A stranger working at Ludonaute – Part 1

Insider’s Diary Part 1: Marshal & Prisoners expansion – Origins

Each game and each expansion has its own story. Marshal & Prisoners doesn’t make an exception.

June 2014 – 2:03 PM

Paris Games Festival – Ludonaute Booth


By a sunny day, we are presenting the prototype of Colt Express to gamers. The game is going to be published in October. I am not expecting what Anne-Cecile is going to tell me:

“We have already really good feedbacks for Colt Express from players, shops and our distributor. It would be great if you start working on an expansion.”

My rational me begins:

“But the game is not even released yet!”

My dreamy me goes on:

“You think it could work?”

My childish and fanciful me concludes:

“Ok but only if there is a stagecoach in it!”


Then, I start to put all my ideas in a big file, each intercalary containing a different game rule about a wide range of stuff:

  • A rule about drunk cow-boys
  • A rule about Indian attacks
  • A rule about a Poker game phase
  • AND a rule allowing a player to play the Marshal


I initially wanted to give the players the tools to master the settings of their game. I wanted them to choose which elements they will add to their games. I’m a huge fan of Escape for this reason.

Then, we spent a lot of time playtesting all these new ideas. I regret that we only kept approximately a quarter of those.

Anyway, I’m happy: players will get this toolbox I was dreaming of to create their own Colt Express experience…

But, following events have shown there were still too much rules remaining…


February 2015 – 4:37 PM

Cannes Games Festival – Ludonaute Booth

photo 1

Cedric is coming back to the booth with a strong headache. He has just tried to explain to the interested players the new expansion contents:

  • A stagecoach
  • Horses
  • Hostages
  • Prisoners
  • A Prison Wagon
  • A Marshal player

One more time I am not expecting what Cedric is about to say:

“Do you mind if we split these ideas into two smaller expansions? There are definitely too many things for only one!”

My rational me begins:

“Is it a marketing strategy?”

My dreamy me goes on:

“It could allow to create combinations of rules that are matching perfectly together. It would help players to create their own experience.”

My childish and fanciful me concludes:

“Ok but only if there is my stagecoach in the first one!”


And this is how the “Horses & Stagecoach” adventure begins.

  • Well, didn’t you say that you were dealing with Marshal & Prisoners in this article?

Yes, true! I have forgotten, it will be for the next time!

  • Well, this feels exactly like the ending of a How I Met your Mother episode…

In the next article, you will finally know everything about the second expansion development: Marshal & Prisoners.


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