I have often told people that Crimson Sands aspires to be a Mid-Atlantic Game. The inevitable question is then what does that mean? Particularly since it is designed here in the Pacific Northwest and is set in a very dry part of a fantasy world.
By “Mid-Atlantic” I mean that it is intended to incorporate the best traits of games that appeal both to “European” and the “American” style game aficionados. So the game’s conceptual, not literal, “homeland” is located somewhere between Europe and North America – smack in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Hopefully, it’s keeping company with Atlantis rather than the Titanic.
I decided to take this approach because my gaming friends do not fall neatly into one category or the other. Some of my friends like games on one end of this spectrum (conceptual, indirect competition, little randomness) and others favor the other end of the spectrum (strong theme, direct conflict, elements of chance). So I wanted a game that would appeal to the entire group to the best degree possible.
We all like games with streamlined rules and good abstract design, that focus more on building than just direct conflict, and which may involve player-to-player negotiation. But we also enjoy a game with a back-story that is reflected in the rules, that might involve some direct conflict, and has just enough randomness to make victory uncertain without some contingency planning.
And, of course, I wanted to use miniatures in a nontrivial way beyond just “dudes-on-a-map”. This led to the mechanism of using the lizard and bird miniatures to actually transport guards and goods through the desert.
I’ll go into more detail about different aspects of the game design in future blog articles, and you can judge for yourself was a way to bring the best of all worlds to the same game.