Articles Tagged with: board games

Anybody still playing Yu-Gi-Oh? No… what about, Soapra!

“Soapra”

Mind Bulb Games (Instagram)

This entry is a bit different, maybe even a forgotten phenomenon to newer generations. Mind Bulb Games are like other like-minded card/ and board game lovers fighting a battle to not erase, essentially, the origin of video games from pop culture media.

To put it bluntly, card/ and board games, to some, are a thing of the past, not considered pop culture anymore, and generally dismissed at a party. But, to others, board games are still one of the best Friday nights you can ever have, whether it’s D&D, Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, or Pokémon, it doesn’t matter as long as there are people, laughter, and games.

For Mind Bulb Games, it’s probably the latter. We’ll talk about their game, Soapra: Flights of Fancington and the thing that makes it stand out from amongst a crowd, but firstly, I’m dying to know, what was your first experience with board games?

As with many others, our first introduction into board games was playing ludo with the family. However, our interest in tactile gaming arose when introduced to more complex and story- or socially driven games like Pandemic and Munchkin. Though learning from different games we both found that the possibilities of story-telling and game mechanic design were a wide and wondrous world waiting to be expanded and explored.

Although this isn’t a war on ‘what medium of entertainment is the best’, board games have been overlooked more in the past years then they were in the 90s and early 2000s. Could you tell me three reasons why board games still matter and what they do better than any other medium of entertainment?

#1 Unlike most video games, board games have a type of immediate presence that cannot be quickly recreated like, say, a counter-strike match. Playing a game of Call of Cathulu or Risk can take hours in which the tension slowly rises. There is no reloading or saving. Once things go down, they go down for all parties involved.

#2 Board games will always be the better social game, no matter how much voice- or video chat you implement. Simply sitting in a room with another player, be they, teammates or opponents, seeing the fear or joy in their eyes, hearing their cheers or wails of torment will always be more real when you’re sharing the same room.

#3 Another thing board games have over computer games is their element of the ‘real’. You can touch them, feel them. When you score points or kill enemies, you get to move meeples around on a board. Drawing cards will always be a much more engaging result than having a computer generate something at random.

Luckily for board games enthusiast, it seems like they are making somewhat of a return in the later years with more people playing them and albeit fewer making them — original ideas are on the rise!

So, why don’t we talk about Mind Bulb Games’ original idea? I’ve asked Mads Reedtz about his and his team’s game, Flights of Fancington. Specifically, if he could describe the game using only one sentence:

Soapra is a media-culture based card game involving social manipulation, keeping secrets, telling stories, but most importantly it is about being the fanciest in Fancington.

However, to focus in on his game, in particular, I’ve asked him to specify the traits of Flights of Fancington, which makes the game stand out from the rest.

What makes our game stand out, at least to some extent, is that the game is really just a medium for interpersonal relations. Granted, Soapra is all the mechanics and rules, but the real game takes place amongst the players and how they negotiate with and manipulate each other. Other games do this as well, sure, but none of them is nowhere near as fancy.

Adding:

Also, Soapra uses a cultural jumping-off point that everybody can relate to Soap operas. Be it Days of our Lives, Soap, Star Wars or any other drama-related media, we’ve all watched a soap opera in one form or another.

Now. We’ve talked board games in general. We’ve talked Mind Bulb’s game. Let’s talk about making card/ and board games.

Designing card/ board games and designing video games are a bit like each other — although there are differences, there something to learn from both mediums. What are your top five tips to aspiring board game developers?

Game Scope presents: Mind Bulb Games’

Quick-y Guide to Getting Your Game On!

#1 Start small.

#2 Get to play it quick.

#3 Get fresh eyes.

#4 Be careful with your manual.

#5 Be prepared to kill your darlings (over and over and over and over and over again) and remember, this is supposed to be fun.

Let Frederik Becker tour you through Aalborg

Okay… I’m here to chew bubblegum and provide YOU with a guide of all the wonders of Aalborg (or at least the gaming related, nerdy-type stuff), AND I’m all out of bubblegum! (You know it’s going to be good when it starts with a quote from a movie).

But no more funny-business, let’s get down to the nitty gritty… Because foretold in legends, spoken of in myths, long sought but never found, is the coming of something more. Something great. Something Game Scope.

“Game Scope is an event that gathers developers and gamers all together in what is Denmark’s biggest Games Festival”—see that’s already an excellent start, isn’t it? And to add to it, it’s completely free! So, you are coming? Good! Here are some of the things you can do while visiting! So, with no further ado, let me present, a gamer’s guide to Aalborg!

Let’s begin with the Utzon Center. The Utzon Center is a place known for conveying of present-day architectural trends mixed with the technology of today. So, if you love creativity, why not come visit and be inspired? Another place to visit is Planetstien ( Borgmester Jørgensens Vej 13) , where you’re able to walk among the planets? Planetstien presents a scale model of our solar system.

Dice ‘N Drinks is our next stop where you’re able to enjoy a sip of beer, the, or chocolate along with your bests of friends, while also playing some of your favourite board games! They have everything from Classic Jenga to Dungeons and Dragons. But if Dice ‘N Drinks is booked, why not visit Aalborg Brætspilscafé instead? Same principles, same cosy “hygge” as any Dane would say it! However, if table top games aren’t really your thing, why not visit In-The-Matrix? In-The-Matrix is an internet café where you can play an array of great games by yourself or in the company of others!

