The League of Legends world is prepared to sprawl into its next extension, which is nothing we expected: a board game dubbed Tellstones. This is not the first attempt at tabletop games of the developer Riot Games, but what makes the new extension interesting is that it is a game set within the series’ expansive fantasy universe.
“We portray Tellstones as a game that’s actually played in Runeterra, as part of their history and culture in the same way that chess or mancala have ancient roots in our own world,” explains Greg Street, Riot Games’ VP of IP and entertainment.
The developer is not detailing much about the game and how it works yet, but you can get an idea in the teaser trailer we shared below. Tellstones seems to be a game about strategy and subterfuge, in which players need to remember the order of tokens and also trick their rival into forgetting.
Tellstones is an Ancient Board Game
Tellstones is very different from Riot’s previous board game, which was a massive and intricate affair. However, the smaller scale also matches the story the developer is trying to narrate. Tellstones is meant to be an ancient game, a product people would carry around with them, simply pull out and play whenever.
“We portray a lot of that feeling through the artwork and the materials,” says Street, explaining that even though Tellstones has only a few pieces, the team at Riot ensured they were high-quality, the type of items that could last for a long time.
The team also tried to tell a story with the pieces; in the trailer, for instance, you can see Tellstones being played with white and blue tokens. That’s what will launch as the final version, but it is also a regional variant of the title.
“The version that we’re shipping is the Demacia version, and we talked a lot about what the symbols that Demacia put on their tokens look like,” Street explains, talking about one of League of Legends’ more militaristic worlds. “Presumably in Ionia or other parts of the world, they might look different.”
This emphasis on worldbuilding is something that has slowly become an increasingly massive part of League of Legends in the past years. A decade after the game first launched, there are numerous in-universe projects in development, such as an animated series, comic books, and several games.
New Characters Stories
New character unveils also turned into complex narrative events. As per Street, who joined Riot Games in 2014, there have been basically three phases to the narrative of League of Legends.
In the beginning, it wasn’t a focus, but everything was in service of the game. Then, the team of developers started to slowly create more storytelling elements into the experience.
“Then we got a little scared, honestly,” Street says. “We have this great IP, now there’s nowhere to go but down. We can screw this up if we make bad products, if we tell bad stories if we’re inauthentic. So we were nervous for a while. I think we’re getting our confidence to the point where we’re OK experimenting now. That’s why we have plans for comic books and novels and games and our animated series, all telling the world outside of just the League of Legends and Legends of Runeterra games.”