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Usually when designers create a game it is with one purpose in mind - To see it in the hands of users as soon as possible. However not Jason Rohrer! His latest brainchild 'Game for Someone' is meant to be discovered and played by people that inhabit the earth, 2,700 years from now.
The designer who created this futuristic game for the Game Design Challenge, the highlight of the annual Gamers Design Conference that took place at San Francisco's Moscone Center from March 25th-29th, 2013, says that he was inspired by ancient games like Mancala and also ancient architects and builders who designed cathedrals that they never saw completed, during their lifetimes.
Keeping in mind the theme of the challenge, Humanity's Last Game', Jason began by designing 'Game For Someone', on the computer and setting some basic rules. After that he allowed to computer to playtest the game for design flaws and change the rules as it saw fit.
Then came the bigger challenge - To build the board game. Given that Jason believes it will take over two thousand years for any human to discover it, the model had to to be built from some very long-lasting material. After carefully thinking through various options like wood, cardboard, aluminum and even glass, the designer settled on the strongest of them all- Titanium. Using 30 pounds of the metal, he painstakingly crafted an 18-inch by 18-inch game board along with the requisite game pieces.
In order to ensure that the future human who discovered the game could figure out how to play it, he then printed the rules on three pieces of archival, acid free paper, and sealed them in a Pyrex glass tube that he placed inside a titanium cylinder. Once everything was ready and sealed, he took his futuristic game deep into the Nevada Desert and buried it in a location far from any human activity. The only thing he kept were the GPS coordinates, for the location.
Prior to unveiling this unusual game at the competition, Jason placed an envelope with an intriguing ' Please do not open yet' notice on every seat in the room. He then presented the video version of his board game, without revealing the rules and even blurring out some sections, so that other game designers could not replicate the idea.
Following the presentation he asked the audience to open the envelopes, each of which contained 900 different sets of coordinates - Possible clues to where the game might be hidden. Given that the group as a whole received about one million coordinates, Jason estimates that even if every person visits a GPS location a day, it will take about a million days or a little over 2,700 years to discover the board game, which happens to be exactly what he wants. Not surprisingly, Game for Someone, won the 10th Game Design Challenge, which as it happens was also the final one!
Resources: odditycentral.com polygon.com