Jason Rohrer’s New DS Game

By: Brandon McCartin (BMcC)

On: August 11th, 2009

Go Stones + Chickpeas + Pennies == DS Game

You may have seen this reported elsewhere, but “arthouse” game creator Jason Rohrer is hard at work on his first retail release, a turn-based, two-player strategy game for the Nintendo DS “about diamond trading in Angola on the eve of the passage of the ”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley_Process_Certification_Scheme" title=“The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme on Wikipedia”>Kimberly Process." This first struck me as a heavy subject for a handheld game, but the fact of the matter is there are countless games about counter-terrorism, war, monsters, death… I’m apparently just a bit desensitized to certain topics!

I asked Jason for more details on the game and he was kind enough to oblige. Pictured above is his paper prototype of the game. He’s still ironing out the design, but he got approved as a developer by Nintendo last week and programming should begin soon. He was reluctant to describe the gameplay itself this early, which is understandable, but he says there are no big surprises here, so all will be revealed before release. Oh, and he’s making every bit of the game himself, right down to the box art.

  • ForteDante

    Looks, er, interesting. I’m all for strategic games, and this one sounds rather different, so colour me intrigued.

  • Andy Hull

    Yesh! Always nice to see games focusing on new and interesting topics. I’m seriously into board gaming as well, so even that prototype looks fun to me!

  • Synnah

    It looks delicious! How could Nintendo refuse a prototype as tasty as that?

  • Goran

    Are those go (baduk, wei-chi) stones by any chance?

  • Synnah

    Wait, those are mints, right?

  • http://b-mcc.com// BMcC

    Go stones, chickpeas, and pennies. How indie is that? :)

  • TeamQuiggan

    I like the DS lying in wait in the background.

  • http://www.sykhronics.com PoV

    > Oh, and he’s making every bit of the game himself, right down to the box art.

    And everyone ever denied Nintendo developer status because of a lack of “office space” shakes their fists together harmoniously.

  • http://www.sykhronics.com PoV

    Oh hold on, he has a publisher. Scratch that. Return shakable fists to other tasks like percussion and crushing grapes.

  • http://0xdeadc0de.org Eclipse


  • http://secretmeandering.blogspot.com Louis F.

    I just hope to meet a DS owner willing to share a Rohrer game with me since then… Any chance of an AI opponent?

  • TeamQuiggan

    It might have Wireless online play, like Phantom Hourglass or Mario Kart.

  • http://secretmeandering.blogspot.com Louis F.

    Oh, I had forgotten about this feature. That could be awesome.

  • Pilmer

    I’m gonna support the shit out of this.

  • Anthony Flack

    The game is turn-based, so with any luck it will support hotseat play on a single DS. Since Rohrer seems to be completely focused on multiplayer games now, I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t even a single-player mode… so requiring two DSs to play the game at all is probably expecting too much from people.

    I was never a big fan of Rohrer’s ideas about symbolism via game mechanics, but he seems to be getting more into serious strategy game design now, which I think is a much more worthy challenge. I might be one of the only people that actually became MORE interested in his work after he made Primrose.

  • geist

    As long as the preachy stuff takes a backseat to the gameplay and not the other way around, I’ll be satisfied.

  • tim_the_tam

    wow video game designers really use board for prototyping..

  • gulo gulo

    im desensitized to monsters

  • http://www.agj.cl/ agj

    Ouch, not the box art, please!

  • http://www.dyson-game.com Alex May


    He still has to be registered Nintendo developer. I guess he has a secure office away from his home, otherwise they would have turned him down like they turn people like you and me down. If he doesn’t have an office, then you’re still perfectly within your rights to get mad.

  • Anthony Flack

    You’re within your rights anyway. It’s a bizarre restriction that makes life needlessly difficult for solo developers.

  • gulo gulo

    p.s. the movie monsters inc shamelessly glorifies monsters

  • JW

    wow, he sure is rich!

  • http://b-mcc.com// BMcC

    Yes, gulo, you’re very clever.

  • namuol

    Even if Nintendo made an exception for Rohrer, I’m glad they did.

  • http://b-mcc.com// BMcC

    Heh, I don’t think Nintendo makes exceptions for anyone. It’s not their style. :)

    Jason has a publisher and had to get office space and everything.

  • http://www.mawsoft.com/blog Impossible

    Eh, I’m pretty sure there will be some kind of AI. A full DS retail release without any AI at all would be an odd choice.

  • Anthony Flack

    He’s been pretty outspoken recently about how he feels that only multiplayer games produce interesting patterns.

  • gulo gulo

    i was worried that no one got it so i repeated the joke but slightly different