Over three years ago, inspired by the excellent Ernle Bradford book on the Siege of Malta, I tried to find out on Boardgamegeek if a game existed on the topic. The only one that people could really refer me to was ‘The Knights of Justice’ (1986) a magazine title. Having tracked down a second hand copy, I was instantly turned off by the map and the NATO symbols on the counters. The vibrant clash of colours on the map gave me flashbacks to the sequence in ‘Dumbo’ where he has a nightmare after a trying out alcohol for the first time. The NATO symbols just felt completely wrong. I have to admit that I didn’t even bother to look at the rules.
My quest then changed from finding a decent game on the topic to creating my own. My first attempts were scribbled down in an old spiral bound notebook towards the end of 2012.
The principles I laid out here have kept me company throughout the design.
These are that it has to have…
1. Genuinely alternate endings
2. A variety of tactics that work
3. Prioritising of resources
4. Epic nature of the struggle
5. Decisions faced by the players that were faced by the main protagonists at the time
6. Fast paced interaction between the players – very little down time
I hate nothing more than the sensation that I am effectively strapped in for the ride. I have to follow one path to victory and the game is not designed as a game but more of a re-enactment, thereby hitting that goal of being a truly historical simulation. However the History matters too – and therein lies my dilemma.
As the link shows, by 2013 I was talking about ‘fiddling with a design’ but as I point out in my post I needed to make it as exciting as the book by Bradford. Now that was a challenge.