Thudgame, the Dicworld Boardgame

In late 2005 Dewi and I were in Wincanton somerset speaking with Bernard Pearson of Discworld Stamps and the Ankh-Morpork Consulate about a new Discworld boardgame that was being launched. We asked why they weren't launching it online, only to be told "We've been quoted two years and £2m to do it." I said, "We'll be back in three weeks; we'll have something to show you."

Three weeks later we had a working, playable version of the game functioning over a local area network. With the go-ahead from Bernard we took over and re-built the site including the Java-based game engine.

The cunning mover, though, was re-launching the forum on a proper content management system. This allowed the community to prosper and within 5 months had overtaken Discworld Stamps to be the largest Terry Pratchett community on the internet by several thousand members.

This had the added advantage of creating a search engine monster as well, as the community built up the content base. Unlike using purpose-built forum software, embedding it as content in a Drupal site meant the content was fully optimised and search engine friendly thus overtaking older and bigger sites on the first page of Google within weeks.

Sadly with the passing of Sir Terry, Thudgame was caught in a no-man's land of investment uncertainty and was unable to be maintained. The community building skills remain with us though.