Gaming for a living

When one designs and published board games for a living, one tends to rant a lot about it. This is where we do that, the folks involved with NSKN Games and our special friends and supporters. We'll post here our ideas about gaming, about life, about gaming more often than not, about the specific challenges of making a business out of a hobby and... did we mention games?
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Praetor - a worker placement board game

Andrei Novac
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I've been asked countless times what the story of NSKN focusing so much on civilization or empire building games and when will we come to our sense and do what every typical start-up board games publisher does and make a simple worker placement game which would potentially reach a much wider market. Every time I answered the same thing, "when the time is right, our Euro-game will come to be", maybe with less fancy words, but you get the idea.

Well, it looks like that time has finally come and we're working on a Euro-game!

The working title of our board game is Praetor, it has a setting in the Roman Empire - pretty obvious I would say - and a number of players, most likely up to 6, are competing to become a Praetor. They're all in charge of building a new new Roman settlement together, each responsible for his own part and in the end, the most skilled of them will be appointed Praetor by the Caesar/Emperor.

As Euro-games go, this one aims to be either middle-weight Euro. That means it won't be addressed to absolute beginners - it looks like I am simply not capable of designing easy games - but it won't be too complex for the average gamer to enjoy and it won't last more than 90 minutes.

So far the theme is a bit different from the typical worker placement game (Agricola, Pillars of the Earth, Caylus, Fresco, Le Havre, Ora et Labora) but this is just the beginning.

Since we're in the early stages of development and the game has undergone just a few tests, we can't reveal all the details, but just to stir your curiosity... the most important 'trick' this game bring is that your workers gain experience over time, becoming more efficient in building and collecting resources. However, once a certain amount of experience is accumulated, they retire so you must recruit new ones.

Moreover, instead of being a simple worker placement board game, Praetor will combine this mechanic with city building. You will start with a simple settlement and you will develop it by placing new tiles. In a nutshell, each game will look different, simply because the order of available building will be different.

Most Euro-games have a scalability problem, if they work well with two players they become messy in 4 or 5, or if they work well with many players they will become dry with only two. We plan to overcome this problem from the very beginning by changing the modular map setup according to the number of players.

I guess these details will do so far, as soon as we're convinced and start massive play-testing, we'll come back with many more details and pictures.

Until then, it looks like the winter is the season of great board game ideas. Stay tuned!
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