‘Why are you saying sorry? You didn’t do anything.’
This was the response I got when I went to the Ludicreations booth to commiserate on the theft of their cash box this Sunday at Spiel 2016.
I caught them in the middle of the graphic design process for their latest Kickstarter release, Steal This Game, a project brought together in the twelve hours that had elapsed between the theft of the money and my stumbling over to their booth.
‘”What can you do?” People asked me. Nothing. There is nothing we can do, and then we thought, we can do what we’re best at, running Kickstarter campaigns for games. The problem is we didn’t have a game…but we had David.’
Enter David Turczi, long time Ludicreations collaborator and independent game designer in his own right (Redacted, Anachrony). David was tasked in designing a game in an hour. He didn’t need that long.
‘Within twelve minutes we were sitting at a table and play testing. Thankfully the Unperfekthaus sponsored us with a bottle of rum.’ A Ludicreations representative told me.
Steal This Game is two-player head-to-head that pits thief against exhibitor at Spiel 2016. The stall holder then plays a three-cup game to prevent the thief from succeeding in their aim of running away with the day’s takings. Steal This Game is the latest in a long line of innovative titles that have been put out by the publisher in recent years but the first to be inspired by such unique conditions.
Ludicreations was started with the intention of putting out one game, 2013’s Byzantio , but if you want to make god laugh, tell him about your plans.
‘A wet man is no longer afraid of the rain, so we thought we’d carry on.’
Subsequently they have gone on to publish some of the most thematically innovative games in the industry.
…and then, we held hands, tells the story of a relationship and the participant’s struggle to keep it on an even keel. Crisis, their biggest game to date, uses a futuristic landscape to explore the Greek financial crisis and the challenges in rebuilding a country after collapse. In Kune v Lakia: A Chronicle of Lapine Divorce Foretold, players take on the role of advocates as the royal couple prepare for a life apart and contrive to get the very best out of the deal.
But it is with new designer, Todd Sanders that they are embarking on their most ambitious project to date.
‘Todd is a true renaissance man…he is an architect, a wood worker, he translates French poetry…’
They have found a windfall of games for the future.
‘We have at least twenty of his designs that we plan to publish over the next ten years.’
This year sees the first of these, They Who Were 8, a game based on a cycle of Sanders’ poems that places the players in the position of spin doctors for a group of mischievous and capricious gods. Next year sees the publication of Ludicreations first solo game, also by Sanders, which utilises an array of unsettling Victorian advertising art.
Ludicreations are currently one of the most exciting publishers in the business and are pushing the art of board game publishing into directions that hobby hasn’t entered before.
So it is no surprise, that when confronted with calamity, that one of the most innovative publishers came up with one of the most innovative solutions; and it is no surprise that the gaming community rallied to their support and, at the time of writing, the Kickstarter project currently stands at $24,476.