Montpelier Game Designer Cracks Early Success With Vault Wars

Vault WarsBy: T.J. Hug
The Village Reporter

There are few people in this world who don’t enjoy a good auction.

And why wouldn’t they? A series of typically unique items are paraded about on a stage, allowing everyone in the room to develop the same envious, greedy stare as they conclude that whatever is being shown at that given moment must come under their possession. Then, as those people begin to bid on a particular piece, the auctioneer drives up the price with such haste that it is sometimes difficult for potential buyers to keep pace. At the auction’s conclusion, the winner takes home the prize for which they so desperately pined.

At least, that’s usually how auctions work.

The television show Storage Wars alters that model a bit. A reality show based on the procedures of storage locker auctions, the A&E smash hit follows several bidders in their quest to find rare things in purchased lockers. Said bidders don’t get to examine the lockers thoroughly, however, instead having to settle for a five minute glance without entering a unit. The element of surprise created by these rules has captured the attention of millions on a weekly basis.

It’s no wonder Jon Gilmour thought the concept would translate well into a board game.

A Montpelier resident, Gilmour has been making games for quite some time. His most acclaimed creation thus far, Dead of Winter, has been deemed an international success. More recently, he’s been working on a project he has dubbed Vault Wars, a board game focused upon the idea of auctions. As the name implies, a certain TV program provided the motivation for the game.

“When I would travel for work, I would often watch the TV show Storage Wars.” Recalled Gilmour. “I felt that it would make an interesting board game.”

Floodgate Games agreed with that sentiment. A board game publishing company with a stellar reputation, Floodgate has already put out successful games such as Epic Resort and Legacy: Gears of Time. And now they are planning on adding Vault Wars to that list. His first time associating with the company professionally, Gilmour is thrilled to be working with them.

“I’m very happy to be working with them because they are a publisher that is very well respected in the board game industry.” He said of the partnership.

It was also Floodgate’s idea to use Kickstarter to generate funds for the project.

“It is an excellent way to help a small company achieve its goals with lower risk.” Said Gilmour.

With an original goal of $10,000, which had to be met in order for any funds to be transferred through the crowd funding site, the campaign far exceeded those expectations. By the time donations ceased on March 27, 1,895 people had backed the project, contributing an astounding $65,449 toward the publication of Vault Wars. That money will be put to good use.

“The money from the Kickstarter will be used to pay for the production cost of the initial print run.”

Those who contributed on Kickstarter will be the first to receive their copies of Vault Wars, with their prints being sent out in late August.

The game itself plays by many of the same rules by which the bidders on Storage Wars follow. Players will take turn being the auctioneer as the remaining ones battle it out to win vaults about which they have very little knowledge. The twist to Vault Wars is that it takes place in a medieval setting, with the vaults up for auction belonging to fallen heroes. Each player is trying to build their own legacy, and hopes to use the equipment and artifacts left in these middle-aged storage units to do so.

An intriguing concept, or at least, that’s what Gilmour hopes.

“I hope people find the idea interesting.”

With the massive amount of support being showed for the project on the internet, it’s safe to say more than a few people are sold on it.

T.J. Hug can be reached at
publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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