Melvien’s Personal Reflections: Box Garden World

 It's funny how a pasttime can affect a person and shape their actions well into the future. Melvien de Malecroix, head of the Order of Woltaris, relates a story from his past about such a form of entertainment, a board game created by his old friend Margret while the two were still in school. Bringing the experience of the colonization of Ulbuka to the player's fingertips, the "Great Expedition" helped to mold her into the leader of the Order of Haverton that she is today, to strive for further efforts into the expansion of Adoulin and the need for adventurers to take up the cause.

For full account of Melvien's tale, be sure to check below the break. Afterwards, why not tell us what you thought of the story of Margret and the Great Expedition over on the ZAM forums!

From Playonline.com:

Children live in their own little world and play around oblivious to this fact.

During a major restoration of the mansion, a very nostalgic playboard reappeared. Its reappearance reminded me of a distant memory.

It’s a story of when both Margret -- the current head of the Order of Haverton -- and I were both still students, making it eight years ago.

Margret created a playboard.

The game was themed around the colonization of Ulbuka during the era called “The Great Expedition.”
Players would work across a map modeled after Ulbuka’s terrain, striving to increase the number of their own markers while taking away those of the others.

To make this game, Margret visited the library to study historical references of the past. From this, she managed to recreate an extremely accurate representation of Ulbuka as it was during The Great Expedition.

This meant monsters lurking in forests of evil, swamps swirling with noxious gases that obstructed paths, and legions of the impure, seemingly spawned out of darkness itself. All these things were actual hardships that tormented the trailblazers, as written in the tomes of history.

This playboard became a huge hit at school.

Students may not have a lot of coin, but they have mountains of time. The playboard became so popular, it was said there was no one at school that had not played it.

Margret began to visit the library ever more zealously and continued to add element after element to the game.

However, the more Margret added to the playboard, the more accurate the recreation of “The Great Expedition” of the past became, which led to more and more players abandoning the game.

The game became so difficult there was not a single player who could make it to the hinterlands of Ulbuka. The number of players decreased day after day. The more they played, the more they felt their own powerlessness against the dreadful might of Ulbuka. Such a depressing game could not hope to be popular among children.

Then one day, like the receding tide, the players had all disappeared.

After that, Margret seemed to fiddle with the game for a bit longer, but then one day, even she tossed it aside.

“After all, it’s only a game.”

Saying this, Margret never touched the playboard again.

“Not enough markers…”

I remember hearing her mumble such words. At the time I couldn’t understand; why would such a persistent girl like Margret suddenly give up like that?


The clocks of this world tick inexorably on. Time marches forward, ever forward, into the future.

These last few years, the tide has turned. Ever since the exorcists under the jurisdiction of the Order of Weatherspoon crossed into the Middle Lands, I think people have begun to realize the smallness of Adoulin.

Roger, Brian, Gertrude – the three of them brought back much important information from their journeys, from experiences gained in the towns of the Middle Lands they visited. Most surprising of all was their mention of the adventurers who had helped them in their exorcism.

Though these may be affiliated to our land, they do not serve her interests. Their exploits as they have traveled across Vana’diel can even be read about in a certain newsletter called the Tribune.

Ever since Margret became head of the Order of Haverton and master of the Scouts’ Coalition, she has been a passionate voice advocating the necessity of such adventurers.

Recently, I think I’ve finally come to understand.

It’s only been a short time, and already even Svenja has become a firm supporter of adventurers.

It’s so clear.

Margret is playing her game again.


As one who has entered the grown-up world a step earlier than the rest of us, a mere box garden of a world was much too small for her, and she has decided to play in a bigger world.

And the markers she mentioned lacking that one time – I think she has found them now…

Melvien de Malecroix


  • Story : Miyabi Hasegawa
  • Illustration : Mitsuhiro Arita



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