Codex Conquest went through three formats: board game, card game, and a print-and-play card game.

Amy Chen conceived Codex Conquest as a board game in January 2016. She water-colored canvas panels to create the board and made the game components out of handwritten index cards held together with binder clips. The dice and tokens received their own bag, a re-purposed pencil bag, at this stage.


Chen quickly realized that Codex Conquest was a card game rather than a board game. After all, nothing needed to be done on the board! So Chen reluctantly gave up her water-colored board, index cards, and binder clips and moved to typed cards formatted on Microsoft Word, printed on regular printer paper, and slipped into card protectors color-coded by country and/or action during the game’s second iteration in February 2016. These cards were placed into plastic Ultra Pro 80 card deck boxes. The second format proved sufficient to last Codex Conquest through the rest of the design period from February to October 2016, including through the game’s first use in a class and the first course dedicated to the game.


After Chen’s course concluded, Chen realized she needed to change the look of the cards. Here’s an early mock-up of what she wanted the cards to look like.

Then, Chen used PowerPoint to format the cards was for the short-lived deck builder version of the game. This photo documents how that adaptation looked.


This adaptation inspired the final version of the cards. Returning to the original Codex Conquest concept, and revising it to look like the deck builder idea, Chen completed the major revision of the game in January 2017. All game components were moved from individual Word files to one large PowerPoint file, which allowed her to consolidate how many files she needed to share with her collaborators.