NOTE: You can own the future of board games by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign that Will and Sarah Reed started for their new game, ‘Project Dreamscape”. Will prototype games like this be collectible? Too late, they already are. But there is still time to get in on the action with Project Dreamscape.
This Week On The Collectors Show Inventing and Collecting Board Games
Most of the people we talk to on The Collectors Show make a living with their collection. But most of the time we talk about the collecting, but not about the business end of things. So this week we are turning things around by emphasizing the business or money making part of the hobby. Will Reed is a collector, blogger on the Brick Blogger site, and he is inventing new board games. So we learn from him about the process for coming up with new games, art, production, all the way through to commercial launch. But Will and his wife Sarah were and are collectors first.
Will has gone in and out of lots of collections like video games, Lego and others that he acquired and then sold. Each month he and his wife Sarah will budget funds for their various collections including over their over 200 board games that continues to expand. I had to laugh when Will said they had a budget set aside for “fun” stuff. It all sounds like fun to me. The biggest thing between them all is that desire for a social component for all of their collections. So board games are a natural for getting social with other people with similar interests.
What do people who like to play board games generally share in common? Will says that people who like Lego’s like to play board games but in his experience, people who like to think. Unlike first person shooter video games that simply demand hand eye coordination, board games are a more thoughtful past time. Contemplation and talking to other humans may be making a comeback.
A board game convention called “Gen Con” in Indianapolis is growing like crazy. Connecting with other people who like to play is a big part of the hobby. His wife Sarah has a goal of playing a game ten times with people who she may not know at all but are interested in playing board games. Since we are social creatures, finding ways to connect and spend time with others will actually make you feel better.
With the coming resurgence of board games, the world needs new games to play. Will has invented a new game. “The first thing to do is play a lot of board games. If the only experience you have is playing Monopoly, then you will try and invent a better Monopoly and that has been done.”
Design mechanics or thematics or both? Will says you will want an element of each as you design your game, and how he approached the development of “Project Dreamscape”. The concept behind it is that dreaming is a venue for creativity and shared thought and if people could learn to connect while dreaming, and share new ideas that they have the potential for unimaginable ingenuity. .
The game goes like this: Your turn starts by choosing whether or not to take a facedown card, called a Z card–these Z cards are currency in the game, but also count against you when it comes time to tally up the scores. Z cards are used to purchase cards from the Dreamscape, which are then placed in your REM stack. You must choose one of the two abilities on a card to activate when you collect it, but the real fun of the game comes from chaining these abilities together.
Any one of the eight dream abilities in Project Dreamscape, by itself, produces only a minor effect–take a card, flip a card, rearrange some cards, and so on. But with some clever card play, one dream ability can lead to another until you’ve collected several cards or even cleared the entire Dreamscape. This continues until there are not enough cards to fully refill the Dreamscape after a player’s turn. At that point, the game is over and it’s time to score.
Project Dreamscape is a thinking persons game. There is deep strategy needed to play successfully. The ability to rearrange the dreamscape and play powers off of other players’ cards is a fresh and ever-changing way to formulate your strategy. Just don’t plan too far in advance, because other players’ sinister arrangements can plunge your perfect plan into deep sleep!
There is a collector’s edition of Project Dreamscape that will only be available on Kickstarter. This edition will never be sold anywhere else except on Kickstarter.