My husband is doing a design course at Open University, and his latest assessment was to design a board game. The poor thing has had to deal with me through my road to publication, reading my book a million times (a rough estimate), listening to my whinging, my wonderings, my hopes and fears. He said eventually I got a certain look on my face where he knew I was about to ask something about my book. Guy knows me too well.
So he decided to make a board game about the perils of getting published. In order to win, you have to collect various Person cards: an agent, a publisher, an editor, and 6 fans.
The players draw chance cards, which give or take away moves, which are symbolized by some old IBM keys. There are also Cloak & Dagger cards, which are the ones with the evil magician, which give you various ways to screw over your opponent.
While this is still a prototype, it was still a fun game, mainly because of the tongue-in-cheek cards you drew. Craig and I collaborated on these. Some of my favourites:
– William Gibson retweets your robot kitten pictures. Get 1 move.
– The router breaks so you can’t procrastinate on the internet. Get 2 moves.
– Your manuscript stops a bullet headed for your beta reader’s heart. Get 4 moves.
– The person you punched out in the pub last night turns out to be a respected critic. Don’t pick up the next Person card you land on.
– The convention you attend is held in a post-apocalyptic Pontins. Lose 4 moves.
– Publishers are only looking for Were-Unicorn Urban Fantasy Romances nowadays. Lose 5 moves.
– Your beta readers are mysteriously silent about your latest draft of your postmodern Postman Pat trilogy. Lose 2 moves.
– You read a book that has the same subject as yours. It is better. Lose 3 moves.
– You get a kitten. Go to Writer’s Block. (Writer’s Block is like Jail in Monopoly)
Mixed in with the chance cards are challenge cards:
– You create a claymation trailer for your manucript. It generates some buzz online. You can leave it at that and get 2 moves, or you can roll the dice and send it to an agent:
1-2: The agent has claymationphobia. Lose 6 moves.
3-4: The agent thinks it’s ok, but you didn’t follow the query guidelines. Get 1 move.
5-6: The agent loves it and requests the full manuscript. Get 6 moves.
– You create some words in a new language for your sci-fi novel. You can just incorporate what you have and get 2 moves, or you can roll the dice and develop it.
1: It’s well dobby. Bearded people at conventions worldwide adopt it as their lingua franca. Get 7 moves.
2-3: It’s choodessny. Some academics take an interest. Get 3 moves.
4-5: It’s chepooka. Nonsense dweebery. Lose 3 moves.
6: It’s baddiwad. Who’ll publish something no-one understands, huh, Joyce? Lose 7 moves.
– Godfrey “Mindvoyager” Ho offers you psychotropic substances to help your imagination. You can opt for coffee instead for 1 move, or take is offer and roll the dice:
1-3: You hallucinate that you are Stephanie Meyer and Ayn Rand’s lovechild and write 100,000 words. Lose 6 moves and don’t pick up the next Person card.
4-6: The Doors of Perception are open to you. 100,000 words flow from your glowing fingertips in rainbow ribbons onto a page that ripples like water and tastes of rapture. Gain 6 moves and move to the closest Person card.
We played and it was a close game–I was ahead for most of the game, but Craig made a dramatic comeback and ended up beating me at the very end! I only needed one more fan (where was my mom when I needed her, eh?)
I’m tempted to bring it with me to Eastercon in two weeks because it’d be quite fun to play with actual authors, publishers, editors, agents, and fans. 🙂
Would you play?