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Gen Con 2015

This is it, my demand of accreditation has been send… Now, I just need to wait for the answer. I would love to cover the Gen Con and discover the « Essen of the U.S. ». Tell me what would you like to see cover if go?
Thank you and cross fingers for me!!

Ca y est, ma demande de passe Press a etait envoyee… Maintenant, je dois attendre la reponse. J’aimerai bien couvrir Gen Con et decouvrir le « Essen Americain ». Dites-moi ce que vous voudriez que je couvre si j’y vais?
Merci et croisez les digits pour moi!!


Happy new year 2015!!!

It is with great pleasure that I wish you a happy playful new year 2015.

May this new year be full of good times with friends and family around new games. 2014 brought us a lot of good games to try if you have not already done so and I think 2015 will be also a good vintage!

When a year is over and another begins, it is also the time for an assessment . That’s a little over a year ago(November 2013) I started this blog as an amateur enthusiast and I am always surprised by the success (modest success) that this generate. Over 19,000 views of 97 different countries, over 750 subscribers who have seen 131 posts! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all of you who follow me and a huge thank you to all the people of the game world, authors, illustrators and other who have given me their precious time to answer my seven questions. I am pleased also to see that other bloggers have decided to focus on the authors or illustrators games and present them with interviews.

It is true that since my return to Texas in August, I did not publish much, yet the interviews are there in my files! It was the reunion with my family, our move and I have not managed correctly my time. The days became weeks and weeks months … I promise, in 2015 La Tour à Dés will be back in full force with new projects and more regularly. One of my plan for a new year, will my participation to Gencon in Indianapolis late July early August. The discovery of the world of the game industry during the biggest game event on this side of the Atlantic  will be very interesting!


As always I’m open to your suggestions, feedback and comments. I want this blog to be a place for discussion and reflection. So feel free to comment my posts or contact me  on the Facebook page of La Tour à Des.

7 questions for Yann and Clem

Yann et Clem

Today I have the pleasure and the opportunity to present the authors of one of my favorites 2014 board games.

This game is a compromise between a wargame and a board game. Its mechanical turn it into a wargame actually easy to learn in the same way as Memoir 44 but with more depth and opportunities and the quality of its design makes it very enjoyable to play. The quality of its material in general is remarkable and saves you from spending a fortune on figurines and hours of painting those.

This game is, of course, Heroes of Normandie.

The two authors of this game, both fathers living in Paris, also created Frontiers. Their last game is illustrated by Alexandre Bonvalot with a good sense of humor.

I had the oportunity to meet Yann at a board games event in the south of France (Cannes International games Festival for not to mention it) where I discovered it in person and I had a crush on it (the game that is!).

Here are the 7 questions for Yann and Clem.

1. How old were you when you played your first board game and what was it ? 

« We speak of course of the games other than Monopoly, Operation and Good Pay, isn’t it? We should have been ten years old. It was Cry Havoc and Siege. « 

2. Why and how did you decide to create games ?

« The first game we have created, was to give some rules to our battles with small plastic soldiers. Then, as the play ground in which we played was paved, we used those paving stone as spaces for a car race with Customized Lego cars inspired by Car Wars.
Then we designed a game that already laid the foundation for Heroes of Normandie. It was even presented to Duccio Vitale (Cry Havoc). We were 12 or 13 years old …
So for us, creating games is only a logical extension of this period. We could not do otherwise. Heroes of Normandie,  is the logical result of our battle of toy soldiers. « 

3. What are your three favorite board games and why ?

« There are many, and they are our favorite for a while. Then another takes its place and we play a lot and it is dethroned by another. And so on. So let’s talk about those who have marked us who have influenced our creativity.
Small World for the beauty and simplicity of the mechanics for its replayability and graphic universe. It remains unbeatable …
Blood Bowl … Well because it’s Blood Bowl! We no longer play it, but it marked us tremendously. However, we play a lot to Blood Bowl Team Manager.
Warhammer 40K, Necromunda and Epic Space Marines, as well as the series of Siege and Cry Havoc. This is our foundation, our roots, our Proust’s madeleine. Everything comes from there. Same, we do not play them (although Yann continues to create armies for Epic of … epic dimension) but they branded our vision of the game.
And Supergang because it’s a legendary game … like Space Hulk. Argh, you know we can not stop at 3 games! « 

