Monday, March 5

Hello from Phil

Hello, I am a new member here at Creation And Play. My name is Phil and I am typing this from Sydney, Australia.
I thought I'd just tell you a bit of my gaming and design background in my first post.

I grew up with boardgames, but as with most kids I was mainly playing the mainstream standards. I can remember playing Monopoly at 5, as well as Battleship, Connect Four, Guess Who? and plenty of others. I think the first game I played where I can remember really noticing something special was Scotland Yard, at around 7 years. I really sensed there was something different in this game, and the mechanics (espeically the Mr. X player being invisible!) really appealed to me. A little later on I really got into games like Fireball Island and Dungeon. I really loved the worlds of adventure these games created in my imagination.

At some point in my early teens I decided to make my own games. This was partly just a fun thing to do, but I think also came about because I hadn't come across any really fun games in some time. My games were mainly made out of paper and hand-drawn. On the occasion I would do something special, and print a board off the computer or glue it onto some thicker cardboard. Here are some recollections of some of these very early games:

Army Campaign
A wargame which was inspired by Stratego and those complex wargames which I had seen but never played. I still have this, and surprisingly it's ok! The game begins with each player randomly laying down pieces of terrain, and then setting up all their units. Each type of unit has its own movement and attack factors. I even made a cardboard sleeve for the game and a scorepad!

The Crazy Hat Game
This was largely inspired by the absurdist game design of The Mad Magazine Game, which was a hoot for my cousins and I. We took the silliness to an extreme. To win, you had to be wearing the magic hat (which was made out of an icecream container), with the magic antenna (a toilet roll) stuck in it. You also had to have a sign around your neck which had something demeaning written on it like "I'm an idiot!". These objects were collected by moving around a board, finding them and also stealing them off other players.

Black and Blue
Looking back on this, I almost invented a CCG before Magic existed! Well, sort of. Basically this was a fighting card game. Each card was a character who had various attacking and defensive moves. A player would play the fighter they wished to use, and their opponent would choose their card which had the best chance of winning. Dice were rolled and the winner would take both cards. Me and my cousin played this a lot and what made it fun for us was that each time we got together we would create a whole pile of new fighters. Lots of fun!

A few years ago I played Settlers of Catan and was instantly drawn back into gaming. I love the sleekness of Euro design, but I also love the adventurous themes of the American games I played when I was young. These two things are what I try to incorporate into my designs nowadays.

I am currently working on quite a few games, which are at various stages of development. At the start of this year I decided to qive self-publishing a shot. I picked a design of mine entitled Archaeology to produce first. This was because it was furthest along in playtesting, but also because it was quite a simple game to make in terms of components. I am pretty close to releasing the game now, just having to finalise the artwork over the coming weeks. If all goes well, and I manage to even sell a few copies, I would love to move onto a number of other games.

I am looking forward to documenting some of my design experiences here, and I hope you get something out of reading them!


Dave said...

Hi Phil!

Good to hear from you, sounds like you were already off to a good start designing games before finding Settlers.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of your posts in the future.

All the best


Jack said...

Welcome aboard Phil!

I sounds like we had fairly similar childhoods, it was just the choice of games that was different - I'll be interested to see how your different experiences influence your games designs.