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【Board Game Miscellaneous】The Stories That Classic IP And Board Games Have To Tell
2020-06-22

IP can be understood as a collective term for all famous literary creations (literature, film, television, anime, games, etc.). A well-known IP brings huge traffic and tens of thousands of commercial value. It is a weapon for expanding circles and cross-border. Pioneer, the first choice for linkage. Everyone wants to create IP, and at the same time they are coveting all kinds of IP.


As a drop in the sea in the field of literary creation, board games are mostly unpopular in the impression of ordinary people. Most of them can only rely on the promotion of some powerful IP to help them achieve the goal of expanding the circle and cross-border. As everyone knows, many well-known classic IP "Kaishan originator" is the so-called "unremarkable" board game.


This is not difficult to understand, because an excellent board game work often has a complete world view and value system, has a unique vitality, and is inclusive, with a distinctive display form, which is suitable for cross-border cooperation-these are also exactly The necessary conditions for forming a "big IP". This article starts with the constant "blood relationship" between some classic IPs and tabletop game shears, to see what kind of tabletop games have the potential to form IP, and what the road of tabletop game IP development will look like.


1.Dungeons and Dragons

DND, a salesman of an American insurance company in 1974, Gary Gygax and his friend Dave Arneson, co-created this table game called "Dragon and Dungeon". It is considered to be the originator of TRPG, and it is also the first truly commercial role-playing game on the table.


Gary Gygax should have never imagined that "Dragon and Dungeon" will be regarded as a classic later. On the contrary, at the time, this game was even directly linked to the Satan worship in the Western media: think about it, a group of Young people crowded into a small room, all fantasizing about being knights and heroes, while talking about magic and artifacts in their mouths, while still scrambling to blush. Anyone watching this scene felt abnormal.

It was not until the mid-to-late 1980s that "Dragon and Dungeon" was gradually accepted by the mass media. In fact, this board game was originally a product of the combination of fantasy literature and the chess game "Chainmail", especially because it is greatly influenced by the fantasy literature of "The Lord of the Rings". Players who have been exposed to DND should be able to feel the implications. The strong middle-earth flavor.

However, "Dragon and Dungeon" itself has no stories, only the rules guide, all the stories in the game are created by the players themselves. While "Dragon and Dungeon" keeps updating and improving the rules, officials and players have also created various and ever-changing story scripts, such as Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, etc., so that players can carry out a rich and interesting adventure experience under this set of rules.


"Dragon and Dungeon" opened the wave of TRPG commercialization, and many other themed running group games were born. If it is limited to this, this board game may not have such a good reputation. In the process of continuous innovation and development, "Dragon and Dungeon" has formed its own unique characteristics.

First of all, many people should have seen all kinds of "camp nine-grid grid" on the Internet. These terms are actually derived from a camp taxonomy table in the DND game rule setting.

A typical creature in the DND world has a camp that roughly describes its morality and personal attitude. Faction is a combination of two factors: one confirms morality (goodness/evil/neutrality), and the other describes attitudes towards society and order (lawfulness/chaos/neutrality). Nine separate camps determine all possible combinations, so "scientific" and rigorous settings have become enduring hot spots on the Internet today.



Secondly, the most common occupations such as warriors, mages, priests, warlocks, thieves, druids, paladins, and other races in various video games or board games, as well as races such as barbarians, goblins, and ogres, are almost all born out of DND. To be more precise, it is derived from Dungeons and Dragons (ADND) written by Gary Gygax.

In addition, as soon as the warrior is mentioned in the game, it is inseparable from the power. The mage needs intelligence. The thief depends on agility. These attribute settings are almost all from DND. Very early, DND has set different attributes for the six major tasks of strength, agility, physique, perception, charm and eloquence, as well as HP and defensive power AC. These commonly used mechanisms in later generations games The settings are all DND first.

