Singularity prototyping occurred first playing Machi Koro, a management and resource development board-game. Inspiration followed after a player ran into debt, and Machi Koro ruling didn’t required that player to divest their establishments to pay their dues. Thus development of Singularity began with the idea of investing and divesting infrastructure, and the ability of capital accumulation through a growing interest in economic systems. Monetary systems aren’t ‘fun,’ however with the growing interest of private enterprise (such as SpaceX) in space led to the integration of space and economic theory to develop on this prototype and build an engaging and educating game that works on the framework of market systems. This theory provides a framework of themes for the game.
Development of the game began by researching space theory and science fiction such as the Kardashev Scale, and to what technology each civilisation Type would hypothetically utilise such as a Dyson Sphere (one of the required cards to win). Stemming from this research into science the idea of a Technological Singularity and Transhumanism allowed for further development of themes and card concepts. Drawing upon the mechanics of Machi Koro, Singularity employs a capitalism economic theme, but providing the capacity of player debt and the ability to divest infrastructure to sustain your civilisation – something Machi Koro lacked.
Basic Framework for the Game
Furthermore employing ‘market regulations’ through conflict cards (Card example: Military conflict results in a slow down of labor production, all infrastructure earns 50 per cent less for two rounds). This was applied following play of Machi Koro and witnessing one player to dominate other players once a certain level of resources was reached.
Play testing for Singularity occurred with players who had previously played Machi Koro using white paper and hand-writing the descriptions and went for 60 – 90 minutes. While none of the players had knowledge on the space theory, however had a grasp on how the economic system worked due to daily interaction with capitalism. As with any game each player had differing interactions and strategies, with some investing in infrastructure to develop fast cash whereas others investing in the cards that had the lowest cost. As the game progressed confusion of the theory and themes subsided.
The same issue of ‘wealth inequality’ in Machi Koro arose in Singularity, with one player outpacing opponent development and generally one player having to continuously pay debt. While part of the economic theme and a sound demonstration on how capitalism works, for sake of player enjoyment further research and testing is required. Overall Singularity had some structure, however complexity and the development of an unfair resource development resulted in a series of issues. The aesthetic qualities of space visuals has strong capacity for design and marketing if the project continues development. Consequently more time could have been applied to incorporating additional play testing and recording such tests to refer back to when developing the game further.