Goblin Law

When life gives you lemons, make lemon grenades!

Can you be the one to wisely use your goblin minions to collect the most gold in the arena and become the true Goblin King? Explode your way around and destroy your opponent! As dictated by Goblin Law: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the explosion.

Developed with Alec Thomson, Sigursteinn Gunnarsson, Geoffrey Suthers and Bruce Lan as a Board Game for Game Design 2 at the NYU Game Center (8 weeks).

Featured at Boston Festival of Indie Games (BFIG 2014)!


If there is one board game that I can say I’m proud of, it would be Goblin Law. The main mechanic for the game was inspired directly by one of my favorite Final Fantasy minigames (Triple Triad), so I was very excited to be working with other friends on this. The basic premise of the game is: Two goblin lords (players) fight against each other by placing goblins on a 4 x 4 arena. When played, goblins put bombs on nearby spaces, and a huge explosion happens when the number of bombs is high enough, killing any goblin unfortunate enough to be on that space!

While the game changed by a ton over the course of its development, there isn’t a lot I want to talk about it. I like to think that the design behind the game is so simple and elegant, that most of our time was spent innovating and trying out new mechanics and goblin types and less time refining game breaking features, as there were so little of them. The group synergy is also extremely good, so group meetings and discussions are almost always very productive and fun!

The overall reception of the game is usually great. People that play it are always eager to play again and most of them understand the rules and mechanics after playing only one or two turns. The only thing that we need to do now is to find an artist that likes to draw goblins (we are using the Pathfinder ones as placeholders)…

The last thing I want to say is: making board games is HARD. Some people might think that making a digital game is way harder than just putting together a cardboard and a few paws, but trust me: rules-writing and elegant game design is far from easy. If you think about it, when you make a digital game, you can have the computer run algorithms for you to solve problems quickly, but that is not really possible with tabletop games. The challenge then becomes how to create a game that not only is deep and interesting, but also can be played without relying on fast calculations made by a machine.

I’m still looking for challengers to play against! 🙂