The best gift ever

10 Feb

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple weeks now, and I’ve got to admit right now that I’ve fallen short at the challenge that was given to me by the creator of this gift. But I’ve let it go too long…and I need to share.


I know many of my friends have seen this already, but for those that haven’t – an online artist friend I’ve always just known as Bratwurst (though he goes by The Magic Trashman in his other artistic pursuits) kind of came out of nowhere, and made this wonderful piece of art of me, for me.

Best-Shot-ViewmasterIt’s me, as “The Viewmaster” and it still gets dusty in the room when I stop and look at it. But that’s not the goal of this post… because Bratwurst gave me a challenge: to actually make this a playable game. As he told me at one point, his idea was to actually include a sound chip that would speak commands  – think Dark Tower or Omega Virus. However, he knew one thing about my boardgaming hobby… that I didn’t care much for “normal” mechanics. After years of listening to me blather about board games online, he knew I wasn’t a fan of “Lose a Turn” and traditional “Roll and Move” games. Yet that was all he really knew, so he didn’t finish the game rules.

viewmaster5So he sent me this picture, with hand made pieces…


…hand made cards…

viewmaster2…and the challenge to make a game out of it.

And while I don’t have a game, I have some basic ideas that I’ll share.

First off: the setting:

The Earth, as we knew it, is gone. Nobody would ever say what exactly happened to it, but as I look into the night sky where the Earth used to be from just outside my tent on Mars, all I see is a blue dust cloud.

As Man seeks to now colonize Mars, they want to rebuild certain aspects of our lives of Earth, but there was a problem. Nobody could save the servers. “The Cloud” that all of Man’s history had been recorded on is now just stardust. All that’s left is my box of dusty old reels, and my beloved set of Viewmasters that I managed to bring here with me.

The Game:

As time went on, I began to envision a game, almost like a variation of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” The goal of the game is to identify 5 locations / movies / events etc. By using actual viewers and reels. While the board itself has a track, much like a Monopoly board, I would like to try and use it in a different way.

I would love to use the reel as a rondel as used in a game like Finca…where you get things by moving around it, but you have to decide what you want to pass up in order to get there. Perhaps pulling the red chips (which would have various stickers on them) out of a bag would be the mechanism there.

There are several spaces on the outer board with different icons on them. Perhaps those could be action spaces where players may have to try and give clues about their reels in different ways. Perhaps verbally describing a scene, or trying to draw the scene. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a post-apocalyptic party game before (there may be a reason why…).

Of course, as the game goes along, you would collect the action cards. Each one of them would give you some kind of advantage (maybe free peeks at a couple pictures from the other players’ reels, as an example). I have no idea what kind of action could go with the “Glazed Prescience” card, but I assure you, it will be powerful!

Anyway, I hope people got a kick out of seeing this amazing gift I was given. If you design games for a living, and get inspired to give ideas about what you’d do with this set of materials, by all means post away (even for fun, but if you make it into a real game, I want a cut 😉 ).

Also, my friend The Magic Trashman / Bratwurst has mentioned that he would be willing to give game art a try…so if you’re looking for an artist for your next game, please give him a look. You can see more of his art at this link!!

(in case the first link was too subtle)


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