1872: Pacific Scandal

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I’ve known Marc for a few years now. We met at a board game convention in Calgary through our mutual interest in 18xx and other finance focused games. A few years back he brought a game he had been working on and 5 of us sat down to play it. It was a well made prototype of a game he was calling 1872 and it had Medicine Hat on map, which pleased me a great deal. (I was even more pleased because it was a genuinely interesting map point!) It had some bells, and a broken whislte. We played into the 4th OR and called it once we had obviously broke the design. This is what playtesting is, for those of you who have not had the joy.

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The part where Marc has always impressed me is his ability to think his way out of, around and beside a problem. The sheer volume of creative thought that pours out of the man could power a small lawnmower. And it doesn’t stop. He always has ideas to try and new ways to deal with old problems. He kept going with the new information he had learned that day and has something put together that I hope you will find interesting because I sure do.  I asked Mark to share his intentions for what is now 1872: Pacific Scandal and what follows is his response.

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“My design goals are fueled by an appreciation of accomplishments the 18xx system has delivered to gaming. Countless variations have been produced in the last 30 years. I am precariously trying to take 18xx to the next level, an “18yy” if you will. It is definitely an experimental project. Here’s a broader list of goals:

  • Make a relatively historically accurate train game set in my home area of Western Canada.
  • Make a train game that is substantially different than other train games.
  • Piss off as many 18xx players as possible, by forcing them to print out new track tiles.
  • Excite as many 18xx players as possible, because of pretty purple track tiles!
  • Oops not a good start…

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Some current prototype examples are: Separating population from track to give players control over population changes without having to own a railroad, major changes to the track laying and upgrading system, making the revenue and dividend systems more realistic, and the list goes on.

Although I have played hundreds of different boardgames, I am relatively new to designing. I love writing down ideas for game designs. I spend hours every day researching historical documents, scribbling down grandiose thoughts, and deleting 90% of them because they didn’t work. Another problem is that I refuse to follow “standard protocol”. I fiddle with Illustrator, waste too much printer ink, and environmentalists are knocking at my door for the paper I waste. I chug out prototypes like there’s no tomorrow. I playtest prototypes until my eyes are burning, and then burn them when I don’t like them. Play testers can’t keep up with me, which doesn’t help….

In the end, to be successful is not a goal. Game design is a game for me, and I enjoy it! Perhaps the train of success will come some day…”

Hattanooga hopes to help you buy your ticket Marc.

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