American Jason Roher has recently won a game design competition after creating a board game that no one is likely to play anytime in the near future, if ever. Called A Game for Someone, Roher’s game was made from titanium, to stand the test of time, and buried somewhere in the Nevada Desert, where it will probably be discovered by an advanced civilization, or zombies, thousands of years from now.
“I wanted to make a game that is not for right now, that I will never play,” Rohrer said, “and nobody now living would ever play.” Inspired by ancient board games like Mancala, as well as “the architects and builders who, over hundreds of years, constructed religious cathedrals that they themselves would never set foot in, never see completed in their lifetimes”, the designer set out to create a game that actually worked, without ever playing it himself. To do that, he first conceived it in computer form, by designing a set of rules that would be playtested not by a human, but by the computer. He told reporters he ended up plugging the game’s rules into a “black box”, and letting the artificial intelligence find imbalances, iterating new rules and repeating. Once the game was playable, he started manufacturing it. He couldn’t shape it from degradable materials like wood, glass or cardboard, so he ultimately decided on making the 18-inch by 18-inch game board and its piece out of 30 pounds of titanium.