I’m Ezra, the Creative Lead here at AfterGate Studio, but you can call me bro, dude, or my guy. In case you don’t know me, I was the concept artist and contributed gameplay ideas for our first game, Gladiators.
Around April of this year, amidst the busy-ness of designing and producing Gladiators, I had a brilliant idea for a board game, which I called Barterdom. And recently, we have been working on designing, prototyping, and producing this game.
In this game, you play as a merchant in the kingdom of Fortunia, seeking to open new trade routes and amass wealth, and eventually inherit the kingdom itself. You must manage your caravan of specialists and your rich pool of resources to become the merchant among merchants. And you may either explore the world and do trade with the foreign inhabitants of the kingdom’s neighbors, or you may develop the domestic economy by holding events among the local merchants, and thereby take hold of the market.
Barterdom takes influence from board games which heavily emphasize inter-player economics, such as Settlers of Catan and Bohnanza, but it presents a concept wholly unique from them. In designing Barterdom, I aim to create a game that will be fun and hectic, and at the same time provoke strategy and resource management. It is a game that can either be fun for the family or be a competition of wits.
To get you excited for Barterdom, here is a short introduction to the game and its gameplay mechanics:
Two score years ago, the Great King Dominic united the Region of Fortunia through war, founding the Kingdom of Fortunia. Now, on his deathbed, the Great King Dominic announces his wish to the peoples of his nation—away with war! For great strength grants only respect, but wealth grants the whole kingdom. As for his last wish—he would pass the kingdom itself down to the one who could bring commerce, wealth, and riches to the nation!
Each round, players amass resources through the circulation of the market, and if they so desire, they may bid on precious commodities on the underground auction. Players manage a caravan of specialists, for whom they must acquire licenses, sanctioned by the government. Using special tomes, caravan members are able to gain wisdom and test for licenses that will prove their capabilities. Then, with the right licenses, the caravan is allowed to embark on expeditions to open up trade routes to neighboring regions. Or, if the trade routes are already open, players may embark on expeditions to acquire trade deals with the inhabitants of these regions.
Players may acquire National Economic Contribution Points by opening up trade routes, completing trade deals, and holding events which benefit the domestic market. The game ends when one of the caravans opens up the route to the New World—a mysterious continent on the other side of the Fortuna Sea. And the player who, at that point, has the greatest amount of contribution points becomes the new king of Fortunia, winning the game.
So look forward to the release of our second game, Barterdom, and we will continue putting our best into designing and producing this game in the meantime.