The Game Development Club hosted a public playtesting of its new “mega game” April 3 in the Greenwood Student Center. Approximately two dozen students, including the author, participated.
The game, currently unnamed, is the creation of club members Daniel Clegg and Ben G. Buell and is set in a fictional medieval land where several city-states are engaged in military and economic conflict. Players may take the roles of governors who seek to build their cities and become famous through various means, generals who each fight for a city and aim for martial glory, merchants who trade resources between the cities with the intent of becoming fabulously wealthy, and barbarians whose goal is to raid merchants and cities in order to grow and eventually overrun the land. Goals vary among players with identical roles; for example, some governors have the goal of gaining fame through military victories, while others seek fame through building opulent cities. Gameplay is centered on the game’s free-market economic system, which all players will need to take advantage of in order to win.
The “game board” consisted of several tables spread around the first floor of the GSC, with each table representing specific areas of the game setting. Some tables represented city-states where governors managed their cities and traded with visiting merchants each turn, using colored cubes to represent resources and plastic gold coins to represent money. Others were merely “encounter areas” where merchants were at risk of being attacked by marauding barbarians or generals seeking to steal their resources. A “generals table” provided a place for the generals to meet and plan their military actions, an “auction house” allowed merchants to bid on goods, and a “barbarian camp” served as a base from which the barbarians launched their raids.
During the April 3 playtest, the author took the role of a governor, leading a city-state he named Aurelia. Having the goal of obtaining fame through military action, he began constructing the necessary buildings to equip his army with armor, arrows and horses. He obtained resources by haggling with visiting merchants over wood, metal, food, luxury goods and even indentured labor. Having built a sizeable army by mid-game, his general conceived an alliance with another nearby city’s army and launched an attack on a rival city, demolishing it and stealing its resources. The author also persuaded several barbarian leaders to work for him as mercenaries in exchange for resources.
The final phase of the game consisted of a massive battle involving all generals and barbarians, where the army of Aurelia and one small allied city stood against a massive horde of barbarians and enemy cities, including a previous ally of Aurelia who turned traitor. The Aurelian forces fought valiantly and were narrowly defeated, despite having a larger army than any single city.
The date of the next game is tentatively set for April 24 from 6 to 9 pm at the LDS church building on 100 North and 100 East. Interested participants can e-mail the game’s creators at email@example.com. Information will also be found on flyers distributed around campus as the game date draws near.