By now everyone would be starving, right? And I’ve got something special on the menu! Magikarps and lots of them! Aalborg Street Food – The Lighthouse is a restaurant with tasty food, AND it’s next to a Magikarp spawn. The place was so amazing that people actually made bead art of a Magikarp and glued to a wall. The cleverer would perhaps also have noticed that Aalborg is a pretty big city. And if you’re like me, your mind would already have gone: “POKÉMON” by the second I told you that! And you’re right! In very close proximity to all the locations I’ve mentioned, are loads of Pokéstops and Gyms.

But hold your Pokéballs for a few more paragraphs!
Now you’ve had fun, played some games, gotten drinks… Soon your stay might be at its end. You might wonder, “why!”, “how!”, and that’s normal. But you don’t want to forget it all, you don’t want it to end! Right? You want something to remind you of your great visit. Why not swing by Læsehesten?

Læstehesten is only a short walk from Dice ‘N Drinks and Aalborg Brætspilscafé, and there you’re able to buy—wait for it—PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, NDs, 3Ds, and more of your favourite games. Further, they also have older games for the older consoles, some rare and some which you wouldn’t normally stumble upon… So, go be amazed!
But Læsehesten hasn’t only got games! “Wait it has more?” YES!—wait for it—they also have movies, DVDs and Blu-rays, comics, novels, toys, music, LPs and CDs… You can thank me later.
Well, I want to end with something amazing. Geeks Gone Wild. Even the name sounds cool enough to be awesome—and trust me, it’s only going to become more awesome! GGW  ( Willy Brandts Vej 31)  is a “computer club” in their own words. However, something that only started as a mutual interest in “net parties” and games, a mere club, became the biggsest LAN-party in North Jutland. They’ve now taken over Gigantium, and they have an event the 12th of January.

There. You won’t get a better ending to any guide about games than the biggest gaming event in North Jutland.
Now go catch Pokémons and play games!

Mind Bulb: using Game Scope as testing playground

It’s been almost 10 years now since ‘Flights of Fancington’, the all-time best soap opera show, went off the air and yet to this day the war still rages on amongst the fanbase over the most important question of the century: Which character was the fanciest?  

Mind Bulb continue to work on their game SOPARA. In this game, you get to play as the elite of Fancy Town and fight your friends in the style of the grandest of soap operas. We sat down for a cup of coffee and a small interview with creators of the game Anders L. Christensen and Mads Reedtz.

Before we start on asking about SOAPRA, I want to ask you, how you met each other?

Mads: We met each other quite a few years ago in high school.
Anders: We had similar friends and as they started to move away to different places for studies and schools. Mads and I were only one left in Aalborg.

Quite expected question for people like you, but what was the first tabletop you fell in love with?

Mads: For me, that game would always be Munchkin.
Anders: * very conflicted what to choose* Munchkin is sorta to go answer, but I will simply choose other game, just because. That game for me would be Pandemic. It’s wonderfully designed and I can create a big list of great things in this game.

Why did you decide to create a tabletop game in the first place?

Anders: Because we are too incompetent to make a video game *chuckles*.
Mads: Well it was an old dream of mine since I was a kid to design computer games, but as I grew older I realized that is not going to be my niche. But I had a very mechanically geared mind to create games rules and concepts, so tabletop came out as a natural choice.

So Ander’s story comes from being incompetent and Mads from wanting to make games as a kid?

Anders: No! For me it comes a bit from an academic place, I learned to make games and got accepted for the semester in DADIU ( The National Academy of Digital Interactive Entertainment ). What really fascinated me about tabletop games that mechanics tell the story.

You came up with this really interesting concept of the tabletop SOAPRA. Was it a result of trying to make different board games or it was a solid idea from day one?

Mads: SOAPRA was born on my internship at Dragon’s Lair. It is a great place to get inspired, board games everywhere and a lot of nerd gear. I thought I want to make a game where you play another player as much as you play the game. I couldn’t tell why it had to be set up in soap opera, but Looking back it seems like an obvious choice. What frame of reference will people in the 20th century have where you always to be mean to each other and lie to each other.

How you introduced an idea to Anders?


Anders: I am not sure if it was same day or a day after
Mads: As a Mind Bulb Games, before we even had this name, we developed quite a few games and had roleplaying game in the works. Since all projects looked big and ambitious, we decided to go with something of smaller scale and chose to work on SOAPRA. It has a target audience and development process seemed to be faster than it actually came out to be later.

What came first: SOAPRA or Mind Bulb (studio name)?

Anders, Mads : Mind Bulb!

Why you chose British family instead of going with stereotypical Spanish/ Italian family from soap operas?

Mads: I honestly think it’s my fault. When I think of excessive wealth, I don’t think about someone smart like Bill Gates, I think of some old pompous British family. And in my head it just seemed to fit the idea more.

What can you say about Game Scope experience last year?

Anders: We didn’t expect people to receive our game so well and all Game Scope staff was really nice and accommodating, the crew just did it’s best. It was overwhelming since we had first play test of updated edition 2 days prior Game Scope. The experience was phenomenal. Even though we presented a prototype, no one looked down at us. And we got a lot of feedback which will go on the edition you available to test out at the Game Scope Expo 2017.

Are you going to prepare in advance this year?

Mads, Anders: Definitely! We want to have play test a month before the event. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for that.

Thank you for your answers!

Be sure to follow Mind Bulb’s game SOAPRA  Facebook page to receive updates about the game’s development.

Photos made by Ervins Trans

Text and interview by Valerija Trane