Ever want to run Ankh-Morpork? You’ve got the chance now!See you there,
We are delighted to announce that a prototype of the exciting new Discworld game, Ankh-Morpork, will be available for preview and demonstration at NADWCon2011. Please read on for a message from Martin Wallace of Treefrog Games.
Just over a year ago one of my gaming friends suggested Discworld as a possible subject for a board game. This September, that idea will become reality for the gaming public. In the space of a year I have read 99 percent of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, come up with a hopefully decent game, and made a whole bunch of new friends.
The game is set in Ankh-Morpork, which needs no introduction. The background story is that Lord Vetinari has vanished, with no explanation. There is now a power vacuum to be filled, and your aim is to oblige. You will be randomly assigned a secret personality at the beginning of the game, which will tell you what you need to do to win. If you are one of the three lords (Selichii, de Worde, Rust) then you want to take control of a certain number of areas. If you are Dragon King of Arms then you want to cause trouble. If you are Chrysoprase then you want to make money. You could be Lord Vetinari and secretly back in the city, which means you want to get your minions in a certain number of areas. Finally, you could be Vimes and aim to maintain the status quo, i.e. don’t let any other bugger win. The fact that you do not know what other players are aiming to do creates the right amount of paranoia.
The game is built around a deck of cards, which are mostly well known characters from the books. You play a card, do what it says on it, then refill your hand back to five cards. The cards allow you to place minions on the board (the people who will do your dirty work), remove other minions (with assassins) build buildings, earn money, and lots of other stuff. The actions on the cards are tailored to fit the character of the personality they represent, thus CMOT Dibbler may or may not make a profit, the Fire Brigade will not burn your house down for a reasonable sum of money, and Detritus will put a halt to trouble in a forthright manner. The characters you have to be careful about playing are the wizards, as when you do you also have to draw a random event card. There are no ‘good’ random events. The game ends either when a player achieves their victory conditions or the deck of cards runs out (when Vimes will win if he is in play).
This project is the largest one I have ever undertaken, and without the help of an amazing team of people it would still be just an idea. The kind people at the Discworld Emporium (Bernard and Isobel Pearson, Ian Mitchell, and Reb Voyce) have been instrumental in making sure the artwork is spot on. Ian spent over 300 hours producing an incredibly detailed map of the city. To help with the many card illustrations (one hundred and thirty two unique cards) I managed to convince my regular artist, Peter Dennis, to help out. He has kept up an amazing work rate and turned out some absolutely stunning images (which have passed the Sir Terry Pratchett seal of approval). Finally, Paul Kidby has kindly allowed the use of his artwork on the box cover. My own humble contribution to this project has been to do my best to treat the characters created by Sir Terry in as respectful a manner as possible. I wanted to design a game that captured the feel of the city, rather than paste the theme onto a Monopoly variant. Sometime later this year I will find out if I succeeded in this endeavour.