Produto – Published Version of One of My Games!
It seems like lately there’s increased interest from people/companies who wish to publish my games (and by “increased” I mean up from zero), something I never expected, because I’m an abstract game designer and abstract games aren’t exactly Call of Duty: Black Sniper Terrorist Nexus Ops War the Return, if you know what I mean.
I don’t know how far this will go, but anyway, a Portuguese company has published a nice wood version of a game I designed 7 years ago. The published version is called Produto. Actually, the published version is a collaboration, because two game-designer friends, Bill Taylor and Joao Neto, modified one of the rules and the published version includes the modification.
I invented the original version of the game way back in 2006, as a sub-game of a meta-game I invented called Mind Ninja, and it’s been available to play online as a Mind Ninja pattern at igGameCenter since around 2007, if memory serves (in that context its name is “Product War”)
It turned out to be one of the most exciting sub-games from that system, and so it turned into its own game. I don’t think I’ve ever posted about here on this blog (I’ve invented hundreds of games and I’m way too lazy to write about them all, even the good ones), although I posted about it over at rec.games.abstract in 2008 (which site, by the way, don’t even bother perusing because it has since become a wasteland ravaged by exquisitely boring flame wars)
The basic idea is simple: players take turns placing stones on a board, forming groups. When the board is full, each players calculates the product of the sizes of his two largest groups. Whoever has the larger number wins.
In the original version, you could play one stone of either color (black or white) on your turn. In the published version, (and here is Bill and Joao’s modification) you place two stones per turn, except for the first player’s first turn, whereupon she places a single stone.
The game is WAAAAY more intuitive to play than it sounds like it should be. I don’t have any precise explanation as to why – the human brain is just good at processing the patterns/variables needed to play this game well I guess. There’s almost never a need to actually calculate the score during the game, weirdly, and even when the game is done you often don’t have to actually do the score the calculation to know who won. You can just “see” it.
This version is being produced specifically to promote the Portuguese Tournament of Mathematical Games, which is a large event for young students, designed to help them cultivate thinking skills and which is the best possible use I can think of for the games I design (certainly better than their other function of giving neckbeards like me an excuse for endless mental wheel-spinning). Look at all those beautiful kids learning!
My game is going to be a part of that!