Many veteran game players should have heard of classic works such as "Baldur's Gate", "Planescape: Torment", "Neverwinter Nights" built under the DND rule system, but it is no exaggeration to say that, in addition to these obvious works, Later, most games with RPG elements were more or less affected by DND.

In addition to the game, related comics, anime, movies, and fantasy novels have been launched in the DND system, such as the classic "Dragonlance Chronicle Trilogy" trilogy series, Forgotten Realms series have produced a lot of influences to cultural and artistic circles. The relevant script stories and fan works created by the players themselves are endless.

DND can be said to be the top-level IP of the "creation" level in various games. Its influence cannot be underestimated. Its board game itself is also a mountain that all players who love running groups can't get around. The rules, settings and background of a game need to pursue the ultimate perfection, complexity and balance in order to create such a universal and vital classic.

2.Warhammer

DND, which is known as "the origin of all things" in Europe and America, ushered in a considerable rival in 1983. In the past, the famous British board game manufacturer and importer Games Workshop (hereinafter referred to as GW) faced the impact of electronic games and trading cards on the market, launched a table war game "Warhammer" The first version, also known as Warhammer Fantasy Battle because of its fantasy background. Four years later, GW launched the first version of "Warhammer40K" with a more technological background. This role-playing strategy board game was called "Rogue Trader" at the time.

Both Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer40K have successively launched multiple versions. As a board game of war chess, the gameplay is actually not much different, and its core mechanics and balance are not good enough. The "Warhammer" IP has a greater influence in the future, in addition to its exquisite and beautiful model, the most important thing is that it has a grand and powerful background story and characteristic settings.

Unlike the original DND, there is no fixed story. GW has spared no effort in writing the story of the Warhammer background. Whether it is Warhammer Fantasy Battle or Warhammer40K, dozens of different styles and interconnected races have fought each other in a long time, all kinds of ups and downs The changing fantasy stories are addictive. Among them, Warhammer Fantasy Battle was completely wiped out by GW in 2015 with the "THE END TIMES" event, and entered a new era called "AGE OF SIGMAR".

With the same fantasy background, Warhammer's story and settings are inevitably affected by DND. After all, GW has previously been an agent of DND in the UK. However, Warhammer has also initiated a lot of his own innovations, such as green-skinned orcs, paladins with sledgehammers, dwarf musketeers, etc., which were later used in many video games.

Although it has a complete world view, a grand background story, and rich ethnic settings, it has become a classic IP in the game field, but its influence cannot be compared with DND, especially in China. It is a niche.

The reason is inseparable from GW's conservative attitude towards IP promotion. TSR has made similar mistakes in the promotion of DND culture. They insist that DND belongs only to themselves, and refuse to authorize Japanese game companies, forcing fans to close their interest websites. GW is more extreme in this respect.

First, they refused to translate their thick rule books and novels. Secondly, there are many restrictions on the film adaptation. The Warhammer series has such a rich storyline that can be adapted into a movie. At present, there is only one "Ultramarines" movie, and even GW Company has also reported the fandom movies produced by fans. court.

In the field of video games, GW is also very conservative. Many people should have heard a story: BLIZZARD mainly came to the door to request cooperation, hoping to electronically Warhammer, but the arrogant GW company has repeatedly rejected BLIZZARD, which was still a small company. . No way, BLIZZARD made the fantasy background "Warcraft" and "StarCraft" in a fantasy background actually wearing fantasy background, facing Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40K.

After the two IP fires of "Warcraft" and "StarCraft", GW Company regretted that it handed over the right to adapt video games to THQ Company in 2003, and made an excellent "Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War" works. Unfortunately, after the bankruptcy of THQ in 2012, the game adaptation rights were divided by some small companies. Therefore, the quality of many games titled "Warhammer" is uncomfortable, further reducing the influence of Warhammer. It was not until "Total War: Warhammer", "Warhammer: End Times-Vermintide" and other masterpieces appeared that Warhammer's IP video game gradually began to regain its reputation.

