The History of My Board Games

27 July 2012 | 8 Comments

I want to start off this blog with a little history. Publishing a board game isn’t just a recent interest–it’s literally a lifelong passion of mine. I’ve been designing board games since I was a little kid. I loved the idea of creating a tangible, escapist way to play with others.

I’ve written on my personal blog about the best board games I’ve ever played, but I haven’t really gone into all the games I’ve created. I’m fortunate that my parents have kept these games over the years so I can archive photos of them all. They’re listed in chronological order of creation below.

Medieval Quest

Medieval Quest: My first game. I loved castles and knights as a kid (heck, I still do), especially the tales of the Knights of the Round Table. I think I was around 7 or 8 when I made this game, so the words are too faded for me to read how it works.

Medieval Quest 2

Medieval Quest 2: The much-anticipated sequel to Medieval Quest. I think part of the inspiration was that this was a time when I was playing a lot of Monopoly, but all the dead space in the middle of the Monopoly board seemed like a waste. I wanted to do something with that space (and castles and knights).

Super Sam

Super Sam: My first modular game. The idea was that you’d create mazes out of all the squares on this sheet.

Monster Quest

Monster Quest: I got a lot of monster miniatures for my birthday one year and wanted a structured way to play with them. I think that’s a common theme for a lot of these games–I wanted more structured ways to play with toys I owned.

Chutes and Vines

Chutes and Vines: This must have been for some sort of school project. I’m guessing it was based off a book, but I can’t tell which one.

Chariots

Chariots: I think this was a board for a trivia game. Very simple–answer a question, move your piece forward on the track.

Star Wars MicroMachines

Star Wars MicroMachines: This is pretty much an excuse for my brother and I to make gun-firing sounds with our mouths while playing with Star Wars miniatures.

Risk

Risk: Don’t sue me, Hasbro–I think this was simply an exact copy of Risk. Which I owned. So it doesn’t make sense. I do know that I tried to make a version of Risk on a real map that went down to the city level.

Unabomer Game

Unabomer Game: This was probably my first good game, despite the unfortunate subject matter. Also, it was very similar to a cooperative board game that I had played a few times called Scotland Yard. One player is the Unabomer, and everyone else plays postal service detectives trying to stop the Unabomer and his letter bombs. Players have to narrow down the Unabomer’s secret location based on where the bombs go off. It played quite well.

The Impending Crisis

The Impending Crisis: My second modular game. The configuration of the board is randomly determined by a program on a TI-83 calculator. This was an agricultural game set along the banks of the James River in Virginia. The TI-83 program went well beyond the beginning of the game; it provided randomness based on real events in history depending on the stage of the game. This was a team effort; the computer program was actually created by a classmate of mine who went on to be one of the original engineers of Google Chrome (the web browser with which you should be reading this entry).

Tale of Genji

Tale of Genji: We had a “creative” element to our Tale of Genji class in Japan my junior year, so of course I opted to make a board game. At the time I was really focused on making a chess-type game–something universal and very simple to learn, but complex and difficult to master. I don’t think I quite succeeded to due to the amount of randomness, but it was an interesting challenge to stay on theme with the book. I also learned the value of playtesting…in that I didn’t playtest before revealing the game and playing it with my classmates.

Viticulture

Viticulture: The prototype of version 14 of the game is shown here before the artist got his hands on it. You’ll hear plenty more about this game. It definitely feels like the culmination of a lifetime of creating board games.

8 Comments on “The History of My Board Games

  1. […] Tonight, after two decades of designing board games, 10 months of creating and playtesting Viticulture, and over a month of nailing down every tiny detail for my Kickstarter campaign, the project page just went live. We have a long way to go in this journey, and we’d love to have you along for the ride, even if you can only contribute to the $1 level or by sharing the project with friends who love board games and/or wine. […]

  2. Hi Jamey, your Kickstarter book brought us here. We are a team of board game designers that love to Kickstarter our game and thus your book is very helpful for us with many insightful information.

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