To practice in game design we have to make games, sadly it can be very hard some times to find programmers, so I decided to make board games. The Board Games are faster to create than Video Games and it’s easier for a one-man project but it is more expensive (because the materials) and that is also more difficult to organise play-tests. My family had never really been attract by board games, some times mothers and grandmothers enjoy playing to some old cards games but that is all, so I had to learn everything about board games before start. For exemple, the main systems used by most of games, how was seperated every types of games, where I could find materials and references. Also I had to know what games was famous and what was the news games on the market without have to buy every games, for this point, the websites Tric-Trac and BoardGameGeek helped me a lot.
After almost one month of preparation I was ready to start. I decided to make a board game, for those who are afraid by the Chess’s rules. Since I was young, I always enjoyed Chess but it was really hard to find people to play with me. So I decided to create a game that offer the same sensations, but without the heavy rules.
First, to make this game, I started to study the original Chess game and in same time I was thinking about the meaning of my game. Every game tell stories, even the most abstract one. In the Chess the players have to find the equilibrium between the attack and the defense to protect the king. It gave me the idea to ask to the players to protect something, a little like the King in Chess but without kill (eat) anything. I was in thailand earlier this year, that make me thought about elephants, A long time ago, people used elephants to make war, to simplify, the one with the biggest army of elephants wins the war. So my first rule was “If you catch the two elephants of the other team, you win”, of curse you had elephants to protect too. I hope this game can be a kind of initiation game for some people. The rules and the board are really different of Chess but they share the same sensations.
“Really different of Chess but they share the same sensations”
I had my intentions, the main rules of my game and a name, “Chang” (“Elephant” in Thai language). I was ready to start the play-tests in using the same board than Chess on paper, then I changed it as and when I improved my game. After a while I had a playable prototype on paper and wood (from a Checkers), I was so proud of my game that I decided to work, to make a game as beautiful than the game design was good. I made an elephant in 3D and searched a FabLab to print it with a 3D Printer, even my friend who was in Amsterdam ask to a Fablab there to print one elephant for me (the big pink elephant). I realised than cheap 3D Printer could not do the job, because I needed small elephants and soldiers to have a board not to big (A4). So I searched on internet then I find Sculpteo, expensive but good quality using the Powder Sintering.
Chang was born, I continued the play-tests and start to search editors who could be interested. I sended e-mails to Blue Orange and Gigamic, the festival of Essen was soon (the second biggest festival of Board Games in the world), so I asked for an appointment there, they both accepted. I find a band of buddies on internet who was looking for another room-mate, I buyed my ticket of train Paris-Essen and was ready. A few weeks later I was there, to Essen. I was alone in this country that I never seen before, waiting for people that I had never seen before (only spoke 2 times by e- mail), it was exiting… Am I crazy ?… Those guys came to this festival every years and they had a car, so they helped me a lot. Thanks you guys, with you I tried a lot of new games and saw things that I didn’t knew at all. They bring me to an hotel where a lot of game makers was testing their protoype of games, I tried some of them and I also met Bruno Faidutti and Bruno Cathala there, two very famous creator of board games.
“I had the surprise and the honor to met Thierry Denoual“
Playing it’s fun but I was there for one particular reason, to meet people from two big compagnies to show them my game, Chang. First I met Matilde Spriet from Gigamic, she was very nice, she listened me make my presentation and she gave me some advices, then she told me to give to her the rules of my game. I succeeded the first step, after that I just had to wait for an answer. But I had another appointment, this time with Stephane Maurel from Blue Orange. I show him the game but he told me that he wasn’t the most qualify to judge Chang… so he turn his back and he called someone, I had the surprise and the honor to see Thierry Denoual to come to take his place. He is the boss of Blue Orange and he creator of one of my favorite board games “Gobblet!”. We spoke a while together and he saw my game but someone came and he had to go, so he asked me to comeback the next day, that is what I did. The next day I cameback, He wasn’t there but I met Timothée Leroy (Boss of Blue Orange Europe and before that he was the boss of Jactalea), we was waiting for Thierry Denoual together a moment, he talked to me about the ambitions of Blue Orange, his passion for board games, I am really happy to have met someone like him. Thierry Denoual finaly came, then we have started to walk together and talk, the fact was that Blue Orange could not produce my game, He told me that this game was to hard to produce for him (because the size of the board). Then he ask me to follow him, together we walked to the stand of Ferti (they made Siam). There I met the boss, Cédric Huet and together we played to my game, two times, before he told me than sadly Ferti couldn’t make strategy games anymore, only puzzle games.
The Essen’s Spiel was over, I had to goback home. I take my staffs, said goodbye to everyone and I was gone to my train for Paris. It was my first time in Germany, I have met a lot of people, learned so much and played so many differents games. But Essen was over, after two month and half I received an e-amil from Gigamic, unfortunatly we didn’t made Chang together. I hope that maybe one day, I will find a way to produce Chang.
It was a very interesting experience and I want to thanks all peoples that I met there : Thierry Denoual, Cédric Huet (Boss of Ferti), Timothée Leroy (Boss of Blue Orange Europe), Matilde Spriet, Antoine Davrou (Superlude), Stem (Box Game), Stephane Maurel, Mimo & Claire (Blue Orange), Peter Hawes (Royals, Francis Drake. Thanks for the autograph), Charles Chevalier (Bombix, Abysse), Bruno Faidutti and Bruno Cathala.
2 players, for 20 to 30mins, 7 years old or more.
CONTENT: 8 pawns and 2 elephants black + 8 pawns and 2 and elephants white.
Goal: You must block the two elephants of the opposing team before your own elephants are blocked. So if you cannot move your elephants, you loose.