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A jam submission

Of maps & menView project page

Map making game played using the postal service
Submitted by Fred Bednarski (@FredBednarski) — 40 minutes, 33 seconds before the deadline
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Of maps & men's page


CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
How easy to understand and use the game’s rules are#44.1434.143
How strongly maps are integrated into the game’s design#83.8573.857
How elegant the game’s design is#83.2863.286
How captivating the tone, feel and style of the game are#123.4293.429
How well the game fits the theme and goal of the jam#211.8571.857

Ranked from 7 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

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I don’t have good English writing skills. I still hope to make myself understood in this comment.

I also leave below an Italian translation of the comment, for those who want to follow the discussion anyway.

Hi, Fred!

As others have already commented before me, I too am of the opinion that this entry does not fit into the objective of the jam, but I must say that it is still a great entry.

I really like how “Of maps & men” manages to make different people generate a map, referring to zip codes. As Graypawn has noticed, I also think there could be some sort of pattern during the creation of the map, if the same zip codes are used. This can still be a good thing!

Another interesting thing is the idea of actually having to send an envelope to create a correspondence between cartographers. Good one.

But I have a doubt about this project. I’m afraid OM&M is more an exercise in style than a game.
In the paragraph “Sent it to a friend”, refer to a possible letter included in the envelope. To increase the idea of the game, have you tried to think about making this procedure mandatory?
The idea of a shared diary on a territory explored by several cartographers could be interesting and each player could play much more!

I’m curious to see if you will make any changes and which ones.
I’ll keep an eye on the project!


Ciao Fred!

Come hanno già commentato altri prima di me, anche io sono dell’idea che questa entry non rientri nell’obiettivo della jam, ma devo dire che è comunque un ottimo prodotto.

Mi piace molto come “Of maps & men” riesca a far generare una mappa a persone diverse, facendo riferiemnto ai codici postali. Come Graypawn ha notato, anche secondo me potrebbe esserci una sorta di pattern durante la creazione della mappa, se vengono utilizzati gli stessi codici postali. Questo può essere comunque un plus!

Un’altra cosa interessante è l’idea di dover inviare realmente una lettera per creare una corrispondenza tra cartografi. Bella trovata.

Ho un dubbio su questo però. Ho paura che OM&M sia più un esercizio di stile che un gioco.
Nel paragrafo “Sent it to a friend”, fai riferimento ad una possibile lettera inclusa nella busta. Per aumentare ulteriormente il concetto di gioco, hai provato a pensare di rendere obbligatoria questa procedura?
L’idea di un diario condiviso su un territorio esplorato da più cartografi potrebbe essere interessante e ogni giocatore potrebbe giocare molto di più!

Sono curioso di vedere se farai modifiche e quali.
Terrò sott’occhio il progetto!



Thanks for your feedback Daniele... and your English is good - I had no problems understanding your comment :)

I agree with me missing the theme - see other comments for explanation. Just wanted to share my game with more people, and as an unexpected bonus - I got great feedback from you all!

I agree with you - it is more of a game in a style of RPG/Story Game than a proper game with winners and losers. I don't want to make it about points, but your idea of making the write-ups mandatory is a good one. I will think about it and see what I can do to make it more game like.


Thanks for your reply!

I’ve also read the responses to the other comments and I’m excited: tell me more about this chain thing. :-)

At first I thought it was something like sending the game among friends, but it’s much more interesting to receive the game as a surprise from an acquaintance. Apart from the fact that there would be no feedeback for previous players, it could be really interesting to exchange letters between different people from one country!
If I were you, I’d develop more on this thing that I absolutely didn’t feel at the reading. It could be a great twist.
You just have to figure out where the game goes once it’s finished…

I’ll follow the development of the game, I’m curious where you want to go with this.


Grazie della risposta!

Ho letto anche le risposte agli altri commenti e sono entusiasta: parlami di più di questa cosa della catena. :-)

Inizialmente pensavo fosse qualcosa tipo inviare il gioco tra amici, ma è molto più interessante ricevere il gioco come una sorpresa da un conoscente e basta. A parte che non ci sarebbe feedeback per i giocatori precedenti, potrebbe esser davvero interessante lo scambio di lettere tra diverse persone di una nazione!
Fossi in te, Io svilupperei di più su questa cosa che assolutamente non avevo percepito alla lettura. Potrebbe essere un ottimo twist.
Bisogna solo capire dove va a finire il gioco una volta che il gioco è finito…

Seguirò lo sviluppo del gioco, sono curioso di dove vuoi andare a finire con questo.



First Impressions:

Love the premise for how the game is played.  Love the execution of the components of play and how it's taught and presented.  Excellent eye for aesthetics.


Having not yet gotten to play it, I'm trying to sort out how it would play if you sent the map back and forth between you and one other person?  Given the same address/Zipcode, would that induce a sort of pattern in moving forward?

What if you further randomized the #'s for the Cartogropher Key - again, I might be missing something here - What if you had a randomly generated set of digits that were written on the outside of the letter, instead of using elements of the address?

Favorite Bits:

The absolutely dynamite way this game is put together for presentation, taking note of the orientation and how the letter folds, elements like that make this game really great to print and hold.

