Shem’s game re­ceives big nom­i­na­tion

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - AN­DRE CHUMKO

Waikanae de­signer Shem Phillips never thought he would be up for the board game equiv­a­lent of an Os­car.

Phillips’ game Raiders of the North Sea’s Ger­man coun­ter­part Rauber der Nord­see is nom­i­nated for a 2017 Spiel des Jahres award in the cat­e­gory Ken­ner­spiel des Jahres, roughly trans­lated to con­nois­seur-gamer game of the year.

The an­nual awards, which have been around since 1978, are held in Ber­lin this month and recog­nise ex­cel­lence in board and card game de­sign.

Re­ceiv­ing an award is con­sid­ered the pin­na­cle of suc­cess for cre­ators.

Phillips says be­ing one of only three nom­i­nees in his cat­e­gory out of hun­dreds of ap­pli­cants is an hon­our.

‘‘My­self and one of the de­sign­ers for the other games, this is our first-ever nom­i­na­tion and on the in­ter­na­tional scene we are kind of no­bod­ies. You don’t have to be in the in­dus­try for years and years, it gives ev­ery­one a chance.

‘‘The nom­i­na­tion it­self is huge. It’s a win-win ei­ther way re­ally.’’

Phillips hopes his nom­i­na­tion will be encouraging for other New Zealand de­sign­ers and the coun­try’s gam­ing com­mu­nity in gen­eral.

His game, which when played on its own can host up to four play­ers, is the sec­ond of three in Phillips’ North Sea saga, and sees gamers play­ing as Vik­ing war­riors seek­ing to impress the chief­tain by raid­ing var­i­ous set­tle­ments.

Phillips says he com­mis­sioned in­de­pen­dent artist Mi­ha­jlo Dim­itrievski to il­lus­trate the game, then re­leased it in 2015 through the crowd­fund­ing web­site Kick­starter un­der his pub­lish­ing com­pany Garphill Games.

‘‘Tra­di­tion­ally you have to take it to a con­ven­tion then get it signed by a pub­lisher which is quite dif­fi­cult. With Kick­starter you can just sell di­rectly to your cus­tomers.’’

His North Sea tril­ogy has proved so pop­u­lar that it has al­ready pro­duced two ex­pan­sions which en­able up to six play­ers to par­tic­i­pate at once.

Phillips be­gan de­sign­ing in his spare time in 2007, and con­tin­ued to pur­sue the hobby through other jobs at McDon­ald’s and a gar­ment print­ing shop.

At the start of this year he be­gan de­sign­ing full­time out of his Kapiti home, a de­ci­sion he says he is glad to have made.

At the end of last year growth started to take off, Phillips says.

‘‘I wouldn’t be able to do this now if I was still working full­time. The work­load has just sky­rock­eted.’’

He isn’t sure what his next project will be, but is keen to make more games.

‘‘I may look at do­ing other trilo­gies or just fo­cus on fresh game con­cepts.

‘‘I’ve got to fol­low what­ever de­sign stuff starts flow­ing out re­ally. It’s just a cre­ative out­let like mu­sic or writ­ing. It’s another way to get the cre­ative stuff flow­ing.’’

PHOTOS: AN­DRE CHUMKO

Shem Phillips is up for a Ken­ner­spiel des Jahres award for his board game Raiders of the North Sea.

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