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Designer Notes: Day 0

I thought I would start a blog series that serves as my diary for where the ideas for this game came from. When I talk to people about this product, I feel that I am too close to a lot of it. It's hard to realize the things that have happened since the beginning that have made this game go from notes in a notebook to a full fledged game.

Day 0 to me is the day that I became inspired to pursue my interest in using a board game to tell the story of the Scientific Revolution. I love this time period with every fiber of my being. Board games, though? I have been a part of various board game groups throughout my life and enjoyed playing them, but I am more of a play a single player RPG late at night kind of guy. For over ten years, I had devoted myself to playing Magic at a fairly competitive level in legacy and had accrued more competitive decks than I could ever possibly need. Wait, so why board game then?

One of my acquaintances, now friend, from the St. Louis area created a board game, which I backed on Kickstarter in 2020, called Anthromancer. Calling it a board game doesn't really do it justice. It is more of a game system, where the simple components of cards, a few dice, and a board tell a complex and intertwined story that works its way through every civilization that has ever created a lore around a deity or the heavens above. It's cool, it looks beautiful, and it is deeper than any board game has any right to be.

So we connected, I did the LaTeX, he did the corrections, and we made a 180+ page manual to cover the depth of their project. Along the way, I had to go through some of my old notebooks from grad school, and I found my old measure theory notes which had sketches of a Magic-like game. In the game, players would compete to accrue basic resources of fire, earth, air, water, and AEther and use the Platonic solids to track the amounts for each of these resources. The players could then spend these resources to cast spells or summon golems to beat each other up. The players would start with the same cards at the beginning, and use their resources to entice other characters from the world to assist them in their fight by bringing various equipment with them.

It was cool. It had depth and a ton of hidden mathematics which only a few people would fully appreciate. And I wanted to make it.

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