The co-creator of mobile phenomenon Bejeweled is making board games now

09 March 2018
pic3970838-85917.jpg Railroad Rivals
Jason Kapalka was co-founder and chief game designer at Peggle and Plants vs Zombies studio PopCap

One of the people responsible for getting millions addicted to gaming on their phones is turning his attention to the tabletop.

Jason Kapalka co-founded PopCap Games, the studio behind several app smash hits, including Bejeweled – which Kapalka co-created – Plants vs Zombies and Peggle. Bejeweled alone has been downloaded more than 150 million times, making it one of the best-selling video games of all time, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ve played it.

Kapalka has joined forces with Glenn Drover, the founder of board game publisher Eagle Games (which later became Through the Ages, Age of Steam and Brass outlet Eagle-Gryphon Games) and designer of tabletop adaptations of video games Railroad Tycoon, Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III, to open a new tabletop studio, Forbidden Games.

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Forbidden’s first announced games are Railroad Rivals, a tile-drafting game about connecting US cities and driving up the price of stock; Raccoon Tycoon, an economy game involving managing resources to corner the market; and Extraordinary Voyages: Pirates, a card-driven race game where players control three ships in search of treasure.

All three games are planned for release in the second half of 2018, and include artwork from a line-up of illustrators including former Disney artists.

Kapalka and Drover say their approach to board games will be ‘similar’ to the philosophy they employed at PopCap: “To treat so-called ‘casual’ games not as disposable junk, but as gems to polish with all the care and craft of a AAA title.

“We feel that board games can be both accessible and deep; that a fast, fun gateway game can be as elegantly designed as a multi-hour miniatures-fest; that truly great games can appeal to casual and hardcore players alike.”


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