Donning the Purple – Interview and Overview
“Donning the Purple” is the second game by Tompet Games and is also launching on Kickstarter. Let us know first about the company and its vision.
Tompet games is a board game publishing company from Norway. I’m doing the game design, developing and product management while Thomas Lie Gjeseth is the graphic designer and co-developer. We don’t have a specific vision, we like to make games that we like to play and that are usually medium/heavy strategy games.
What is the inspiration behind the game’s intriguing theme?
I was inspired to make Donning the purple after listening to the amazing podcast series, The history of Rome ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/332396604/634493568?ref=391030&token=13ec151e). It is over 200 episodes of good roman history. During my journey through this podcast I was thinking about why anybody wanted to be the emperor of Rome. It sounded like nothing but trouble. Problems all over the empire and people wanting to kill you all over the place. It was that feeling I wanted to capture and transfer into the game but also to make it fun of course!
What was the greatest challenge that you faced during the designing and development of the game?
It can be a challenge to know how historically correct you can be when you make a game like this. You have to find the right balance between cool game mechanics and historical details.
The game goes up to 3 players, which means you can also play it solo. What pushed you on this design choice?
I don’t like playing games with long downtimes between players. That happens a lot with games that have high player counts. That’s why I found the sweet spot for the number of players in Donning the purple and made that the max number. As I grow older I get less and less time to play with others and have discovered solo gaming. That’s why I decided to add a solo mode in the game. It is the first solo mode I ever designed and it turned out very well I might add. So to summarize, I have optimized the game to play well with 1-3 players.
What kind of gaming experience do you want to create to players and for what kind of gamers is it suitable for?
I want the player that becomes the emperor to feel like there is so much to do and so little time.
The players that aren’t the emperor should feel that they could do a better job than the current emperor. They should plan how they can undermine the current emperor so much that he dies but not too much undermining so the empire is a mess when you take over.
The game is suitable for players that enjoy medium heavy games with strategic decisions, worker placement and player interactions.
What is your favorite element or mechanic of the game?
I think my favorite element is the line of succession to the emperor. If the emperor dies the next player that becomes the emperor is the one with the heir token. The heir token is very expensive so the emperor has to decide if he should use his precious coins on that or on feeding the people. If there is no heir when the emperor dies the new emperor is the player that has the highest-ranking senator.
I also like that the workers you use in the worker placement element of the game are in fact your health. When you have no more health left, you die! But don’t worry, you return immediately as a new family member.
What scares you the most and what do you enjoy the most in a crowdfunding campaign?
When you launch a crowdfunding campaign it is always really scary to see how the first 48 hours go. They are crucial for the rest of the campaign. The best thing about crowdfunding is to engage with all the backers and create a great game with them.
What else can we expect from “Tompet Games” in the future?
We have several games in the pipeline but I can’t say anything yet
OVERVIEW OF THE GAME
Donning the Purple is the second game coming from “Trompet Games”, both with aesthetics that breath out a unique vibe. Many elements of this game trigger my curiosity and leaves me with an eager to explore this meaty game. Let’s see some additional key elements that you have to pay attention to.
The goal of the game is to have the most Victory points at the end of the 4th year (Round) of the game. Being the emperor and having your people happy is one of the main way to acquire a lot of points but there are two conditions that can make all players actually lose the game! These conditions have to do with an enemy force that can expand their influence and forces, making you lose.
We won`t go into much detail and explain the flow of the game in a more abstract way as its theme has a very tight connection to the actual mechanics.
A game round/year consists of 8 simple phases, easy to execute and follow but many things will happen. As you would expect, the empire has enemies, that will invade provinces and give you trouble. That will be a minor disturbance to the flow of your ecosystem but it can grow to a very dangerous one as you can all lose the game. Inside the land of the empire your people grows your civilization by building new structures, harvesting to keep their bellies full and their spirits high, but also pay taxes (you can`t avoid this anywhere these days!). Finally, there will always be some events drawn during the year, as the unexpected is always happening in the chaotic system of life.
The asymmetric play of the game comes with the role of the emperor, as someone has to be on top of an empire. All players will get to execute some actions during a round in a “worker placement” manner (placing one of your available tokens to a space that lets you execute an action or combination of actions) but the emperor will have additional options and an extra action compared to the others. Other benefits of having this role will be collecting taxes, scoring victory points according to the happiness of the Roman people and more.
The actions in the game include a variety of cool concepts to spread your web of power and influence. Assassinations, bribery, moving through the provinces and taking control of them, fencing enemies and more as you strive for dominance in that deadly game of thr… iving! Another interesting concept in the game, as answered by the designer, is the fact that an emperor can die and his heir will take that place. Lastly, apart from events there are two other type of cards in the game, plots and agendas. Plots can be played at any time and can be used to either activate their beneficial effect or use their depicted power value. Agendas let players score points by meeting the goals depicted on the card and you will get only one such card at the start of the game, so, strategy!
The campaign of the game has an exceptional structure and a professional team behind it. The rules of the game are already available for you to read, not hiding anything from you so you know what to expect! Check out the campaign on Kickstarter for additional info about the game such as stretch goals and possible pledges.