A historical look at the development of the Quirkative game Vickrey!

So...some early history to start with. Just to give some context.

Back in the 20th century a group of friends grew up in the village of Thorpe End, Norwich, Norfolk. They got together regularly to play board games and became the original board game geeks.

The boys grew and became men, went to University, got jobs, got married, had children, some got divorced. Through it all, was the constant of playing games together.

In particular the sacred days of the 27th and 28th of December became the Thorpe End Games Championship. Over two days games would be played, trophies won and strategic dominance displayed. To this day the 27th and 28th December remain sacrosanct to the gentlemen, who in order of height and majesty are, Elliot Symonds, Graeme Campbell, Paul Beevis and the midget that is, Scot Symonds.

Out of the love of games, their creativity and grown up business sense came the desire to create their own board game company. They developed games on an individual basis and 'Vickrey!' became the one which obviously had the most potential. Yes 'World Cup X' was probably interesting, but it was cumbersome. 'Top Tramps' and 'Ho-Tel' might well make an appearance one day in the Adult Game market. Scot came up with some early prototype which the Germans would love to get their hands on.

We had the skills, we had the talent, but 'things' got in the way and no real structured action was taken, until now.

Elliot Symonds' life turned out more chaotic than the others and that chaos meant that bigger risks could be taken. So from out of an old box, where the prototype of 'Vickey!' lay, came the desire to make the dream come true. It is perhaps a decade later than it should have been. That decade, however, provided a robustness which will spurred the soul into action.

So to our Managing Director. Elliot Symonds is a ridiculously bright and engaging chap. He is also handsome and an awesome mixed martial artist.

He is single and available to escort any middle aged brunette ladies with a penchant for fine cigars.

Back in the early naughties Elliot was sent to one of the finest business schools in Europe to study auction techniques as a way of combating the increasing interest in on-line auctions by businesses in the world of beer.

Whilst at Ashridge, Elliot wrote a dissertation which gained a first class grade and helped shape the thinking of astute business minds across the English speaking world.

The ground breaking essay was on how to develop strategies when invited to an e-auction.

As part of his incessant desire to create, and to demonstrate to the less enthusiastically endowed minions of the FMCG world, Elliot invented a board game.

Now, 42, awesome in every way, Elliot has formed the company 'Quirkative' and will bring wondrous board games to market and delight players the world over.

'Vickrey!' was chosen to be the first game that Quirkative will produce.

This is where we currently are with the board design for Vickrey! It is version 15. There has been a lot of design, prototype, revisiting and editing of game play documented below. This is the final board, beautifully created by Trystan Mitchell of The Bigfoot Studio in Cornwall. Finally a vision in late September 2013.

And this is how it looked in July 2013.

Below you can see some of the early prototypes of Vickrey!. Relish in the handmade quality and salivate in the expectation of what we will create.

Vickrey! was revisited and built upon, tweaked and redesigned. The rules were tightened, the balance of money refined. It was then ready to be discussed with a BRAND GOD, Mr Chris Sargisson.

The gorgeous man that is Chris Sargisson pulled together a focus group of six divergent types to officially play test Vickrey! at his mansion in Norwich.

Yes some beers were consumed but the basic premise was this. It was Christmas Day afternoon and six, gentlemen, found themselves alone while the ladies went off to discuss the preparation of dinner and knitting patterns. The host had received a game for a present and suggested that they play before the 'Morecambe and Wise' Christmas Special. They opened the box for the first time in their life. They were observed by Elliot on how they played, the problems they encountered, the joy they felt. A questionnaire was completed to gain qualitative as well as quantitative data before additional design elements were made.

Then after more thought and more tweaking we got to Version 5.0. A debate occurred about the board game strips or utilising a traditional board. One of our four values of the company is to be a Quartermaster. The Quartermaster report always looks to be loyal as well as financially viable. A single board is 'more loyal to our customers' as it easier to play on as well as a more value driven decision.

Here is how the board looked prior to any real designers getting their hands on it.

Elliot then mocked up Quirky versions of the board. Again, one of the values of Quirkative the company. Challenging the norm.

Then a night was spent playing Vickrey! with three of the finest men in the world. Elliot loved the way they all got into it, the fun levels, the love of the Vickrey! auction and the feedback. A couple of things were removed again as it is important to listen and be Quizzical.

So here is the Elliot mock up of Vickrey! V7.0 as a board design to enhance the game play still further.

Paul Beevis was then asked to come up with designs for the prototype. The work he created is shown below. You can employ his skills if you wish to commission him on design or graphic work.


The Bin Rummaging Monkeys

The Garage

Outside The Police Auction

Inside The Police Auction

Inside Honest Jon Wong's

Rich Collector space

Inside Elliot's Auctions

Outside Elliot's Auctions

On the evening of the 5th June we had our final developmental games testing. Hilarity ensued. The game finished tense with three of the the six all being close to a win. Teenage sibling rivalry defeated the more mature business men.

So...game testing got all the mechanics completely sorted and bugs ironed out and acceptance of the real facts of what makes the game fun. All the cards will now be contained within the board space. It was a very enjoyable and rewarding process and we truly know we will create something epic. Never will we forget playing with 6 female MBA students from China at the UEA Business School. The design of the mechanics of the game is what is truly amazing when combined with the vast level of fun which occurs. Creative tensions have ensued but eventually one has to make a decision on the image of the board which will be the launch vehicle. However the game has been designed from scratch to be able to be modified, to develop, to be bespoked and to have other boards which can be played on. A dark and gritty, Gotham like city to purchase arcane and mysterious items is something Elliot looks forward to arriving at one day.

So more history below of how the board developed.

We got to a 50% completed board which we were happy to take to a finer prototype stage, along with the cards. This helped in demonstrating the game to potential investors and with further play testing of the board game.

Major thanks are presented here to the legend that is Paul 'Bov' Beevis for getting us that far. We then actively looked for designers and creative types to help us in getting to the next stage. We were fortunate to discover the genius Trystan Mitchell of The Bigfoot Studio.

Version 13 of the board was created on PowerPoint by our illustrious leader Elliot Symonds. Creative Genius. Visionary. Yet still, even HE, desperately needed a real designer to turn this into files that could work with printers and be accepted as a real design by the gaming public. Laugh, dear reader, laugh at Elliot's pathetic attempts with PowerPoint below, as opposed to the design by Trystan that became reality.