Masters of the Universe: The Board Game* Designer Diary – Episode 1

(*Full title soon to be revealed!)

I Have the Power!

It’s a simple line, but the feelings it stirs really speak to, well, the actual power it holds. For many, that single line can immediately transport them back to a previous time: one built on Saturday mornings, of heroes and villains in a far-off land, and of epic clashes between the forces of good and evil that inspired millions of imaginations to go forth and mash toys together as they created stories of their own. For newer generations, while the specific circumstances might have changed, the feelings of empowerment, wonder and excitement resonate the same as they ever did.

This is the legacy of He-Man and Masters of the Universe.

Hello, Michael Shinall here, co-designer of the Masters of the Universe: The Board Game, and today we’re going to talk about characters and the transition from the classic toy line to the tabletop.

First and foremost, we took a look at the huge cast of characters: what makes each one of these special and so memorable? Why did they become so iconic, not just a group, but individually? And by characters, I don’t mean just the heroic Masters of the Universe, but also the sinister members of the Evil Horde, who have just as many (sometimes more!) fans than the “good guys”. With this in mind, when designing the game, we always made sure that the characters were the focus. Whether it’s the major players, like He-Man or Skeletor, or the supporting (but still equally as important!) cast such as Ram Man or Tri-Klops. Everyone has their favorites (my favorite was always… actually, I’ll save that for another Diary), and each one had to be treated with respect. We not only want for people to pick up the game and say, “Yes, that feels like Masters.” We want Trap Jaw fans to say, “Wow, that is exactly how I remember Trap Jaw’s harpoon!”

When it comes to playing the game, it needs to feel like that character and the player needs to feel powerful: He-Man can perform heroic actions befitting the Strongest Man in the Universe. Man-At-Arms wields a vast array of technical gadgets but also brings strategic and tactical mastery. Orko brings immensely powerful sorceries unlike Eternia has ever seen to the battle… or at least that’s how he’d describe them.

And speaking of battle… That was the other important aspect we wanted to focus on as well! As I mentioned before, there is a sense of wonder and excitement when it comes to Masters of the Universe. The image of action-figures clashing together in scenarios and epic battles created simply by the imagination of their owner… This! This was the feeling we wanted to capture in the board game: when playing the game, players should experience as many moments of “Wow! That was awesome!” as possible.

For the classic fans, we want them to return to those moments burned into their memories, to give them a platform to play out all those cool stories and events from their childhood imagination via a system and game that truly allows them to feel like they’re controlling the character. And for the newer fans who were, or just those who have yet to experience the setting, we hope to introduce them to Eternia and its rich world of heroes and antagonists, so they too will feel that same rush upon hearing “I Have The Power!

Masters of the Universe and all related characters, names and locations are ™ and © 2020 Mattel Inc.

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