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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The art game canon: Diamond Trust of London, the smartest board game you've never played


Game Theory by Matt S.

You’ve probably never played Diamond Trust of London. In fact, if you’ve even heard of it, you’re doing well for yourself. Developed by Jason Rohrer, it is a Nintendo DS exclusive board game that had almost no media attention and just scraped through on its Kickstarter goal by the skin of its teeth.

But it’s still available, region-free, and the 3DS consoles are backwards compatible. If you have a DS or 3DS, then import this game, because it is one of the smartest board game you will ever play, featuring both sharp social commentary and a substantial enough representation of economics and game theory that you could use this game as a subject of study in university (it's also fun too, but that goes without saying).

Related reading: If you're keen on this game, you can pick it up directly from Jason Rohrer for the Nintendo DS.

The game itself is, on a basic level, quite simple. There are two cities/nations (London – England and Antwerp - Belgium) that are competing over diamonds from the mineral-rich nation, Algola. To do so, they both send representatives (both sides have three) to any of six regions in the country to bid on the diamonds that that region has produced. The winning bid takes the diamonds, and can then sell them back home for additional money to spend on acquiring more diamonds. The winner is the one with the most diamonds at the end.

But there are catches to that, and that’s where the game gets interesting.

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The art game canon: Diamond Trust of London, the smartest board game you've never played
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