lunes, 3 de junio de 2024

Founders of Reyvick Interview: Richard Garfield


Richard Garfield’s Founders of Reyvick is a 3-5 player economic game of speculation and competition on the newly settled world of Reyvick. Each player controls a company just starting out on the planet and attempting to amass the most wealth and craft the greatest legacy. Players deploy their Partners to collect resources from their assets and complete projects furthering research, exploration, and building across the planet. At the end of the game, the player with the greatest combination of wealth, assets, and projects wins the game. Founders of Reyvick is set in the dynamic and exciting Away Team universe, created by John Butterfield.

The rules and images shown here are not final.

You can find it in P500
Tell us a bit about how you came to design this game, and the books that it's based on.

The book that inspired Founders of Reyvick is Radical Markets, by Glen Weyl and Eric Posner. It was filled with fascinating ideas, and many of them I couldn't get my head around how they would actually work in practice. When faced with a complex system that I don't understand, I often design a game to get some better insight - usually that game is played an evening or two but then I am done with it. The game I made in this case felt like it had something pretty fresh about it that I wanted to share more broadly.

What are the key mechanisms in the game?

There are many ideas in Radical Markets, the one I was focused on was the idea of all property being for sale - the owners set the prices but pay taxes proportionate to that price. This is a simple and elegant idea - one may argue with whether it would actually be good policy, but it is definitely fun to play around with in a game environment. I knew that it was bringing something new to games when I kept hearing from my (extremely) seasoned gamers "I had fun, but I have no idea how to think about the decisions in the game."

What do the project cards represent and what are a few of your favorites?

The game is about settling a new planet, Reyvick. The project cards represent a mix of research in flora, fauna, or ancient ruins of a long passed alien civilization. They also represent infrastructure improvements like a University or Space Elevator. My favorites are probably Piranha Monkeys (I like to get them into my games where possible), and Monorail. I like the Monorail because it is a reference to a classic Simpsons episode; it costs a lot to build, but returns a lot of money to the builder and is worth a weirdly small number of Victory Points.

I noticed the game is set in the Away Team universe. How was that decision made? What is John Butterfield's involvement?

With Reyvick I wanted to see a varied, beautiful, and dangerous world which was the home of a long past alien civilization. I always like a little humor, but I don't want humor to dominate the flavor. John's Away Team universe was a perfect flavor match for what I wanted to see in Reyvick; it was suggested by GMT and I immediately went for it. John did the art for the districts, and we set the game in his universe. I am a long term fan of John's work - although embarrassingly I did not realize that till this project. Seeing that I was going to have some connection with the designer of Freedom in the Galaxy, and Ambush was a thrill! I am not so familiar with his recent work, however, and I intend to correct that.

Why did you bring this game to GMT? Do you have plans to publish more games with GMT in the future?

There was never a question that GMT was the ideal publisher for this project. While I always strive to make games that are broadly enjoyable, and a lot of GMT's catalogue can be described that way - they are very comfortable with games that aren't for everyone, and that deal with interesting and weighty topics. This foundation was perfect for Reyvick - I think Reyvick will find an audience and that it will contribute something to the world of games - but my first goal was to be true to the source material and economic ideas. This is something GMT is quite comfortable with. I also found them good partners for developing the game - I generally lean on my publisher a lot for playtest feedback, even more these post pandemic days than in the past. I want a publisher that gets that feedback and works with me to develop around it - rather than one that just publishes it or develops it without much designer input. When you look at their catalog, it is no surprise that they work that way.

I have no plans to publish more games with GMT, but I am hopeful the opportunity will come up; I do love games with a bit more gravitas, and GMT does those well.

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