In 2019, Will announced plans to release “Pamir Peace: Second Edition” on various social platforms. In the message interaction, a netizen asked him politely if he had any plans to reprint “John’s company“. He replied, “Someday. But it Will take at least two years later.”
In April 2021, “John’s company: Second Edition” officially entered the player’s field of vision. The game quickly reached the top of the BGG and KS charts. On April 21st, the crowdfunding for the game ended. The game received a total of 9,150 people and 787,216 US dollars in support. For this result, Will was very surprised and satisfied. But what he cares more about seems to be the tracing of history.
“KS is a very good platform”
Late at night, Will is still active in the message area of KS, answering questions raised by netizens seriously and sincerely.
This is Will‘s usual attitude. He is never perfunctory about his work, perhaps because of his professionalism as a historical researcher.
John’s company is not Will‘s first game on KS. Today, Will has become a star designer in the industry. Compared to “Pamir Peace: Second Edition”, John’s company has a higher crowdfunding amount and a larger number of people in support.
With the development of board games becoming more and more standardized, the quality of a board game depends first on the publisher and designer of the game: the publisher represents the standard of production, and the designer represents the quality of the game.
Cole Wehrle, who designed Pamir Peace and Maolin Yuanji, has been forged into a golden sign, which is also called the Will Effect. This means that whenever a game designed by Will comes out, people Will go crazy “buy, buy, buy”. When did this effect start to arise? Will thought for a while, but he didn’t seem to know.
“Although it is a part of our marketing. But I think having a core group of fans is a great thing. But when I saw the back-end data on KS, I was also surprised by the number of people who backed John’s company, without knowing anything about it, just because of my name. So, I think this is one of the reasons why Kickstarter is so successful. It really helps you expand new audiences.”
What is John’s company
John’s company is a sandbox game designed by Will about the management of a simulation company. In the game, players play the role of the family of John’s company (the East India Company), simulating the operation of the East India Company in Mumbai, Bangladesh and other places in the 18th and 19th century, including trade, armed aggression, and so on.
The game is divided into six scripts, K1-K6. The order is: teaching book, complete book, antitrust book, complete short book, bankruptcy book and single-person book.
This semi-cooperative mechanism and probabilistic confrontation game relies on the player’s negotiation skills. It is also the “core mechanism” that Will often talks about on the website. It is said that people who have played this game are exhausted by the mouths in the game. The game is very “open” because the affects you play with different people are completely different.
The game Will become the largest trading company in the world under your management and realize the ambitions of the British Empire, but if you don’t play well, it Will fall short.
On 4th March, 2021, shortly before the launch of John,Inc.: Second Edition , Will posted a designer’s log on his website, Wehrlegig Games.
Around 2018, in order to better design the Pamir Peace 2, Will and his brother Andrew (Drew) housekeep, founded the Wehrlegig Games. Drew was responsible for game testing and development, while Cole was responsible for core design, art, and rules. Soon after finishing Pamir 2, they began work on John,Inc.: Second Edition.
John’s company, also known as the East India Company, is a satire on John Bull. John’s company – in Will‘s opinion, that’s what the game was about, a company running a business rather than a family’s history.
Imperialism is not big, but made up of many small ambition greed cointegrate. And, for a political and economic game, an anthropomorphic name seems easy to remember.
At the moment, John’s company 2 has a BGG rating of 8.0 before the game has even reached the hands of players.
First Edition VS Second Edition
One of the first changes in John’s company 2 was to increase the negotiation space in the game. “I want to give players more tools to negotiate resource swaps.” Will mentioned.
But, increase design negotiations space is a very difficult problem. Unlike Pamir, Cole decided to put negotiation at the heart of his design for John’s company 1. ”This rule is very important. When we were working on a new version, I did everything I could as a developer to make sure that elements of the game remained the same as the first version.”
In addition to updating the old promise system (things owned by the player can be swapped at any time) and the event system, Will has also changed things like promise cards and maps to make the game easier and smoother.
Update the event system
“When I was playing Republic of Rome, I was fascinated by the simplicity of the game. Later, when I was designing John, Inc., I decided to use the event system. This system can be traced back to war games where each region has a set of behavioral events.
These behaviors Will vary according to the economic and political status of the region. The player can roll dice and solve the events listed in the relevant table.”
It’s clear that John’s company‘s layout has undergone a major overhaul. In the new version, Will moved the player’s area to the left and put an expanded version of India on the right side of the map.
With maps, it Will be much easier to travel between event systems. These changes not only retain the details of the first version, but also enrich the appearance.
In the end, Will set up a relatively simple system. Each order in the system places a ship, making the company profitable. The old boom/bust economic system was replaced by a system that combined trade balance with economic status and could close and open orders based on events in India.
Imperialism and Colonialism
Will graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. During his master’s degree, his research focused on English poetry in the 18th century, such as religious and poetry at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. During his PhD, he also studied the influence of imperialism on novelists.
“When players play Pamir Peace for the first time, people have a common comment: the game is a bit abstract. This is a good evaluation, which shows the difference between the player and the game settings.” Will told us.
But John’s company is different. This game directly involves the formation and development of the concept of Imperial Imagination. How should a nation, a region or even a country view themselves and the world they live in? This concept is important because it allows us to better understand the behavior of these nations or countries.
“Colonialism is a complicated concept. I would not hesitate to describe the actions of the British East India “Company in the 18th century as colonialists. Most of them are businessmen and have no interest in building an empire or occupying India. In other words, they do not participate in politics. Usually, they just make money and go home for the elderly (you can also realize this in the game). This is different from the colonialism of British and American countries in real colonies. The order of this world is closely related to the ideas of colonialism that everyone imagines.”
In some respects, John’s company also described how these ideological foundations were laid. It is a staunch anti-colonial game.
Will also mentioned, “In the past 30 years, Britain has been caught in the amnesia of imperial collectivism. Some historians even use the blind spots of the people’s history to make a fuss. So, john’s company: Second Edition came into being. This is an unconventional portrait that allows players to experience the essence of empire firsthand. Of course, this is not the only way to understand imperialism, but I hope it can help people understand history.”
Although this game has not been released in China, there are still a group of players who have translated the Chinese rules of this game by Love Power Generation, and many players have played this masterpiece. When I expressed the love of Chinese players and their criticism of “openness” to Will, he was very excited.
“I’m really happy to hear this kind of evaluation! I like to design “open” games. Because this kind of game can play different tricks, different players can play a variety of effects. Although this may lead to Lift the table, but players can still participate constructively in the game. This is a game that can run under any circumstances, just like history. History is a long river, and there are many things that can be unearthed in it. To make more people fall in love with historical games, my goal has been achieved. “
Post time: May-24-2021