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Maurice Suckling - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Troy, NY, US

Maurice Suckling

Assistant Professor, Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Writer and historian specializing in narrative for video games and board game design.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Game Design

Narrative and Dialogue in Video Games

Board Games

Game Design & Development

Videogame Design

History of Games



Maurice Suckling has worked in the games industry for over 20 years, with over 50 published video game titles to his name. He’s worked as a producer, designer, voice director, motion capture director, animation director, and, most often, as a writer. In addition to Suckling’s work in games, he has also worked in TV and movies, and has published a collection of short stories and a novel. His research interests include storytelling in games, board and card games as narrative systems, and historical simulations.

Suckling’s first game was "Driver" in 1999. Since then, he’s worked on “Fortnite,” “Killing Floor 2,” “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel,” “Mafia III,” “Civilization VI,” and the “Wii Fit” series. Between 2013 and 2015, he served as narrative director for 2K Australia. The second edition of his co-authored "Video Game Writing: From Macro To Micro" was published by Mercury Learning in 2017. Suckling’s first board game, “Freeman's Farm: 1777,” was published by Worthington Publishing in 2019. Since then, he has published three more board games, all through Worthington. Suckling is currently working on several history-themed board games for several different publishers.





Video Game Writing From Macro To Micro loading image Freeman's Farm (2019) loading image Chancellorsville 1863 (2020) loading image



Education (2)

Newcastle University, England: Ph.D, Creative Writing

Birmingham University, England: Masters, Global History

Media Appearances (10)

Rebellion: Britannia, Leaders

Inside GMT Games  online


Each faction always has one of two possible leaders that are always available in a set (historical) sequence. But when a faction switches between leaders is determined by the Events deck, and since not all cards from that deck are present in the same game it’s possible these events aren’t triggered and a faction never switches their leader.

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Rebellion: Britannia, The Events Deck, Part #2

Inside GMT Games  online


Continuing on from the previous blog post, The Events Deck, Part #1, this is Part #2. Here are some further examples of Event cards.

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Rebellion: Britannia, The Events Deck, Part #1

Inside GMT Games  online


There are 12 rounds in each game of Rebellion: Britannia – unless an automatic loss condition for Rome is triggered (she has 2+ Forts and 6+ Settlements burnt at the same time, or has all 4 Legions destroyed) in which case the game ends immediately.

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Interview with Maurice Suckling Designer of Rebellion: Britannia – Resistance Against Rome in 1st Century Britain from GMT Games

The Players' Aid  online


We became acquainted with Maurice Suckling with his game Freeman’s Farm 1777 from Worthington Publishing in 2019 and really enjoyed the mechanics of that game and how they all came together to create an interactive and interesting look at the Battle of Saratoga in the American Revolution. Since that time, Maurice has designed several games that have went onto successful Kickstarter campaigns including Hidden Strike: American Revolution, Chancellorsville 1863 and 1565 Siege of Malta. He is now working on a game that is the first entry in a future series called Rebellion: Britannia from GMT Games and we reached out to him to give us some information about the design.

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Rebellion: Britannia, Indigenous British Culture

Inside GMT Games  online


There’s another systemic layer to the game we haven’t really discussed in the blogs before now, at least not in any detail, which is a source of potential Victory Points (VPs).

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Maurice Suckling AHA! A House for Arts



Maurice Suckling is an Assistant Professor in the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His interest lies in the powerful storytelling potential of interactive games. What can this multibillion-dollar industry tell us about society? Lara Ayad interviews Maurice to find out.

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Here's what three Troy video game startups have been doing this year

Albany Business Review  print


The Capital Region is home to several video game studios that have grown from humble beginnings into established industry players. Here's what the latest batch of local startups has in progress.

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Board Games

NPR - Academic Minute  radio


Board games still have a place in our digital society. Maurice Suckling, assistant professor, games and simulation arts and sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, details why.

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The Re-popularization of Commercial Wargames

Ludogogy.co.uk  online


From their commercial birth in the 1950s, board wargames became immensely popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Annual sales in 1980 were 2.2 million units. But then they became less popular. In 1991 annual sales had plummeted to 400,000 units. Now, in 2020, they are popular[1] again. They are the genre with the second largest market share within the overall exceedingly buoyant board games market. Wargames (and strategy games, which aren’t quite the same thing and include more abstract game designs) are second only to Educational games, with 19.66% of the market in 2018, expected to rise to 20.74% by 2024, with a growth rate of 14.49% over that span rising from a global revenue of $2.42 million (2018) to $4.46 million (2024).[2] Although these figures are pre-pandemic, numerous board game publishers are citing sales figures every bit unimpinged by Covid-19, if not better than pre-pandemic projections.[3]

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Interview with Maurice Suckling and Dorian Richard

The Players' Aid  online


Here’s the thing – wargames, and games about history are my favorite kind of games to play. But then Co-op games are also my favorite kinds of board games in general. But how is it there are so few Co-op wargames? Or, more importantly, isn’t it time there were more? I want people to feel that sense of comradery, that sense of companionship a Co-op can give, as they attempt to take on a Goliath together and try to find some way to defeat him. This game was first designed with a Traitor Mode. In that Mode there might not actually be a traitor, there is just the possibility of one. But this means players spend their time in the game constantly wondering if one of them is that traitor, viewing their moves suspiciously, contemplating an accusation, or perhaps being the traitor, masking their intentions, or figuring out the best time to formally switch sides, or whether to remain hidden. This game is a direct result of my love of – Battlestar Galactica (2008). I loved the dynamics of the traitor(s) in the game but wanted a faster way into that experience – and wanted to leverage my interest in history/military history.

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Articles (3)

Simulating Saratoga: How Saratoga-Themed Board Games Function as Experiential Historiography

Board Game Studies Journal

Maurice Suckling


Games deeply informed by history are not merely games. They may not be detailed simulations, but, nevertheless, they are conscious or otherwise expressions of historiographical viewpoints. This paper examines the historiographical perspectives of nine board games, published between 1974 and 2019, all on one or more aspect of the Saratoga Campaign (1777)

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To What Extent Were Progressive Politics Before World War Two a Fundamentally Imperial Project? The Case of International Humanitarian Relief in Russia, 1921-1923

Journal of Advances in Humanities

Maurice Suckling


There is perhaps a pervasive view that empires are at odds with progressive politics, which are, in their own turn, without covert agendas. The case study of the devastating Russian famine of 1921-23 is an opportunity to examine these views in more detail, and to consider the ways in which imperial agendas, and notions of the projection of soft power, were intertwined with the humanitarian agendas of NGOs.

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Board with Meaning: Reflections on Game Design and Historiography

CEA Critic

Maurice Suckling


The proposition here is that wargame design is not merely an expression of an attempt at thematically appealing entertainment that may introduce the subject matter, or further familiarize its audience with it, within a commercial framework. Wargame design is also an expression of how the world works—or how the world worked (or is felt to have worked). Given the seriousness with which games have increasingly been considered in recent years (with, for example, the advent of “serious games” and the increase in the study of game design and theory within academic frameworks), it seems fitting that we might also consider the potential for games to impart meaningful lessons to players. In those systems, players, by virtue of their participation within a game system, are effectively engaging in a methodological enquiry, whether they realize it or not.

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