Guildhall Design Diary Part 1: The Start of Guildhall

Designer Hope S. Hwang has kindly provided us with a look into the creation of Guildhall. This week, the start of Guildhall!

The start of Guildhall was to make a small and simple card game with “brain works.”

I wanted to make a game similar to 6 nimmt! by Wolfgang Kramer or No Thanks! by Thorsten Gimmler, which are more mechanic-centered rather the thematic. Then I remembered Michael Schacht’s Coloretto which doesn’t have hand cards. Inspired by this system, I focused on making a game that was simple, light, small, and strategic with no cards in hands.

The design of the game came clearer when the idea of no cards in hand was set. Cards were drawn directly from the deck and played. Six colors with 5 character cards were used and various effects were given to each character. A trader was used to exchange cards, and a scholar was used to draw a card from the deck. Since there were no cards in hands, each character had 4 effects. Icons were used to express effects since there was limited space on a card to explain. ‘Set collections’ were used in scoring.

A collection of 5 different characters with the same color was a set. A complete set was not scored, but an incomplete set was. So played cards had to be given to other player. I initially named this game “Guild” right up until we made a prototype. But because of the hassle of exchanging cards between players, the initial name was scrapped.

One month later, I stared to work on this game again. There is a Korean boardgame designers club, called KBDA (Korea Boardgame Designers Association). Professional and amateur boardgame designers gather once a month to introduce and play prototypes of their games. I needed a game to test in the meeting.

I usually look up the memos, ideas, and games I have worked on in the past when I design a new game because it gives me a chance to examine a new perspective or ideas which I have missed or overlooked. While doing that, Guild caught my eye.

I liked the idea of using various effects of the characters to collect a set, so I modified the game more strategically. Players had cards in hand and kept the played cards. The number of cards played in one turn was 1. The title changed to Gamun, which means “lineage” and “family” in Korean. The theme was to gather technicians to make your village flourish.

Check back next week for part 2: Game Change!

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