Mortals: new game in development

We’ve been posting about our new table game platform for more than a month, but we’ve only shown off one game. That’s a crime and it’s time for justice.

For those who don’t yet know about it (nearly everyone), Blinks are small hexagonal bots that emit beautiful LED light in full RGB, they communicate with players and each other through light, and they can think and remember. They can be used to implement all kinds of games that wouldn’t otherwise be possible on a tabletop, and if I may say, they might be mistaken for a new form of life.

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Today we show off an in-development game that wouldn’t likely exist without AutomaTiles. I’ll describe the current (and still changing) rules first, and then where it came from.

The key idea behind the game is that the pieces age and die, and the last player with a living piece wins.

Current Rules

Each game is intense and lasts just a minute or two (though we can make it as long as we want by making the tiles age more slowly).

Here’s an example from a session at Babycastles in New York City:

Origin

Mortals is inspired by one of the weirdest games in the history of board games: Tamsk

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In Tamsk:

There are more rules that make it somewhat complicated (having to do with depositing rings around the board to restrict your opponent’s movement), but the goal is the same: kill your opponent’s pieces by making them run out of time, before yours do.

Tamsk didn’t work for a number of reasons: it was expensive, the sand-timers could be glitchy, and it was maybe too complicated for the time-pressure it put players under.

That’s no knock against the designer (Kris Burm, one of the greatest board game designers ever for my money). It’s just hard to create a traditional board game with time as an intrinsic strategic variable.

But for Blinks it’s easier, so we thought we should try to design a game like that.

Because the tiles can communicate with one another, they can be made to do cool things with time that you could never do with a traditional board game, for example have tiles suck the life out of each other like little retributive vampires (which indeed they do in this game).

Mortals is still in development and will surely change before we’re done; feel free to share your opinions about how you’d like to see it develop, or other ideas for games this might inspire.

If you’d like to follow our work and be notified when our Kickstarter launches, sign up here:


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