to his vision, which would have been compromised with outside publishers. “The only other way for us to have gotten the game out would have been to get it accepted by a publisher, but in that case, you lose some of the rights and they may change the design in some way you don’t like … that would just ruin it for me. My baby needs to stay my baby.”
When asked about what advice he’d give to future game developers, Andersen had a few pearls of wisdom to pass on. “Fun before fortune,” Andersen said, “Like with a lot of other ‘art,’ you need to do this because you love it. Fail fast. Don’t spend a lot of time making a finished game, thinking it will work. Get a community. Working on things yourself can be hard. Find a community to ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to share your ideas.”
Andersen is currently working on another historical game, involving “espionage on the Orient express in the early 1900s.” You can find the game on Kickstarter or at amongmeeples.dk/AmongNobles.