‘The Game Of Nations’ (GoN) came out onto the boardgames market in the early seventies, and for that time, was something completely different from what was generally on offer back then. Of course Monopoly was the mainstream family game, but Waddingtons, Parker Bros, Gibsons Games, Chad Valley et al were starting to drive gaming onwards into new concepts and design new formats. Not all of those produced good product. But it broke new ground and encouraged people to think there was yet more potential within game design.
GoN was unusual on several levels. No dice at all stopped many people dead in their tracks. An abstract mapboard didn’t suit the personal tastes of many. And the overall game-play left the remaining bravely curious few a little adrift in what it was trying to achieve. There was all the referencing to it being a CIA operative training aid, a familiarization tool for Middle-East policy, and a way to quickly appreciate the new ‘oil-economy’ politics. But it also didn’t help that depending on which side of the Atlantic you lived, you got different versions of the same game. I can never begin to fathom that one out – who in Production sat down one day and said “I’ve had this idea…”
Anyway, I have a copy – I believe I have two in fact – and now I’ve been able to compare UK and US rules (and aye, they do produce different games), and with 30+ years (shhh!) of gaming experience now, I think there’s something useful here.
This is because I have a games weekend planned in several weeks time, and I wondered whether there was potential in using GoN, with some additional tweaks, as a handy long-play game that runs in the background for all, while other games get rolled out and completed. This particular idea I have actually done before – and it goes like this:
Picture six, seven or eight guests are up for the weekend; and alongside the various boardgames, card games and wargames played in succession, one after the other; there’s also one single ‘diplomacy-style’ game that runs constantly in the background, on a set ‘clock’ so the players know when to submit their next orders. Of course, the classic ‘Diplomacy‘ is easily the first game you would think of for doing this. But we’ve used that game before.
So I’m thinking of using GoN instead, with some adaptation and embellishment. Maybe it can have some features included from Imperial/Imperial 2030 – like the ‘rondel’? Perhaps the Strategic options similar to those used in Twilight Imperium? Or some other intriguing gaming mechanics – I certainly want to use Secret Objectives for each player, so that all involved don’t necessarily know what their opposition is actually aiming for.
I already have some ideas down in notes, but there’s still a bit more work to do.