Sticking to the field of board games has allowed Warhammer to gain a foothold in board games, and has launched many commendable works, but as a classic IP, Warhammer has not yet exerted its maximum value. We look forward to GW's ability to dig and develop the potential of Warhammer in the future, bring more IP derivative works beyond table games, and let Warhammer shine in more fields.

3.Monopoly

According to incomplete statistics, the sales volume of the original "Monopoly" has so far exceeded 250 million sets, and more than 750 million players have been attracted by this game, calling it the most popular and popular in the world. Board games are no exaggeration. The number of players in each version of the video game adapted from "Monopoly" is countless.

"Monopoly" has a long history. Its first edition was designed by Charles Darrow in the 1930s and released by the well-known American toy manufacturer "Parker Brothers". However, this game mode can be traced back to the early 1903 of the last century. American female reporter Elizabeth Magie designed a board game called "Landlord Game" in order to explain the "Georgism" single tax system theory. In the game, players will be in a square area surrounded by streets and facilities, to buy and sell real estate, collect rents, etc. This is the prototype of the "Monopoly" game.





The original design of "Landlord Game" is to let people see the harm of land privatization, so the game has two rules of "monopoly" and "prosperity". Under the rule of prosperity, the land is shared, after each player makes money through the development of real estate, it is shared by other players, and finally reaches a certain property and wins together. The monopoly rule is the common gameplay today. After the land is purchased, it is privately owned. Players compete fiercely with each other, and eventually only one winner remains and becomes an oligarch.

Charles Darrow borrowed this gameplay model, removed the "prosperity" rule that players were not keen on, and improved the "monopoly" rule, named "Monopoly" as his own work, by selling the copyright to "Parker Brothers" "The company has earned millions of dollars in copyright fees. Magie only received a copyright fee of $500, which is really disappointing in comparison.

In any case, the gameplay of "Monopoly" does have its own uniqueness, and it is still popular throughout the world after a hundred years. For Chinese players, in addition to board games, the most impressive is the "Monopoly" series of PC games produced by Softstar Entertainment Inc.

The electronic version of "Monopoly" has actually existed for a long time, but due to the generally unknown quality, Softstar Entertainment Inc. has simplified the original rules and combined with a variety of novel and interesting new gameplay to make the "Monopoly" series become It is a classic in Chinese single-player games, especially "Monopoly 4" is a good memory of many players. Now when it comes to the names of Sun Xiaomei, Mrs. Qian, and Abobo, it is estimated that many people still think of their appearance. .

4.Cyberpunk2020


Cyberpunk culture is based on the 1968 American science fiction novelist Philip K. Dick's novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" "Is a milestone, which laid the tone through William Ford Gibson's 1984 novel "Neuromancer", and then got the name "cyberpunk" from an article written by Bruce Bethke for hackers, thus officially becoming a flourishing cultural system.

Although cyberpunk is not from table games, the first combination of this cultural system and games is in the field of table games. In 1988, inspired by the movie "Blade Runner", well-known board game designer Mike Pondsmith and several colleagues created the story script and rules of "Cyberpunk". Mike Pondsmith is a fan of DND running team games. , So this board game is also a TPRG game, because the backstory is set in 2013, so it is generally called "cyberpunk 2013".

Two years later, Pondsmith launched the sequel of this board game "Cyberpunk 2020". If the first version of the game is still a bit immature, then in Pondsmith read the classic cyberpunk system novels "Neuromancer" and "Hardwired" and other works, and after carefully combing the game mechanics, the polished "cyberpunk 2020 》Already perfect, not only the game mechanism tends to be perfect, but also the background story is more grand and rigorous.

After the game was released, Pondsmith and his colleagues have published six background novels on "cyberpunk 2020", which further enriched the world view and plot structure of this work, and the "cyberpunk" board game has become a major game in the field. Classic IP, the name of "Night City" has also started in the player group.