4. For you what is the best combination for a successful game ?

« A simple mechanism that brings depth and replayability allied to a real attention to the graphic/illustration and background.
For us, the visual part of a game is very important. How many games have a splendid mechanical but hurt your eyes when the box is opened?
The game world has changed but there is still work on this subject. « 

5. How do you proceed to create a game ?

« We start from a desire. « Hey! If we had a game on bands of brats who pull the floss to be the most famous of the township? » And then we wonder what type of mechanical could best support the theme of the game. Or vice versa if we start on gameplay in particular, but this is rare. We like to tell stories first.
There are many games which the mechanic does not correspond to the universe. We could play a heroic fantasy game with axes and double curvature Vorpal sword and we are left with a resource management mechanism. The player is disappointed, not because he does not like the resource management mechanism, but because he wanted to punch and hit a band of Orcs on the kisser. « 

6. What advice would you give to someone wanting to create a game ?

« Fly you fool!
Seriously, start as you feel it, test, test and retest and then remove the unnecessary and repeat tests. You do not need to create 84 values ​​to define a tank, throwing 32 dice for a successful action does not add much, and although historically a sewage pipe from Chicago in 1886 was 20 inches in diameter do not sacrifice your gameplay for that. Go to the simpler, the better the more fun. The important thing is that the players gathered around the table enjoying themselves. « 

7. Could you give us some information on your next project ?

« There will be two-handed swords … »

Thank you both Yann and Clem for taking the time to answer the 7 questions despite the outputs related to last Kickstater and plans for future extensions and games. A very good recovery also to Clem.

I’m sure like me, you can not wait for the next releases of these two creators!

To learn more about Heroes of Normandie:

Heroes of Normandie
Heroes of Normandie

Ideal board game café?!

Snakes and Lattes
Snakes & Lattes, Toronto

In my « mission » to pass the « good word » of the game to the world, to bring the game to the people and to make them discover the people behind this industry, an idea stuck in my head for quite some time.

There are major problems for the players and for the world of games. Here are some one:

  • Find players to play when you feel like it.
  • Find a friendly place to be able to play that suits all players.
  • Finally, for non-players to try games before they buy them.

In short, the answer to this: A board game cafe.

A board game café is a place open to all, where you can enjoy a selection of games and a selection of beverages and food. This place is furnished with tables and other furniture for easier playing in a good atmosphere.

There are some in the world of all kinds and sizes. One comes to my mind among others: Snakes & Lattes in Toronto. Snakes & Lattes was created by French and knows a growing success.

Of course every person, every player has different needs and expectations and it could be difficult to please everyone or most people.

So this idea of ​​opening a board game cafe tickles my brain and I like to know what you want, expect from a board game cafe? What kind of atmosphere, service, games, furniture, menu or/and beverages, events, etc … In short, what would be, for you, the ideal board game cafe?

So feel free to comment on this post and describe your ideal board game cafe.

Thank you everyone!

La revanche, photo de atelier scd
La revanche, photo from atelier scd

7 questions for Richard Garfield

Richard Garfield
Richard Garfield

In the board games family, there are games that everyone knows even if not everyone played them such as: poker, chess, Monopoly. And more recently: Carcassonne, Dungeons & Dragons, and of course Magic: the Gathering.

I was lucky that the creator of one of the pillars of the game world, answered my 7 questions.

Richard Garfield, this American creator native from Philadelphia, who has a Phd in combinatorial mathematics is the creator behind Magic :the Gathering, a global success that has influenced many other game designers since its release in 1993. Richard is the man of day.

Richard is well known for Magic but he also created between other, Android :Netrunner, another card game and more recently King of Tokyo a board game released in 2011.

If you’ve never tried Magic, I invite you to do so and discover what millions of players around the world already know. And of course try his other créations.

Here are 7 questions for Richard Garfield.

1. How old were you when you played your first board game and which board game was it ?

« That is hard to say, I played cards and classic games like chess very young. The first board game I remember really getting hooked on was Stratego. The game that pushed me from game enthusiast to game devotee and game designer was Dungeons and Dragons. »

2. Why and how did you decide to design a game ? 

« After discovering Dungeons and Dragons I felt that anything was possible with games, and I used them as a creative outlet for my ideas. I was quite serious about it — in fact – I envisioned a school where every subject was taught through games. I still like to design games around complex phenomena to understand better how they work – like in economics or evolution. »

3. What are your 3 favorite games ?

« I can’t answer that – I am instead going to give you 3 games that would appear on my top 10 game list.



