Diary #19 – Buckyball Games


It’s here – the countdown to the UKGE has begun! Like many fledgling board game designers, I am creating a company to act as a vehicle for my game(s), which will be listed as my stand (1-M5): Buckyball Games.

What is a “Buckyball”? It is a cage made of 60 carbon atoms arranged into tessellating hexagons and pentagons; their discovery earned Curl, Kroto and Smalley the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (image above by Kevin Knudson). Unsure of the shape these 60 atoms would take, Curl et al looked for inspiration in the work of visionary architect Buckminster Fuller, and found an unlikely answer: footballs. The only way to create a near-spherical cage in this way is to mimic this pattern:


It’s an extraordinary concept: footballs and carbon atoms are controlled by the same set of rules. The universe really is much simpler than it looks. Just like a good board game. You can’t normally make a game board out of interlocking hexagons and pentagons, but with a 3D Buckyball-shaped board, you could. I love board game design because I love Chemistry, and so I have chosen to adopt this tiny football as my symbol.

I have also chosen a motto: “Audience led, not audience fed”, which sums up the other big reason I love board games. I could write pages about this motto, but would rather ask a question: what do you think I mean by it?

With my feet back on the ground, let me share some of the other bits of UKGE prep I have been doing:

  • Meeting, greeting and teaching some ace volunteers
  • Ordering parts from a variety of continents
  • Scratching my head over GDPR
  • Polishing my trident
  • Sleeving cards
  • Coordinating colours
  • Making a fundamental design change which throws into question everything I’ve been working on for the past seven years.

I’m looking forward to re-connecting with the gamers new and old – do stop by if you’re around. I’m ready for the challenge of UKGE; ready, you might say, for War. And who else is ready for War? You guessed it: Ares.



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