Designer's Diary - part I

First time the idea to create a game somehow related to biology came into my mind in 2010. Sitting on a beautiful meadow somewhere in the mountains, I was thinking about a concept for my new game. This is probably the best moment to tell you few words about myself. Boardgames have been a part of my life since my very childhood. I used to play everything what was available at that time in Poland – Talisman, Alien and other American-style boardgames. As a teenager I started to design my own games. I remember when I was a child, lying in a bed, sick - I created a solo game that I could play alone. During one evening I managed to create a simple dungeon-crawl with totally random mechanics but it helped me survive my sickness and what's more important – was an impulse for my creativity to develop even further. Designing games is a big part of my life, and of course there were periods when I created projects and then freeze them for a long time. Most of those ideas had died even before I had a chance to test them.

As to Chromosome – at the beginning it had totally different name and concept. The mechanics build around an idea of terraforming an extraterrestrial planet. Players were in command of different species which needed to form the surface of the planet in order to survive. I wrote few pages of rulebook and – as it happens usually – the project ended up on my laptop – waiting there till 2015. That was a time when I decided to start designing again. I opened the first project found in long-forgotten folder on my laptop. That was Chromosome.

During the process of creating Chromosome there were a lot of different ideas flowing through my mind. I knew the game must be a logical challenge for players. Possibly not too random and I wanted the theme and atmosphere to be dark and gloom. During first weeks I changed the mechanics a lot and moved the theme of the game into a micro-scale where players had an option to manipulate climate in order to keep their creations alive.

X-shaped board

The next breakthrough were genes. If players are microbes than maybe I should give them few options to play with different genes. That was a moment when I had a lot of ideas for managing the structure of each microbe. I added interaction cards and the board got a shape of X on which everyone was supposed to solve his or her genes puzzle.

At the first sight everything seemed nice and beautiful, but the game was too complex and random. As time went by I tried to solve this problem by adding new rules but it was a road to nowhere.

Planet Cards

I was satisfied about a lot of elements already, but I wanted a bit different atmosphere, I wanted something unreal, mysterious and unknown. I added an extraterrestrial element. So I moved the game into space. Imagine a galaxy far far away where an alien hostile race prepares its deadly microorganisms to conquer Earth. Technology cards, nano-implants. Microbes with nano-implants. Yeah, that's how Chromosome looked like half year ago.

Technology cards

Next changes were even more crazy. I added planet cards. If you're an alien race and you want to conquer other planets than do that in an epic way! The game started to be bigger and bigger with more and more little rules – I needed to say „stop”. And I did – I threw the project away.

And again I opened a blank page, put all my previous ideas together, chose the best ones, destroyed more than half. I left microbes, alien organisms, secret laboratory and the game returned to earth on a giant meteor. Secret facility became modular hexagonal board and players got few different species of microbes struggling for survivor. And now everything was consistent as a beautifully composed music of a madman

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