Hyperborea - the making of

Sharing with the community the creation process of "Hyperborea", my new light civilization game
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When it all started (if I can still remember)

Andrea Chiarvesio
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Unpublished PrototypeHello reader(s)!

I am starting this blog to share with you my thoughs about my "new" project, a light civilization game called (temporary) HYPERBOREA.

As people who met me around a gaming table know, I am really a sucker for Civilization game. Before you ask: yes, my most beloved one is "Throug the Ages" by the genius of Vlaada Chvatil.

Even if Olympus has some civilization aspects, I would call Hyperborea my first real attempt to design a civ game. Olympus indeed has the whole "building your city and evolve" part, with some war element, but it lacks the exploration, the conquest, the technology development that are imho part of a real civilization game.

I was looking for a good starting idea, and I thought I stumbled on one in late 2010.

Each civ/tribe/people has, to my eyes, basic common "skills". In a way or another, all population learn to substain themselves and grow, to make war with their enemies or at least to engage dangerous animals and hunt, to explore, to learn new knowledges, to build "things" and to develop some form of economic system.

So, I started thinking to a game where players moves were the results of differents way of combining those basic skills. After a while, the tribe/nation of a player would start to specialize, acquiring more "warfare" elements, or more "exploration" elements, etc...

so, for instance, explore + build = horseback riding or chariots, while warfare + learn = war tactics, and maybe economy + explore = travelling merchants, explore + population growt = migration... you see where we're going.

In the golden age of deck building game, the first idea was, obviously, to turn this mechanic into a deck building game but... everyone was designing deck building games at that time (and they're still doing it now).

So, I wanted to try a different approach, and I thought "I don't need text for those effects, why can't they be cubes of different colors? A red cube stands for warfare, and a green one for exploration. So, one green+one red cube means that I can move one of my warriors into an adjacent space and attack".

That's basically where the game (at that time in my mind called "civilicube") started.

In the next articles I'll describe how this rough idea was turned in the first prototype with the help of my co-designer Pierluca Zizzi, the first changes and the first playtesting sessions.

thanks for reading so far (I apologize for my far from being perfect English and for excessive use of ""...), to the next post!
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