Interview with Game Developer of Guardians of the City

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Please kindly introduce yourself.

I’m a game designer who has been making things on and off over the years, since my student days. I used to make simple games to play with my friends when we couldn’t find something we liked to play together. In 2016, I decided to take some time out to work on developing educational games full time. “Guardians of the City is my first official released game. A second game, centered on the Battle of Singapore in January 1942, will be launched in November 2017.

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What inspired you to create Guardians of the City?

I have always believed that games are a great way for people to learn things. I personally learnt a lot from the games I’ve played over the years, whether it was about history and geography, modern day politics or social issues. “Guardians of the Citywas the first serious game developed for a public audience. It arose out of a suggestion made by a student at the SGfuture engagement sessions in 2016, who said that a game that teaches students about Total Defence would be a better tool for learning than the usual lecture-style method of teaching. Since then, I have been working closely with Nexus (Ministry of Defence) to create “Guardians of the City” and it was launched in February 2017.

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Tell us more about the card game, Guardians of the City.

“Guardians of the City” is a game that puts two players in control of simulated countries facing a common terrorist threat. The players have to protect the loyalty and support of their citizens while trying to eliminate the Terrorist Cells. The player that achieves this best is the winner. To do this, players have to carefully manage a limited resource called National Effort points, which must be distributed across five key areas, namely the five pillars of Total Defence – Military, Civil, Economic, Social, Psychological. National Effort points are an abstraction to represent the combined effort of the Government and citizens of the country, working together for common national objectives. Depending on how the points are allocated across the five pillars, players will be able to use different types of cards to either strengthen the loyalty of their citizens or attack the Terrorist Cells. At the same time, “Crisis Cards” simulate random negative effects that occur anytime as the game progresses, either unplanned incidents that take place in daily life, or through unexpected actions of the Terrorists. These negative effects reduce citizen loyalty or strengthen Terrorist Cells. The game ends when all Terrorist Cells are eliminated or one country has collapsed because it had lost the loyalty and support of all its citizens, who leave the country.

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For those who are interested to play and own a set of the card game, how and where can they find more information?

You can find out more about “Guardians of the City” from my website at http://www.fallingpianogames.com. It is also available from selected retailers like Dueller’s Point (https://www.duellerspoint.com/) and Games 4 Good (http://www.games4good.com.sg/).

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Lastly, any shoutouts to Campus Game Fest audiences this year?

Campus Game Fest is a place where thousands of students and games enthusiasts gather to play and have fun together! And one of highlights for Campus Game Fest this year will definitely be the inaugural “Guardians of the City” tournament! Games aren’t just for fun; they are also great ways to learn! There is no better place to be at than at the Campus Game Fest for more games and fun. Look forward to seeing you all there!

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