Dueling Masters of Space Time

Feb 14, 2012 — Dueling Masters of Space Time

Back in 1980 or so, with Star Wars fresh in our minds, and The Empire Strikes back either also fresh in our minds, or breathlessly anticipated, I can’t remember which, my brother, my Dad, and I invented this little board game.

At the time, we called it simply “The Game”, and we pronounced these words as Orson Welles might, as in this ad for Dark Tower which ran about the same time. I’m not sure how we knew this, as in the summer of 1979, we’d moved to a backwoods part of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, and built a log cabin with no running water and no electricity, so we certainly never saw Orson Welles hawking Dark Tower while there, but maybe he was hawking it earlier in 1979, before we moved away from civilization.

In any case, necessity is the mother of invention, and given the lack of electricity, television, telephone, running water, etc., I suppose it’s hardly surprising that we should innovate in the board game arena.


Birthplace of “Dueling Masters of Space Time” (not kidding).

I remember vaguely some pencil and paper precursors to this game, in which two opponents face off, unable to see each other’s boards, much like the game of battleship, but nothing stood out, until my Dad hit upon the central idea which gives this game its character: When moving pieces, you inform your opponent only of the point of departure, and the identity of the piece, but importantly, not of the destination.

This one feature makes the game different than any I’ve ever encountered, and gives the game a weird “time travelling” feel, and makes for some interesting game play.

At the time, we thought it was such a good idea, we sent off letters to Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers, and any other game companies we could think of at the time. They universally returned our envelopes unopened, accompanied by lawyerly letters which essentially said: “we see nothing! We see nothing! Go away! We invent our own games, and we never looked at your stuff at all! Here! Please take your unopened, unread tainting letter back! We do not want it!”

I may be mis-remembering, they may have opened the envelopes, but they universally claimed not to have read any of the rules of the game. And since, so far as I know, no game released by these companies in the intervening 30 or so years contains any rules similar to the core rule of this game, I’m inclined to believe them. (Then again, it’s not like I’ve watched these guys like a hawk, so I might have missed it.)

So anyway, here it is 2012, and here I have had this idea for this kind of cool board game kicking around in my head for the past 30 years (and if you’re still reading, you’re probably thinking, get to the freakin’ point already before another 30 years elapse). Alright.

So, I’ve thrown this game out on the internet. I’ve just, with my brother’s help, given the game a new name, “Dueling Masters of Space Time”, which gives a flavor of what the game is about, as well as a hint of how seriously it should be taken (not very).

You can 3-d print some game pieces, and regular old fashioned 2-d print some game boards to play it on.

Here are the details:
Dueling Masters of Space Time.

Here, you can find 3-d printable stl files for the game pieces.

Knock yourselves out.

It strikes me that this game is a good candidate for playing over the internet, whether by email, chat, google hangouts, or skype.

~ by scaryreasoner on February 15, 2012.

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