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Session Name:

Board Game Design Day: Twists and Turns: How the Speed Cubing Community Turned Rubik's Cube into a Competitive Genre


The Rubik's Cube was invented in 1974 and became a huge craze in the '80s. Yet the modern world championships, where people compete to solve the cube and other puzzles in as fast a time as possible, was not established until 2003. Those world championships were not run by the Rubik company, but by an independent international organization of speed-solving enthusiasts, or 'speedcubers'. This community took what was a toy and, without corporate backing, turned it into a game. Then they turned that game into a genre with hundreds of variants and celebrity designers. Growth followed, with 359 competitions registered worldwide in 2013, increasing to 679 by 2016.How did the community achieve this? Was it luck, organization, or both? What type of players does speedcubing attract? What industries sprang up to support the game? How is speedcubing different to the board or video game industry, and how is it the same?

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  • GDC 2019
  • Andrew Fray
  • Spry Fox
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  • Design
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