Friday 17 May 2024

boardgaming in photos: The Adventures of Snow White

I designed a counter display unit for Snow White and the Eleven Dwarfs. The game comes in a small box, and in a retail store this is a disadvantage. It has less visibility compared to big box games. A counter display unit like this will help create a bigger footprint and more visibility. 

This is still a prototype. There are still some issues with some of the dimensions. Correction required. I printed this mock-up on normal paper. The actual thing will be printed on cardboard. 

I won't be printing many units, so I will be assembling these myself. A unit can fit six boxes. 

14 Apr 2024. I participated in a Tzu Chi association (慈济) event. The main event was a Sunday school for parents and children. This particular day they had a special programme introducing boardgames to families. It was quite a big group. We had about 12 tables of players. I brought Snow White. Before the event I didn't know the age range of the children. It was quite a mix, from lower primary to upper secondary. When we settled down to play, I got a little worried. I had some lower primary kids at my table. Now Snow White was not specifically designed to be a children's game. I was worried whether the younger children would be able to handle it. Thankfully at the time we had 7 players, the minimum player count. Normally I recommend players to play in groups of around 10. 7 is workable but it's a bit easier and not challenging enough for my tastes. Since we had younger children, 7 was a good number. They managed fine. At the table we had adults too, even one senior citizen. It was an amazing feeling seeing Snow White being played by three different generations at the same time. 

Within the one hour activity slot, my table did 4 or 5 games. Players swapped in and out. They were encouraged to visit different table to try different games. 

2 May 2024. I visited my alma mater. Well, to be more accurate, the Malaysian campus of my alma mater. I was invited by the boardgames club of Monash University Malaysia to showcase my games at their weekly gathering. That day two other local game designers were there too. Brandon brought Pantheon War. Nasi Lemak made an appearance too. 

I left school almost 30 years ago. Stepping into a campus (though not the actual campus I studied in) was an amazing feeling. At the guardhouse I registered myself as a visitor. All around me were young people. I felt energised. 

I brought three games that day - Dancing Queen, Snow White and the Eleven Dwarfs and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. I managed to show all three to the students. A senpai (senior) teaching his kouhai (juniors). Snow White was played the most. It was wonderful seeing so many of them so absorbed in the game. I taught them one of the variants - the twin. 

I recently came up with a hand signal for Cili Padi Games, this one above. From now on, I plan to ask people who play my game to pose like this when I take a photo with or of them. This is a form of marketing and branding. The little finger represents Cili Padi - small and spicy. I have thought about whether this signal might be inappropriate in some countries or cultures. So far I have only found two other things this gesture can mean. In Japan, this can mean girlfriend, wife or mistress. That doesn't sound too bad. The other one is from Mediterranean countries. Apparently some people use this to belittle others. I'm not sure how common this is, or whether the gesture looks exactly like this. 

Friends from Monash, whether student or alumni, please post below and let me know which year you're in (or which year you graduated) and what course you are doing (or did). I graduated in 1997 and I did computer science at the Clayton campus. 

I recently read a post from Bruno Faidutti in which he shared that half his 2023 income from boardgames is from Citadels. To make a living from purely designing boardgames, you probably need to have an evergreen title. He could have gone into game design full-time many years ago, but he chose not to. He continued to teach. Teaching was his full-time job, and game designing a part-time job. His full-time job took 80% of his time, but his part-time job paid more than his full-time job. Teaching was his way of contributing to society. I respect that. Coincidentally I played Citadels recently. I don't play it much nowadays. It was one of the games I bought when I got into the hobby around 2003. It was already a popular game then. It is still selling well today, after more than 20 years. 

The Architect is one of the characters in Citadels

Ticket to Ride: London. We had a massive traffic jam. 

I have been a boardgamer for many years. Now I am using boardgames in my work. It certainly wasn't something I would have expected when I got into the hobby. I consider myself lucky. My full time work is leadership training. This above is one training activity I designed, a giant boardgame based on Hong Kong gangster movies of the 80's and 90's. The board is a map of Hong Kong. 

I also use Pandemic as a training tool in my work. I created a giant version of it. Not all boardgames are suitable to be used as training tools. Pandemic is a great fit because many aspects are related to leadership and management. Twenty, or even ten years ago, I would not have imagined myself teaching people to play games in such a serious work setting. 

The training activity I designed is called Rivers and Lakes. That's the literal translation of a Chinese term "jiang hu" (江湖) which refers to the underground society. It is a game about gangs fighting turf wars. There are two gangs, the Kong family and the Woo family. If I get a big group, I add a third gang, the Lee family. 

In line with the setting, the territory names are in Traditional Chinese in addition to English.

Also in line with the setting, the attack markers are white vans. 

Players get to pick who they want to roleplay as. The characters are all Hong Kong movie stars of the 80's and 90's. 

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