Go »

4. For you, what is the best combination for a successful game ?

« I am constantly looking for games that have enough luck in them that anyone can win, but enough skill that investing in it feels good. Part of that is making it fast enough that when you lose despite superior skill you can play a few more times to make up for it. I also like games with a lot of interaction, but without much picking on particular other players. I also like games with a lot of variations of play.

You can see from that why Poker is on my top 10 list – it is perfectly described by my criteria above. »

5. How do you proceed to design a game ?

« I design games slowly and often more by intuition than reason. I am very critical of my designs and tend to put games that don’t satisfy me in the closet for a long while and revisit them when I am a different person. I design games both starting from a mechanical principle and adding flavor (Magic, King of Tokyo) and from a flavor and figuring out mechanics from there (RoboRally, Pecking Order). »

6. What tips could you give to someone who wants to design a game ?

« Get a wide variety of playtesters. When your playtesters have a problem they will often think it is one thing but it is actually another, with experience you can figure out what really isn’t working for them. This is important because often what the playtesters think they want  will undermine your whole game – but you can come up with fixes that get them what they actually want.

Get new playtesters after working on your game a while – if you always use the same playtesters your game will be developed only for experts, not for new players as well – and new players are, if anything, more important to a game.

Play lots of games. The more games you have the more solutions you will have at your fingertips for problems that come up with your designs. »

7. Could you give us some information about your future projects ?

« King of New York is finished and will be out in a few months. I am working on a trivia game and a number of card drafting games as well. In the online world I am currently shopping around some designs in the customizable deck genre to see if I can get any interest. »

To know more about Magic: the Gathering :

7 questions for Ignacy Trzewiczek

Ignacy Trzewiczek
Ignacy Trzewiczek


In the world of games, there are game designers from all around.

During the Spielwarenmess of Nuremberg in 2014, I discovered a lot of good board games from the eastern europe which never hit the shelves of french or US stores !!!

With this in mind, today I decided to ask someone from Poland to answer the 7 questions. Someone who created a lot of games and games that actually are on our shelves in France and in US.

Ignacy Trzewiczek.

Ignacy Trzewiczek is a game designer and a long-time RPG writer and he is also a publisher of games under the logo Portal Games! He designed the famous Robinson Crusoe : Adventure on the Cursed Island, also Stronghold, The New Era and a lot of expensions for Neuroshima. He last releases are Imperial Settlers and The Witcher Adventure Game.

Without waiting, those are the 7 questions for Ignacy Trzewiczek.

1. How old were you when you played your first board game and which board game was it ?

I don’t know. I remember that as a kid I played a lot The Amezing Labyrinth from Ravensburger. This is an incredibly smart and entertaining game for kids. Now, I played it with my kids and still I have a great time.

2. why and how did you decide to design a game ?

I was a gamer for a long time and at the beginning I was designing stuff for my own purpose and my fellow players. At some point I tried to earn money – I wrote scenarios for Warhammer Role Playing Games and sent to publisher. They were published, I got paid and that’s how it started to be my job. I write about this in my book Boardgames That Tell Stories, I encourage you to check this book and read the whole story.

  1. What are your 3 favorite games ?

It’s hard to answer. 3 favorite Role Playing Games? Or 3 favorite miniature games? Or board games? Card games or party games? I play a lot, I have few hundred games and depending of mood and fellow players I play different games. 3 favorite games I can play with my son are Neuroshima Hex, X-Wing and Memoir’44. But 3 favorite games I play with my wife are different. And with guys from my club are different too…

  1. For you, what is the best combination for a successful game ?

It has to be engaging. It should immerse players and entertain them. It should have simple rules, and yet, give a meaningful choices during game.

5. How do you proceed to design a game ?

I start with picking a theme, then I read books and watch movies about this theme and I learn about it. It takes about 3 to 6 months. Then I begin with building prototype. I focus on building tools that will help players explore and feel the theme. It takes another 4 to 6 months to build prototype that will work smooth and will be interesting. Then it’s time to balance the game and then production may start…

6. What tips could you give to someone who want to design a game ?

Be patient. And have courage to trash ideas. Designing games is trashing ideas and always looking for better. 

