by Tim Hornyak
That's what game designer Jason Rohrer was shooting for when he unveiled A Game for Someone, winner of the Game Design Challenge at the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco.
Rohrer, who has created titles such as The Castle Doctrine, designed A Game for Someone for a challenge titled "Humanity's Last Game," which it won.
Rohrer's new board game is meant to be played not by anyone alive today, but by people some 2,000 years in the future, assuming our species survives that long. To that end it has been buried somewhere in the Nevada desert, Polygon tells us.
"I wanted to make a game that is not for right now, that I will never play," the website quoted Rohrer as saying, "and nobody now living would ever play."
Inspired by the Mancala group of board games, A Game for Someone was tested in video game form by AI algorithms, and apparently Rohrer did not even play it himself. It was designed to last through the ages, with the 18x18-inch board and silver cylindrical pieces machined from about 30 pounds of titanium. The rules, which Rohrer has kept secret, were printed as diagrams on acid-free paper, sealed in a Pyrex tube, and housed in more titanium. Rohrer then buried the game at a secret location in the Nevada desert, but kept the GPS location.
With dramatic panache, after describing the game he had GDC attendees open envelopes he had distributed. They contained a total of 1 million GPS coordinates.
"He estimates that if one person visits a GPS location each day with a metal detector, the game will be unearthed sometime within the next million days--a little over 2,700 years," Polygon noted.
Anyone up for some game hunting? Who knows what else you'll find buried out there.
Heh heh heh... Was he hired by the Nevada Chamber of Commerce? I can see for the remainder of my life a trickle, and then a stream, and eventually a flood -- of earnest (and not so much) would-be modern-day Indiana Joneses running around the deserts of Nevada (particularly around Las Vegas, LOL!) with shovels in hand. Oh my, the Nevada State Patrol will sure have their hands full rescuing would-be archaeologists... And maybe some folks will even die out in the desert, because they weren't smart enough to be sure they could be found before they ran out of water...
Well, it looks like a take on a merels game to me -- why else have the cross-hatchings on the board if they don't have anything to do with the game? Could simply be decoration, of course, but since when has a man ever concerned himself with decoration, except those who appear on PROJECT RUNWAY? And the holes in the board meant to hold pegged pieces...
Native Americans played a "war" game on a board with the same kind of cross-hatchings (but no holes to hold pegged pieces). I don't have my notes in front of me so I'm working from my very poor memory (these days) - it was called something like totolopsi and it was written about by Stewart Culin, among others (impossible to know if this game and similar were created pre-Hispanic invader contact). I've also seem photographs online (well-vetted) of carved-in-stone merels boards from ancient Egypt that date back to around 1400 BCE. They don't have holes within which to place pegged pieces, but they have the cross-hatchings and accepted rules say the playing pieces were places at the interstices of the squares, not inside the squares.
The cross-hatchings also remind me of the Xiang Qi board, Chinese chess, where the pieces were placed on the interstices of the squares on an 8 x 8 board, not inside the squares.
Interesting. I won't be around in 2700 or so years, unless reincarnation actually is true. But if it is, and I have access to whatever media of the day is, I'll be reporting back on the eventual discover of this Game for Someone.