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.
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.