One of the most successful board games across Northern Europe in the period 1975 - 1978 called ... More
One of the most successful board games across Northern Europe in the period 1975 - 1978 called “The Power Game” is launched again as a superb digital re-birth of the game. It sold over 1 million copies in 1975/76 and was distributed by the big wholesalers such as Vedes in Germany, Borka in Belgium and Clipper in the Netherlands, Angel Toy Group, U.K. and Dujardin in France.
The Power Game was one of a range of 4 ‘Thinking games’ by Irish inventor, Brian McCarthy and its appeal centred on being very quick and easy to learn how to play - having only three rules of play- but difficult to win. The playing pieces were gears which intermeshed with each other with the end objective of turning the opponent’s Master Gear (with an arrow on it) before your own Master Gear was turned.
Brian is now 72 years of age but completely enthralled the young game developers at a digital games convention in Ireland in March 2013 when he introduced them to the Power Game which their fathers remembered playing when they were young! A deal was quickly struck with Atom Split Games and, nine months later, the digital version with sound, light and great movement is a reality.
While the Power Game broke new ground as a board game by using gears as the playing pieces, it is breaking new ground again as a digital game with the purchasing limit for all in-game goodies set at €19.99 when everything is automatically unlocked. This is a response to the serious questions being asked of some game developers who are cynically leading young people to make unlimited purchases (usually with their parent’s credit cards ) which have been known to amount to many 100’s of Euro.
Because it is a game which rewards strategic thinking instead of the speed of one’s reflexes, the in-game purchases are focused only on changing the play environment but do not affect the actual play so, no play advantage can be bought.
Instead of getting onto the shelves in Hamleys, De Bijenkorf, Kaufhof or Gallerie Lafayette, it is now on, Microsoft, Android and iOS for download from anywhere around the world.“ And another big difference is that, back then, the game was a finished product when it was sold but now it is always a “work-in-progress” sold 24 hours a day and 12 months a year. Plus ça change!”
In the US, Brian appeared on the Today Show and wound up playing Danny Boy on a guitar (acting out the real Irish leprechaun for them!) He also played members of the public during promotional events, literally “for the shirt off their backs” and gave them all T-shirts with “I lost my shirt playing Power Game “emblazoned” across the front.
Last updated 18 Feb 2014
Published 22 Feb 2014
The 1970's was a heady time for board games. It was the time before the Taiwanese revolutionized the games business by inventing hand held computer game in the early 80's and flooded the market with them and pretty well annihilated the board game. But it was back in those days that Irish inventor Brian McCarthy came up with the idea for this wonderfully innovative board game while on a plane trip. He wanted to invent a game that could be a competitor to chess but was far less complicated. So he came up with the very original "Power Game" and it was a huge success and sold a million units in the mid seventies. At a chance meeting at a digital games convention in Ireland in 2013, the now 72 year old McCarthy pitched his idea of digitalizing the game and now it has been reborn as an app for mobiles and revolutionized for the digital age.
"The Power Game" was one of the most successful board games ever when released across Northern Europe in the mid to late '70's. Now it has been brought up to date and relaunched as a superb digital version of the game. The game was one of a range of 4 ‘Thinking games’ invented by McCarthy and its appeal centered on it being very quick and easy to learn but not so easy to win. It has only four rules of play - the first rule being that white always goes first. The playing pieces were gears that intermeshed with each other with the end result being the turning of your opponent’s Master Gear before your own Master Gear was turned. The game enthralled the young game developers from Atom Split Games who could remember their fathers loving playing it when they were young. A deal was quickly struck and, within a year, the digital version has arrived - complete with sound, light and great movement. While the Power Game broke new ground as a board game back in the 70's by using gears as playing pieces, it breaks new ground again as a digital game with the purchasing limit for all in-game goodies set at €19.99 when everything is automatically unlocked. This is a response to the serious questions being asked of some game developers who are cynically leading young people to make unlimited purchases (usually with their parent’s credit cards) which have been known to amount to many 100’s of Euro. Because it is a game which rewards strategic thinking instead of the speed of one’s reflexes, the in-game purchases are focused only on changing the play environment rather than affecting the actual play - so no play advantage can be bought!
The Power Game was a huge success when first introduced in the 70's and it's digitalized version looks like following in its footsteps nearly 40 years later. What makes this version different to the original is that the game was a finished product when sold as a board game, whereas this new version will become an ever-evolving one. The game looks good and plays well and, even though I have never played the original, its obvious why it was so successful. It's a game that takes some thought - like chess - but is accessible to all ages because of its simple game play. The Power Game is an old school game that is enhanced by the digital age.