The premise of the activity itself is awesome, but it feels like using just one map is the better way to go, which is why I didn't rate it higher for stars in regards to this jam.  I think mailing a singular map around is the best way to achieve the goal (a detailed sandbox setting for a fantasy game), so it's only a criticism in the sense that the jam was asking for 2 or more maps doing different things.  But this is an excellent idea that I would love to see polished and put out there!


Thanks for your feedback! I wanted to make it aesthetically pleasing so it is fun to receive and opening this "strange letter" might put you in the mindset of a cartographer from the past.

I have envisioned the game to be played in a chain, but from feedback I see there is a good amount of people who would prefer to send it back and forth. I want to avoid always having to deal with the same number, so I am currently looking into changing the procedure of generating the number, so each time it will be random, even if it comes from the same person.

...and I agree with the "one map" critique. As mentioned in other comments, I didn't know of Mapemounde until the deadline, and decided to join last minute and ask if it was ok with the organizer. I am glad I did - because the feedback has been priceless! Thanks once again.

Oh, and yes - I will work on the game more after the judging is done.


Wow, what a gorgeous game! Kudos for the presentation, it really shines! My comments/questions:

  1. Very clever way to use a short string of numbers as a generator!
  2. It says that it was made for the Step up for the Postal Service Jam. I wonder if that's against the jam rules...
  3. It's kind of interesting that when a person sends the letter, the next part will always have the same "structure"
  4. It feels like there's quite a bit of heavy lifting from each player to come up with the contents of every hex. I wonder if it would be a good idea to provide an initial context so it's easier to come up with descriptions and/or keep a certain common thread of consistency. It seems that maybe there's at least the assumption that it's traditional fantasy?

Thanks for your feedback!

2- Yep, as explained in other comments here and on the community - the game was made for the other jam and a fellow designer pointed me to this jam less than an hour before deadline, and the jam organizer was fine with me submitting. Once the judging is done, I will update the files with mentions of Mapemounde.

3 - I have couple people mention this. I imagined the game as a chain between 5-6 people, but it seems there is more interest in sending it back between few people instead. I am now looking at different was of generating the string of numbers, so it is compatible with those players.

4 - I was torn between giving players creative/narrative freedom and having strict rules. My current idea to remedy this is to include it in the key. My plan is to create multiple keys (as well as provide an empty/form fillable key) to create the premise for each map. The key that exists now has a low fantasy setting implied. What would you like to see in the initial context?


3 - Ah, that makes sense. Actually I wasn't even thinking about the thing with the number of players, I just thought that it was interesting. But yeah, it would be nice to make it work with fewer players.

4 - Yeah, understandable. That sounds cool! Personally I'm not a big fantasy fan, so maybe post-apocalyptic (could be useful for Apocalypse World) or some weird horror thing, like hell or some wraith world? Or maybe zoom in and make the map a room or a house, instead of kilometres of wilderness?


Hey, thanks for the submission. With the big caveat that I haven’t actually played the game, just read it, here’s my review.


Right out of the gate I'd like to say - I love the idea here! I love the idea of the letter and map travelling. However, unfortunately I don't think it actually addresses the the theme of the jam, as there is just one map. It's true that different people will contribute to it, but in my reading the jam theme requires multiple maps of the same place/space, varying in scope and/or scale. This creates a map of one place.


The map is basically the product of the game. It is central to the game, but as I've mentioned in other jam submission comments, I think the map is mostly a product or artifact of play rather than the space of play itself.

Tone and style

I like that this is simple and to the point. The layout is great.


I like the simple and light mechanics. I wouldn't feel intimidated opening the letter, but rather would want to participate immediately.

Easy to understand

Unfortunately as it says on the jam page, this still needs a few more instructions, particularly around getting started. That's too bad, because I feel like it's super close to a playable game! Please finish it! I'll probably start a letter even if you don't, but I'd love it if it were finished.

So, in conclusion, I really like this one, I just don’t think it addresses the theme of the jam very closely. But in the end it's still a map game, and I'd like to play it!


Thanks for your thoughtful review, Sam!

I agree with you on the theme. I have joined the jam last minute, after a fellow designer mentioned that my game could fit into this jam as well. I have made it with one map in mind, but I thought that having the same map done by different peoples could be seen as multiple maps (if you squint your brain really hard). I asked the organizer and was allowed to stay submitted. So, I am not hoping for any high marks, but the feedback I have received from fellow contestants, has been amazing.

I am planning on finishing/expanding the game. I had gotten some good feedback that I want to implement - but I want to wait until the jam judging is done until I make any changes. I will have an instruction page that is for the first player (that will have proper rules for creating first five hexes) and I will turn the key into a double sided sheet - with advice on one side and tables on the other. 


You are most welcome. I understand re: the theme. Still good to have seen your game. Great to hear you plan to revise it. I look forward to sending a letter out using the revised version!


Nice game, very well crafted and with very cool editing! It really gives you the thrill of an ancient past with explorers and only letters!


Thanks Saddy!

I am glad that the layout/aesthetics manage to convey the ideas of explorers of the past. That was one of my main goals :)