7. Could you give us a small info about your future projects ?

I run blog where I write about design process and games industry. I invite everybody to subscribe to the blog to learn about games. This year I will publish my new game called Imperial Settlers. I hope it will be a title that players will like. It’s about building your small Empire.

dziękuję bardzo ! Thank you very much Ignacy for your time and if you want to know more about Portal games :

Ignacy is writing a great blog about game design as well :

Portal Game

Ce qui se prépare sur La Tour à Dés

Anatomy of a Meeple from ?
Anatomy of a Meeple from ?

Bon après une petite pose bien méritée, il est temps de se remettre à écrire et donc voici quelques idées sur les articles à venir dans les prochaines semaines de votre blog préféré 😉

Comme d’habitude, si vous souhaitez voir des articles en particulier n’hésitez pas à me contacter sur la page Facebook de La Tour à Dés ou par E-mail: . Vos commentaires sont aussi très appréciés.

Voici donc un avant gout des prochains articles mais pas forcément dans l’ordre de publication.

Un article sur l’un des fabricants de jeux très connu , les 7 questions au créateur de Magic the Gathering: Richard Garfield, eh oui! Egalement 7 questions à Ludtche créateur de Pan t’es mort et big chef de Facily jeux. Aussi un article sur une nouvelle maison d’édition de jeux Normande: Viking Games qui vient de sortir sont premier jeux: Estiméo. Et pour ne pas oublier, 7 questions à Yann le co-créateur avec Clem de Heroes of Normandie.

Voilà pour un aperçu de ce qui va venir bien sur, je n’ai pas tout mentionné cela va de soi. Votre serviteur répondra également à une interview d’un de ses collègues bloggeurs! Oui, on m’a demandé de me mettre de l’autre coté de la table!

Alors restez à l’écoute et bon jeux!!

Trip to the States, voyage aux Etats Unis


Dear La Tour à Dés followers, you must be wondering what happen to me and my weekly interview/post?

I went to the States to spend some time with friends and family. It was a great, but short visit. I should be back in Texas permanently by mid-August.  After all, Texas is my home since 1997.

During this time I played games with my children and friends, multiple classic games like Dixit, Cards Against Humanity, Andor, Formula D, etc…

I also visited my local game stores in Texas like Rogues Gallery Comics and Games in Round Rock and also some stores in California like Metro Entertainment in Santa Barbara and Pair a Dice Games in Vista. Pair of Dice was well supplied in all kinds of games even the newest ones available in the States!! It was interesting to see the difference  between the selection of games in France and the U.S.A. I may talk about that later on.

I am flying back to France today for a short time and will resume my posts. Thank you for following them and sharing them. As always if you have any questions or suggestions let me know!

Keep playing!!

June 6 1944 D Day, June 6 2014

D DAY 70 banner

Today June 6, 2014, we remember and commemorate the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. At 6:30, 70 years ago, thousands of young people have landed on the beaches Code Names: Gold, Sword, Juno, Omaha, Utah, preceded by thousands of Allied troops parachuted overnight behind German lines and the work of the French resistance. Opposite stood young people as part of the German troops and in the middle French civilians.

Today marks the beginning of the liberation of Europe.

For me, the memory of that day is of great importance on several levels. I am Normand and stories of war, liberation and post-liberation rocked my childhood and part of my family history as all the Normans of my age. Also, my wife is American and in 1999, I made a donation for the construction of the National World War II Memorial in Washington as a small token of my gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice of all these young people.

DDay prep

In the world of games, this event was of course was used, narrated, illustrated several times and I will mention just a few. Those games, even if they are games can be today or any day, used to remember and explain, tell this history to the youngest among us. We must never forget this day.

In games that have for subject this day and period, here are the ones I retained but there are many other:

Memoir 44, and a special expansion « D-Day Landings » that just came out.

Combat Comander Europe with its extension Battle Pack # 3 Normandy.

D-Day Dice.

Axis and Allies.

And today released a great new game on this theme: Heroes of Normandy and a special expansion « D-Day Scenario Pack. »

There are a lot of War game of course like Battlefront, Flames of War among others that will allow lolders to « relive » that day.

Therefore on this day, play to remember and to not forget this June 6, 1944 and thus start a conversation with the younger about these events.

HoN DDayddaydice

7 questions for Farid Ben Salem, game design teacher

Farid Ben Salem
Farid Ben Salem. Carré & Kawaii Photographie

In the game world, I interviewed game designers, illustrators, publishers, etc … But never yet somebody who teaches game design! Today is Farid Ben Salem who answers the 7 questions.

