Bedlam

Who:
Susanna Harrison, Jimmy Barnett, Marty Wagner, Leana Galiel

Job:
Game Designer, Board Layout Designer, Card/Item Artist and Writer

Worked with the entire team to design and play test the game. Designed the layout of both sides of the game’s board. Wrote the narrative seen on the play deck. Illustrated the images used on the play decks based on the card descriptions, and illustrated the item images used on the board.

Basics:

  • 4-8 Players (ideally an even number of 4, 6, or 8 players)
  • Entered into the Entelechy contest at GDX 2008, and displayed in the main lobby of the expo.
  • Mechanic: a board which flips giving 2 different areas of play.
  • Gold, Box

What:
Taking off the roof of the board, players find themselves ‘inside’ a mental hospital named Bethlam Royal Hospital after the notorious psychiatric institution in Europe. Players are split into two teams, the Patients who wish only to escape what is to them a hellish madhouse, and the Orderlies who are doing everything possible to prevent them. As the game plays on however, random board flips will find the players in the minds of the Patients, a distorted sense of reality. Here, the Orderlies find themselves turned into hideous monsters and are afraid of this world turned upside-down. On the Psychosis side, as it is called, it is the Orderlies turn to try and escape and the Patients are the ones to block their path.

A little bit of history:
Founded in 1247 in London, the building was originally a priory of St Mary of Bethlehem. Around 1329, it starting taking patients and soon became known as Bedlam Psychiatric Hospital for the mentally ill. Bedlam was notorious for its brutal and violent treatment of its patients, and the horrible conditions in which they were forced to live. To help improve the conditions of the hospital, in 1557 Henry VII made it London’s Royal hospital for the insane with a requirement that London must spend the money to fix up the deteriorating building. However, this did little to help the patients’ situation. The hospital was inspected in 1598, showing neglect and in 1620 the patients petitioned Parliament to help them. In 1675 the building was moved and soon became known as the Bethlam Royal Hospital, where one could pay a penny to watch the “lunatics” in their cells.