By Kezia Willingham
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
As the sold-out PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) gaming convention starts today downtown, West Seattleite Bijhan Valibeigi will be there, launching a new product in her multimedia “Time Wars” franchise: A strategy card game.
She e-mailed WSB about the launch, explaining that “Time Wars: Supreme Command” is “the world’s first deck-stacking game, where you actively try to stack your own deck in your favor, while also trying to control the flow of your opponent’s deck.”
The format isn’t all that’s groundbreaking about “Time Wars: Supreme Command.”
Bijhan and I met at Meeples Games, the new business at California/Charlestown that not only sells games, but is also a place where you can sit down and play them in a relaxed atmosphere, with a café and a library where you can try out games before purchasing them.
Bijhan created “Time Wars” based on her experience as a game lover who missed seeing accurate representations of both her ethnicity and gender orientation – she describes herself as a “queer genderless Persian-American nerd” – in the games she loved. She wanted to see more diversity in the characters and their experiences.
In a nutshell, “Time Wars” is “…about super-powered time travelers from the 161st Century who are actively trying to change the past to protect a future free of bigotry.”
She adds, “As people play – through a series of adventures – the game illustrates just how diverse and yet the same the human experience is throughout time, even on planets with different laws of nature, that the core aspects of humanity remain the same.”
Bijhan really wanted to explore the theme of redemption of humanity in the context of a grim presence.
One of the things I found most fascinating about Bijhan’s creations is that while all characters have “limitations,” they also have abilities that are “Super Strengths” that
arise directly in relation to the character’s limitations. The awareness that our limitations can also develop our own individual strengths is a message that is useful in recognizing our wholeness as individuals. Bijhan credits part of her sensitivity toward people with varying degrees of ability by growing up with her deaf grandmother.
When you speak with Bijhan about “Time Wars,” you will see that she is both passionate and enthusiastic about her work. She explained that she “always liked rules and arguing about the implementation of rules. The Time Wars universe allows me to change what rules might not be working into those that are.” Bijhan once considered a career in law but found that the creative freedom allowed with game development is more satisfying.
Bijhan grew up in West Seattle and attended both Pathfinder K-8 and Denny International Middle School before transferring into the advanced-learning program at Washington and Garfield. She holds degrees from Seattle Central Community College and Washington State University.
The Time Wars concept has been developed into both games and stories. The “Time Wars” Strike Team” role-playing game has been long available as a free download; Bijhan adds, “We have added playable adventures which include questing for an alien artifact in prehistoric Thailand, solving a murder on a distant and doomed world, and halting the carnage of the Puget Sound Indian War.” Find out more about the Time Wars universe online at timewarsuniverse.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/TimeWarsUniverse, on Twitter at @TimeWarsRPG, and on YouTube too. And, of course, at PAX, if you got your pass before they sold out – you’ll find Bijhan and “Time Wars” in the East Lounge on the 6th floor of the Washington State Convention Center, in the PAX area called the Diversity Lounge or “Roll for Diversity.”