This father from Paris is a jack of all trades. He is: fencing-master, project manager, editor for Casus Beli and Ravage magazines, inventor, game designer (SpellShot a successful hybrid game published by Hasbro in North America), he also worked on rewriting Detective Council for Ystari. As I mentioned earlier, Farid teaches game design, games and gamification at Sciences Po, E-artsup, Paris 8 and Paris 3 universities. And if that were not enough, Farid is also a presenter on WebTV GameStars! All this to serve his purpose: « to promote the game at the world’s largest and virtues of the game. »

Without waiting here are 7 questions for Farid Ben Salem.

1 . How old were you when you played your first board game and what was it ?

« In fact, besides the big classics, I create a lot of games or copy games before playing. Because I had a very strict father, for who only school and conservatory were important I had few toys and games. So, when I was playing a game with a friend, I went home, I hastened to recreate it from my vague memories with paper, tape and pencils. I even created a cardboard pinball my comrades worshiped. The first real game I played, for me, is D & D, a  real slap discovered in Games & Strategy at the time. The first games were stressful and chaotic but it was a good lesson for the future. « 

2 . How and why did you decide to teach game development company ?

« In fact, I teach fencing for over 20 years with children and adults, and I was regularly training because of my oldest professions in the private sector. Suddenly, one of my students in fencing , responsible for licensing in P8 university, was seeking new vectors for students in information science and communication , he asked me if I felt to teach games creation to youth with my background . I obviously jumped at the chance and it was a first successful experience. 30 students gave me as year-end project board games proto. while they knew nothing about it at first. Apart video games. I was amazed . thereafter , I had different applications in great schools and universities. I also animated workshop with and for professionals . « 

3 . What are your favorite games company and why ?

« So I mostly like what we call American style games (ameritrash), I’m more in the mood and the immersion than in the calculation. Undoubtedly, the first is Battlestar Galactica board game from FFG. Never seen a transcript as pleasant and also true of a TV show. Each game is tense and it is possible to interpret the character that you play. In second place, I will choose RuneAge, also from FFG, because it is a deck building, I am a fan of this type of games, but that Corey Konieczka (I burn a candle on behalf of Corey saint, the saint of the game designer, every Sunday) was able to make a themed game, immersive and scripted. and always with FFG, sorry, role playing game Edge of the Empire, a technical marvel, the Rolls-Royce of RPG. « 

4 . For you what is the best combination for a successful game ?

« Either you decide to make a public game, which can affect all classes, all ages, and is easy to access, or you touch a specific public of gamers, or type of gamers, with their corresponding mechanisms . In both cases it is not easy, especially if you’re looking to make money with. The main thing is not to lose some. The approach is different and vectors of distribution are not the same. For me, the creation of a good game is the game that you want for yourself. Working on a command is never easy. I work on games that relate to both publics and the pleasure is different. « 

5 . How do you proceed to create a game ?

« The ideal is to have on hand a few “guinea pigs”, which will be helpful when you have one or more game mechanical ideas. It is essential to have tools and basic materials that will allow you to set up quickly a proto that you will show to your “guinea pigs” and start playing even if it has nothing written, nothing drawn. This allows for a visual representation of what may be the game . The concern is that ideas often arrive around 3am at night, or it makes you cogitate and you make the effort to take notes or you’re too tired hoping you remember them in the morning. Thereafter I’m making a more important proto, retrieving images on the net, and I tweak on InDesign and Illustrator.”

6 . What advice would you give to someone wishing to create a game ?

« Above all, I speak for young people, have a steady income that allows you a peace of mind. Because a game, if it works, will allow you in most cases, to pay for a weekend off or may be some vacation. Otherwise, I would advise you to create multiple games and rotate them in the game conventions, to test them in all directions hundreds of times. This is to get the maximum return and come up with a great product from publishers. « 

7 . Could you give us some information on your next project ?

« In fact, I have several ongoing projects and even some who are terminated, a board game that I have already presented to Volumiques Editions, 2 hybrid games that have already received CNC grants, a party game, a Role Playing Game from a license and the reissue of an old RPG, among other things. « 

Thank you Farid to spread the « good news » of the game and for answering the 7 questions.

Here are some links to learn more about Farid including a link on the WebTV shows about games (in French) :

A paper for the U.S. vice president on violence in games (in French) :

And finally a video on the future of games  (in French) :