“The Gothic Game”
The Gothic Game feels like it was a board game that had to happen, and in the summer of 1966, when we two teenagers got together, myself and Nigel Andrews, it felt as if there was no other game we could create. The world of Gothic Horror films was at its height and seemed to cry out for a board game to be made from it. The game Cluedo had created a classic board of rooms and corridors, but had barely begun to explore all the possibilities which such a board presented. No board game of elimination had ever admitted to the goal behind them all, that of one player destroying all the others. The Gothic Game was ground-breaking in many areas, and it was also the first game to use a system of “stamina points” necessary for the survival of the players. It was created over one week-end in Richmond, Surrey, but it took a few more years to develop and evolve.
After a long period in which Gothic Games were made as a cottage industry, while the rules were being continually being altered and improved, the first definitive version was produced in 1992, and was published in a limited edition, which proved very popular and has now become a valued possession.
We experimented with a life-sized version of the game, played in real castles, and eventually a film scenario based on the game was developed. This was going to be filmed by Paramount Pictures, but their rivals at Columbia came out with board game film called “Jumanji” which was then regarded as a very expensive flop. As a result Paramount got cold feet, and for a while the word “board game” became anathema in the film world. History has proved their fears unfounded. However, the fact that the film fell through may well prove a blessing in disguise, as it prompted me to rework the material as a musical (see Music), which is much more fun than the original screenplay.
Recently the game has once again come out of the cupboard, and “Damnation: The Gothic Game”, a new and greatly enhanced version has been created by Kris Rees of Blackletter Games, and was recently launched on Kickstarter where it easily made its target figure. It will become available in August 2022 (see News)