Although the third edition of the "Cyberpunk" board game is generally regarded as not good enough and did not achieve the success of the first two games, this IP of the board game has had a great impact on the subsequent cyberpunk background video games. The most well-known is the "Cyberpunk 2077" which will be released this year.

In fact, after the release of "Cyberpunk 2020", many companies wanted to obtain the copyright authorization of "Cyberpunk 2020" for electronic adaptation, but most of them lacked sincerity, and some even just wanted to get a The title and then play the content at will, so all were rejected by Pondsmith. It wasn't until CDPR contacted him that Pondsmith went to Poland for a field inspection before he was assured of transferring the copyright to "CD PROJEKT".

"Cyberpunk 2077" will follow the "Cyberpunk 2020" worldview and story line, and it is expected that it will also leave a strong mark in the history of the game after its launch. At the same time, the "Cyberpunk 2077" board game version will also be launched by the well-known board game manufacturer CMON in recent years. From 2013 to 2077, from electronic to board games to board games, the history cycle back and forth, cyberpunk IP has never faded in this cycle.

5.Civilization

"Civilization", which created the 4X system gameplay, is called "Sid Meier’s Civilization". Since the birth of the first work in 1991, a total of seven works have appeared in the "Civilization" series in the past three decades. Among them, "Civilization V" and "Civilization VI" are the pinnacle of the entire game series, and they are also the most players. As we all know, "The last round again" and "Unconsciously dawn" are both popular stems from the Civilization series.

Many turn-based strategy development games are deeply influenced by the "Civilization" series, including the board game masterpiece "Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization", which added the game designer Sid Meier into a modern leader card.

The big IP of "Civilization" actually has a certain relationship with table games. Because in 1980, before the birth of "Civilization 1," an English gentleman named Francis Tresham designed a board game with the theme of the development of ancient civilizations, and its name was called "Civilization".

In this board game, players have to lead their own countries and people to establish and develop their own civilization through culture and economy in the long period from the original farming of 8000 BC to the rise of Rome in the third century BC or so. , Politics, and wars to win competition with other opponents. Judging from the description of the gameplay, it is indeed similar to the "civilization" video game. In addition, because the players in the game have to go through a long period of civilization development, coupled with their own heavy, this board game is also a "time killer", a single game often requires 7 or 8 hours or more.

Of course, the quality of this board game itself is still good enough, the gameplay mechanism is quite interesting, strategic, and is widely considered to be the first to adopt the "Technology tree" system in the field of board games. Therefore, in 1982, the well-known American game publisher "Avalon Hill" released this work. In the eyes of many professionals, this "civilization" board game is one of the best games about the development of ancient civilizations. It created the "Technology tree" system, which was absorbed and adopted by many board games and video games.

So, did "Sid Meier’s Civilization" originate from this board game? After all, the two themes are similar, and Bruce Shelley, Sid Meier's important collaborator in the production of "Civilization", once had the experience of working in the "Avalon Hill" board game company.

However, according to Sid Meier himself, he did hear the board game "Civilization" and its gameplay through Bruce Shelley, and was inspired to some extent, but he has never played this board game. However, out of caution, Sid Meier's company still bought the naming license for "Civilization" board games from "Avalon Hill". To a certain extent, table games are also the origin of "civilization", and they are always associated with them.

Conclusion
Rather than adapting classic IP from other fields to table games, it is better to build the table game itself into a classic IP to reversely affect other fields. The trend of breaking the circle thus formed is probably more effective than the former. Because the adaptation of IP to a tabletop game extends the cultural value of its own IP, such as the adaptation of Marvel IP to a tabletop game, it is always Marvel that makes eyeballs and gimmicks, not the tabletop game itself.

Creating a board game as an IP promotes the value of the board game itself, and is also the best way to push the small circle of board games to the public, and the rich possibilities of the board game itself have always been the quality of IP Carrier. DND, Warhammer and other excellent board games have proved that the spark of the IP of the board game IP can also be a prairie fire, but if you want to show the trend of the prairie fire, you must also achieve yourself to the extreme.






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