What's next for the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge

The Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge
Last January, I announced the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge unsure of whether anyone would enter. Boy, did that doubt fade fast. The submission period closes with just under 50 entries. Now, we'll review them, play as many as physically possible and try to pick a winner. Here's what we're looking for:

Elegance: The winning entry should be easy to learn, teach and play, ideally playing in under an hour.

Accessibility: The winning entry can be played by most people, most of the time, in most places. Any special props may come from sustainable resources.

Fun/Community: If we like a game, that's great! But even a game isn't our cup of tea, if we see a thriving community of eager players, that's strong evidence that the game can last a while.

And on that note, if you're an entrant to the challenge, your job isn't over yet! Send us pics or videos showing your games being played by real people around the world. Seeing that community will weigh greatly in our judging. So, get some friends around the table and play some games!

Abstract Strategy Games
Portal by Kenny VenOsdel*
Numeria by Lloyd Krassner aka Warp Spawn Games
Coerceo by the Coerceo Company*
Zuniq by Marcos Donnantuoni*
Board Tag by Greg Stolze
Rin by Zhen Wang
Cartography by Benjamin Alan Mohr*
Rush Run Riot by Kelvin Beriguete
Sáto by Kristian Järventaus †
Venn’s Revenge by Louis J. Cassorla
Klon by Antoine Richard*
Take-Back-Toe by James Ernest*
Antipode by Shane Hendrickson †
Charing Cross by Mike C
Saaguan by Andrew Cooke*
Push by Dan Hope
Push by David Gordon Buresh
WarMaze by Mackenzie Cameron*
Nomad by Kirk Mitchell
ZoxSo by David Weinstock
Tricala by Myles Wallace
Muros by Enrique Sánchez*
Turning Points by Joseph Kisenwether
Sygo by Christian Freeling
Hunters & Haunts by C. Casey Gardner*
Flume by Mark Steere
Bluffing Style Chess by Tyler Tinsley*
Catchup by Nick Bentley*
Yodd by Luis Bolaños †
GUCKOY by Mark A. Tiroff*
Hexiles by Derek Hohls*
Hot Wire by Phil Leduc
Crowns by Sovereign Games*
Kodrek by Joshua A.C. Newman*
Close Doesn't Count by Andrew Juell
Shooting Stars by Magnus Esko*
Bakkhus by Clay Gardner
Spread by Fernando Rivas*
Box by Douglas Hoover
Commander-in-Chief by Paul Miller*
Neighbors by XiFeng*

Social or Conversational Games
Public Secrets by Joshua Curtis Kidd
Pandora's Box by Benjamin D. Stanley
The Movie Game by Tonio Loewald*
F*ckin' Do It Then by Ryan Hughes*
Beloved by Ben Lehman*
Hand Covers Bruise by Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell
Rule of Three by Chris Sakkas*
Millennium Saga by Brian Suda*
Liars' Club by Matthew Moore

Dice Games
Kickbones by Frywire, LLC
Drop-Shy by Jonathan Walton

Card Games
Arena of Heroes by Jeremy Southard*

We'll announce the winner of the challenge on January 1st, 2012.


  1. can i send you a copy of my game? i have extra just hanging around.

  2. By all means, feel free. Email me at gobi81@gmail.com and I'll send a shipping address.

  3. "... if we see a thriving community of eager players, that's strong evidence that the game can last a while."

    Any hype by definition will last "a while" too. Presenting footage of 'a thriving community' may as well be evidence of good promotional skills, but that's not the challenge. At least not one I'm eager to answer (or even capable, my friends are mostly non-gamers). But you might consider the Sygo games played at mindsports in the current and finished games lists, in the player section. It's not 'a thriving community' yet, but then, Go didn't conquer the West overnight either :)

  4. If it makes you feel better, that's more activity than most games on the list. Every game starts somewhere!

  5. If we're allowed to point to stats, I may as well: here are the play stats for my entry ketchup at iggc, which has been live on that site for 3 weeks:


    (though I was hoping this competition wouldn't be a popularity contest, as many other such contests are, I'll roll with it)

  6. "If we're allowed to point to stats ..."

    It's more that Daniel actually asks for footage of games being played. And example games give a quicker impression of what a game is about than figuring it out from reading the rules and trying from scratch. If you have to play and judge some fifty games, a little help with each seperate one should not be unwelcome :)

    Ed has almost finished the Yodd applet so a similar list can emerge for it soon. And of course there are some Ketchup games listed too.

  7. Indeed, it's as much for my own ease as anything. :P

  8. Noted! As Christian mentions below, it's helpful to see games being played, too.

  9. Hello! Here are two videos of CS people playing and analazing Zuniq:



    (Thanks Kyle!)

  10. Thanks very much, Marcos! That definitely helps understand the game better.

  11. Luis Bolaños game Yodd can now be played (turnbased) at mindsports.nl.

  12. Note on Ketchup: I added a not-ugly, printable pdf board with scoring track for use with full-sized Go stones to the page for my entry, along with some photos of a game in progress on it. The board is 15x16 inches, but if you have access to an oversized printer, you can print it and mount it on foam board and it makes for a nice way to play Ketchup in meat-space. You can download the pdf at about 3/4 down the following page:


  13. Thanks, Nick! That's a very smart design for the board. We played a couple rounds of Ketchup the other day. Very nice!

  14. Thanks. A cute mathematical feature of the board: By going exactly once around the scoring track, you ensure victory: there are 61 spaces on the board, and one lap on the track is 31, the smallest unbeatable score. This is the only sized board for which that's true. How cool is that?

  15. And while I'm at it, here's a guide to basic strategy:


  16. I'm sending a board who can be printed for my game Klon.

  17. Just curiosity: What do the * and † symbols in the list mean?

  18. They're just reference for myself. I'm keeping track of which games I've played with *s. It's a little out-of-date, actually.

    The † notes a game with a hex board. I played all of those in a batch.

  19. It's only been one decade so far (so, 100 more of those for the true test of time). My vote for this past decade goes to Nomad. Maybe I should try another game off the list this coming decade.


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