Build: A game of deals, diplomacy and international development.

Designed by Lily and Martin Lockett. Art by Emily Harding.

3 to 4 players aged 10+

Playing time 45-60 mins

Build is a semi-cooperative game of international development, diplomacy and trade.

It takes place on four islands which have been ruined by war and corrupt government. But change is a-coming! You, the players are now in charge with a mandate to improve life for your meeple. Over a four-year term of government, your task is to create a more prosperous and sustainable future for your nation. You will face the challenges of war and natural disaster; the opportunities of trade and diplomacy. Cooperate or compete? The choice is yours.

Featuring an open-ended roleplaying-style of diplomacy and fast paced decision making, you'll have to plan ahead and think quickly.

Turns and phases

Each turn proceeds in phases: collect tax and trade income; build and develop the land; war and conflict actions (although these are thankfully rare); invest in sustainable development achievements like a national education system or green transport (for in-game benefits and victory points). Each turn, a potential crisis threatens (epidemic, secession, terrorism) which can only be overcome through international cooperation, often centred around the development achievements. Interaction between nations is thus key. Working against this, though, is the secret mandate which each player is striving towards. This is what makes it semi-cooperative. The winning player will have accrued the most victory points, through building, meeting their secret mandate and investing in the sustainability goals.

In the words of lead designer Lily (aged 12)...

The game was originally conceived by Lily Lockett (then aged 12). Here's what she has to say:

"I first came up with the idea for 'Build' during a geography homework. We were told to make a board game about international development (our topic at the time). I think our teacher expected us to make a game where you went along the board; rolled a dice; landed on a tile that said 'Go back 3 spaces!' and so on. However, earlier that year my family had start playing more unusual and interesting games with lots of different game mechanics in play. I decided to make my home work more interesting and so I came up with the idea of 'Build'.

At this time, my dad was developing his own board games for release. I showed my dad the game and he thought it was an amazing idea, a really fun game and that we should publish it. Zip forward a couple of months and we were talking to a friend about my idea and he said that he thought this was a really amazing way to teach about development issues to people around the world  - especially in countries in Africa. He works in African countries helping them with trade and commerce. He really kindly offered us financial backing. That is what really got us started and we made 'Build' a priority in our lives. Since then there has been many play test sessions and many hours spent thinking and changing and changing again and deciding on many things you wouldn't think we're part of designing a board game. I want to thank all the people who have play tested and supported us through my dream becoming a reality. And that is how my homework task became a business."

Design Blog and Playtesting

You can follow the development of 'Build' in our blog here.

Also, if you're keen to try the game and to give us your feedback, please download and print a playtest version here.