I’m always looking for ways to keep you all entertained in these troubling times and while packing up the board games the other night (GFC Monopoly – all the properties are worthless and you keep paying money to the banker to stop them collapsing) I was struck by something I was told the other day: Publishing is a risky business.
And so it is! It is so very much like the classic board game Risk™ (please don’t sue me, Hasbro). The world’s territory carved up by a small number of great powers that are simultaneously at the peak of their power and on the verge of collapse.
So off to my purpose built board game designing studio I went! Only to remember that I don’t know how to design board games. No worries! I’ll just adopt the rules to Risk™ (please don’t sue me, Hasbro) and just change a few things…
My first attempt at a Risk-style map was not good. Then I had an epiphany. After a brief phone call with the doctor I learnt that an epiphany is a “sudden realization” and not a medical emergency. The trick to a good Risk-style map is to abandon any sense of accuracy (both geopolitical and physical). The classic board is a very mangled version of 19th century borders and country names and so my board could be a very, very mangled view of genres.
I ditched Horror as a continent and stuffed it into ‘Suspense’. I gave up my plan to have genre-appropriate shapes for the continents as well (aside from a tiny aspect of one country). I still wanted Romance to be the biggest continent and I retained a vague hint of the classic layout.
So how to play. This should work with minor modification to whatever your house rules are for Risk-style games. You are the CEO of a multinational publisher. Your aim is to conquer every genre. To do that you need armies, sorry correction, AUTHORS. You need at least one author to control a sub-genre (aka country). Control all the sub-genres of a genre (aka continent) and you get bonus authors at the start of your go.
Each round you engage in an aggressive marketing campaign, using your authors like canon-fodder to take-over subgenres controlled by other publishers. The conflict is decided by dice in the normal manner for Risk™ (please don’t sue me, Hasbro).
Of course, you will also need cards to play this game.
The cards are used at the start of the game to allocate territories to the players. During the game you win a card if you have won a sub-genre in you aggressive marketing campaign. Each card has a symbol that increases the trade in value of the card:
- Three aeroplanes: fancy authors who you send off on book tours by plane = 8 new authors when you trade the cards in.
- Three buses: the authors who you send off on book tours by bus = 6 new authors when you trade the cards in.
- Three bicycles: the authors who have to ride a bike on their book tour = 4 new authors when you trade the cards in.
- One of each = 10 new authors for some reason.
Yes, this is a joke 😄 but I think it should be actually playable (assuming you have printer that can print to A3) and you have the rules, dice and armies from an actual game. PDF versions should be downloadable here: