This is easily one of the top questions we get asked when people find out that we created a card game.
And it's a question that we love to answer.
The truth is that we love games. Certainly not all games, but we've played a lot of games in our relatively short time on this planet and we're always keen to try out games that we haven't played before and sometimes haven't even heard of before.
One weekend, nearly three years ago, we were away with a group of friends down at Lauren's parents' farm on the Mornington Peninsula. This particular weekend was all about taking time out to relax, play some games, enjoy a drink or two, and enjoy each others' company. Some of the games we played that weekend included Settlers of Catan, Agricola, Photosynthesis, and Betrayal at House on the Hill.
(Lauren's parents' farm... you can see why we love getting down there whenever we can)
We had a great weekend away (from memory it was a long weekend), but unfortunately all good things must come to an end. Once the weekend was over, we cleaned up the house, re-set the fireplace, packed our cars and headed back to Melbourne.
The drive from the family farm to our house in Melbourne is about an hour, so there's always plenty of time to chat, plan the week ahead and reminisce about maybe one day spending more than the odd long weekend down at the farm.
It was probably the fact that we'd just had such a lovely weekend away and I had been thinking a lot about the games that we had been playing all weekend that caused this next thing to happen...
Driving along, I remember turning to Lauren and exclaiming "I'm going to make my own game". "What are you going to make a game about?", Lauren asked. "I don't know..." had been my reply. And it was absolutely true. I didn't know what I wanted to make a game about. All I knew was that I know what I like and I know what I don't like about games, and if there was some way for me to make a game combining all the elements that I liked and having none of the elements that I didn't like, well... In my mind, that was going to be one hell of a great game!
From that point onwards, each night I would go to bed thinking loosely about what my game might be about. Instead of coming up with the mechanics of the game first and then coming up with a theme to fit the mechanics, I felt like I'd prefer to start with the theme and then worry about the mechanics later.
I remember googling things like "how to make a board game" and "how to create a card game", with mostly unhelpful results. Whenever I had any spare time or found myself with not a lot to do, I would try to spend a few moments brainstorming what my game might be about. At the time, I was driving more than an hour each way to get to work. For you maths buffs, that's over 10 hours each week driving to and from my place of employment - perfect for brainstorming ideas for my new game. I decided that this was the time that I would use each day to think about my game. It was perfect: just me, the horrendous Melbourne traffic, and my thoughts - alone together for 10 hours each week. I knew that if I used this time purposefully, that I might have this idea knocked out in a couple of weeks... right? Turns out it took me about 3 months to come up with the idea of basing my game on the Melbourne train network.
(Three post-it notes... one for each month of trying to thing of a theme for my game and coming up blank!)
On that journey to and from work everyday, you know, the one where I get to be alone with the excellent Melbourne traffic and my own thoughts for hours on end... I was driving over three different sets of train lines. The first train line that I crossed over was the Glen Waverley line, just near Gardiner station. The second was the Hurstbridge line, just near Alphington, and the third was the Upfield line, just near Batman station. It was crossing this final train line in my car one day that the idea for a game based on trains struck me like a bolt of lighting. "Trains!" I remember thinking, screaming in my head!
Having grown up in Melbourne my entire life, having travelled on nearly every Melbourne train line and to just about every train station, I was so excited to discover that THIS is what my game would be based on - the Melbourne train network.
The easy part of coming up with a theme for my game had taken nearly 3 months... now for the hard part - the mechanics!
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