Actually, why are you here? Well chances are, if you're anything like me, it's because you're a bit of a board game nut. I know I'm a board game nut because I packed up my normal life and decided to make games instead. And that's mostly because, though there are plenty of games I enjoy, there aren't enough that I love.
Back in days long gone, my brother and I would have epic contests in the limited spheres of Monopoly and Risk. Once, he tried to push me down a flight of stairs (he says I did the pushing, just like him) over such a game. I loved that feeling I had when I was a kid, wrestling and screaming with my brother, trying to get him to eat my socks all because of a board game. I haven't been able to find games like that recently.
So I did the American thing and set out to make one.
I wanted an engine builder that had a small, humble beginning and an epic your-hair-is-on-fire ending. I wanted tactics and strategy where players keep counting each other’s armies with worried expressions. I wanted trading and deal making like your life depended on it. I like seeing alliances made and even better, alliances broken. And I love a win that feels hard fought and honest, a victory earned. I like seeing people laughing at and with each other at the same table where that one person is just staring at the board, intently plotting.
That's American Empire. It's filled with joyous malice. It has an engine simple enough for a first time gamer to grasp and layered enough that ten games in you'll still be finding new tricks to try out. It breaks the 4th wall, sparking conversations, discussions and rounds of "Oh really, I didn't know that..." In playtesting I've had a husband shaking his head sadly at his wife's "betrayal", gamers sad eating pizza over sudden sneak attacks and genuine conversations triggered by the game temporarily overtake the game itself. I eat that stuff up. For me, all those bits, from the engine building to the plotting to the social, are the joy of gaming and the heart of what I wanted.
I worry a bit that in terms of the gaming community that I'm the like the drunk oaf who stumbles into a party shouting "Where my people at?" Who are we kidding. I'm definitely that guy. I’m just hoping that my people are out there.
That's why I’m here. Hopefully that's why you are too.