Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just Enough Time

It has been difficult to find the time to write, as I have been so busy lately. In spite of this, I feel fulfilled in every other aspect of my life, having no shortage of basic necessities, relationships, ideas or diversions. What I always seem to lack, though, is time. It could be our generation's most valuable resource.

It is no surprise to me, then, that the past several years have seen game designs with the element of time playing an important role. Games as diverse as Thebes, Stronghold, and Merkator all use time tracks or time chits, much the same way tracks and chits are used to record victory points and other resources in other games. This is, of course, not including all the recent games that are played in real time with the help of sand timers and soundtrack CDs, such as Space Dealer and Space Alert.

I once wrote about the postmodern evolution in games that changed the goal from trying to earn the most money to garnering the most "prestige points," emphasizing fame over fortune. It seems only natural that, as a reflection of our hectic lifestyles, time would also become a commodity in boardgames, right alongside wood and wool and other typical resources.

The old adage "time is money" is, obviously, too simplistic. It really comes down to time + work + demand for that work + many other factors eventually generates money. And money gives you more opportunities to invest time and resources--or the opportunity to take "time off" for a holiday, after having built up a virtual reserve of time. In any case, many of today's engine-building-type games can surely handle the complexities of adding the time factor to their cube-churning formulas.

Since time is our most prized resource at the moment, and time-management is our most necessary skill, there is surely room to reflect this resource--and the management of it--in boardgame design.

I'm afraid, though, that for now at least, I'm out of time...

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