The 2018 Hippodice Game Designer Competition

by - 03:57

The Hippodice Spieleclub Competition is a yearly award for boardgame design, judged by some of the biggest movers and shakers of the European boardgame industry. Previous winners have included games like Mombasa and Hansa Teutonica.

For the 2018 competition, I submitted a worker-placement game I have developed called Trepanation, and I'm pleased to announce that it won second place in the contest!

Judges playing the Trepanation prototype.


I have yet to post about Trepanation in this blog, preferring to keep it private while it was in early development, so here is a quick run-down.


In the early 19th century, the western world trembled with fear and excitement about new medical advances. The medical horror, Frankenstein, was a bestselling novel and medical shows, in which physicians would electrify corpses, pull teeth, or peddle their “miracle cures”, drew huge crowds.

In Trepanation, players take the role of fraudulent doctors in this era, performing spectacular medical shows for the gullible public, and vying to become the most famous physician.

The game takes place over six days (rounds). At the start of each day, players prepare their schedules by booking time-slots at locations around town. Then the day’s events happen according to these schedules: players gather medicine and equipment, employ accomplices, bribe the police, and perform shows. But not all plans run smooth. Other players will create stock shortages, steal your audience, and snatch up those essential time-slots! Performing shows in related sets grant fame bonuses, as does getting your name in the local newspapers. Grave-robbing during the night damages your reputation, but brings cash! At the end of a busy week, the player who has earned the most fame wins the game.

There are lots of action spaces in this worker placement game because the emphasis is on timing your actions correctly to make the most of your limited resources.

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