I think it was August 2012. I was extremely tired with testing Robinson, playing four or five test games every single day, playing all those six scenarios, all those different cards and player variants. I was low with fuel, terribly exhausted. I really dreamed about not playing prototype for a year.
One day, at moment of despair I called Michal Oracz. The guy who designed Neuroshima Hex, then Witchcraft and then abandoned new designs and turned to his other passions…
So when I understood that I have no strength to start working on new prototypes for 2013 I decided to make a call and summon him.
‘Michal, I need help. I did 6 games in past 4 years, now I am finishing with Robinson and I am sick of playing my prototypes. I need break. I need one year vacation. I need you to give me game.’
‘OK’ said Michal.
He then opened his drawer and next day visited my office.
‘Here are listed some ideas I have.’ he said and passed me two sheets of paper. There were about 40 games listed. Woow. It took me a while to read it.
There were few interesting ideas. I asked about the one called Alien. I like Alien. To be honest, who doesn’t, huh?
Michal took piece of paper and began to draw…
‘In all these sf games like Doom or Gears of War players are moving miniatures – one move 3 spaces, then the other guy moves 2 spaces and aims, and then the next guy moves 3 spaces and then first guy moves again and they are moving and moving…’
‘…what’s your point?’ I asked.
‘I want my Alien to be like Mall of Horror’ he said. Michal knows me. He knows that Mall of Horror is in my Top 10 games ever, spot 1. Best game on that very planet.
Yes, he got my attention.
‘Mall of Horror?’
‘Yes, you know, locations in Mall of Horror has rules, you move to Security HQ, and you see where zombies go, you move to Parking and you draw items… There is no I move three spaces. There is I run to Parking to grab some weapons!
I want few locations on this space station and you move between these locations, but there are no small steps. You move from Corridors to Armory, you move from Dock to Bridge, you move from Bridge to Med lab. Each time you move, it matters.’
I already liked it, but he kept talkin’:
‘You move to Med Lab and you heal all your guys. You move to Armory and you got super weapon. You move to Corridors and you kill enemy. Huge actions. Every move matters. No: I move 3 spaces. I want: I move to Armory. This players pawns would not represent one soldier, but rather group. If you move to Corridors it means, your faction took control over Corridors and you can shoot enemy. You move to Med lab it means your soldiers took control over Med lab and you can heal now…’
He was talking more, but no need to report all of this. You got his point, right? This movement would be rather abstract, but on the other hand so much thematic. Just like Neuroshima Hex, war game that we all love and play a lot – there are units, battles, HQ and such stuff, but in its core this is great abstract game.
Michal got this new idea – one space station. Few rooms with powerful abilities. And your faction trapped there with enemy. Every time you move, you move to new room and you activate its ability.
‘I want this for Essen 2013.’ I said.
More than year later I can say: I have it for Essen 2013. It’s called Theseus. Michal Oracz is back. I summoned him and we have great sf tactical game.
And me? Well, I didn’t have vacations. Perhaps next year…