The inspiration behind Village Life

What inspired you to make Village Life?

Image shows Village Life 0.3, showing the main deck and additional building cards

The current prototype cards, ready to play

As you may be aware I run a little tabletop club at a school for a variety of reasons, alongside making educational, mental health and ‘just for fun’ card games. So why begin work making a board game? (And based on the costing to print it out professionally… an expensive one!) Here’s a little into how it started and just a couple of games that have inspired me.
The Guild/The Guild 2

Intro video

The Guild series of games, originally make by JoWood studios (who made games with awesome ideas, but that were bug ridden messes) has always been one of my favourites and spawned a good deal of expansions that never quite fixed the bugs but expanded the game further, keeping it interesting. Despite the inevitable game breaking bugs, the theme has always interested me in two ways.

Firstly the politics part has definitely influenced the elections in village life. Here players have to try to reach the rank of Noble via other positions, being elected in by other, competing players. Bribery is rife in Village Life, so to keep their positions, players will have to work together through exchanging favours or outlandishly bribing one another to get ahead or stay in position – don’t be surprised when you are backstabbed and overthrown if you are close to winning by the other players. This adds further competitiveness to the game.

Europa 1400: The Guild, Council positions. Currently mostly empty.

A little empty, but the council seats will fill up…

Beyond the political, the idea of building a business up over time definitely influenced the economy part of Village Life. In The Guild, players purchase basic workshops and use the income from these to expand their business empire. Originally instead of goods we had a set of secondary and tertiary resources. For example ore turned into iron which was then processed into weapons, armour or jewelry similar to that in the Guild. This ended up way too complicated (and expensive!) for a board game, so the idea of goods took their place. 

The guild 3 is due out sometime later this year, so fingers crossed we’ll finally get a new update on the big ridden series!

Splendor

Before Village Life was a thing there was “The Regent”, which was a more indepth part of the politics area above, with a basic economy based on a simple version of a Slendor-style economy. Here rather than getting rubies, emeralds​ etc, players could invest in a building each turn which gave an income based on what other buildings you had. An example is farms – farms and mills both gave one coin per round each, however if you had both, you would receive an extra coin for having the supply chain. In this way players wanted to get certain buildings and made a different way to win. This idea was carried into the economy aspect of Village Life, with players building up their economies over time to become more powerful.

In playtests there’s one player who always goes for economy over Honour, with the idea that they will just buy it later. A good long term idea instead of fighting for political roles and getting round the need for bribes.

Splendor is available here. The app is pretty good, despite some bugs but of course it’s better in a group!

Game screen of Splendor showing the cards and resource

The economy in Splendor

The Curious Expedition / Renowned Explorers: International Society.

The exploration part of the game is definitely inspired by the exploration / hidden areas part of thess games. Early on in Village Life’s life there was a simple map that players put buildings into set areas. Pretty quickly however I wanted to change it to make it more interesting, where players can stumble upon areas good for different things or with bonuses. This also means much more replayability for players and is much easier to add expansions later if needed. 

Curious Expedition map screen

Exploring the map in the Curious Expedition

At the time of writing, Village Life is currently 0.3(D). Keep up to date each week with our Sunday roundup!

Want our games as soon as they are released? Want to play this and other games right now? Want to help our tabletop club stay open and provide free educational and mental health games to local schools?  Check out our Patreon page

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