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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:  http://www.devil-pig-games.com/

Heroes of Normandie
Heroes of Normandie
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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.

Poker

Werewolf/Mafia

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 : http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/Summoner/

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 BoardgamesThatTellStories.com 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 : http://portalgames.pl/en/

Ignacy is writing a great blog about game design as well : http://boardgamesthattellstories.wordpress.com/

Portal Game

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) : http://www.dailymotion.com/fr/relevance/search/gamestars/1

A paper for the U.S. vice president on violence in games (in French) :http://www.gaite-lyrique.net/gaitelive/la-violence-dans-les-jeux-vs-les-violences-dans-le-interview

And finally a video on the future of games  (in French) : http://gamelier.org/farid-ben-salem-on-the-future-of-tangible-games/

Spellshot

7 questions for Mr Phal from TricTrac.net

 

Photo par Christelle Besseyre
Photo par Christelle Besseyre

In the game world, when one is Francophone and he want, amongst other things, get information about new games or an explanation of the rules of a game, there are magazines like Ravage, Vae Victis or Plato, etc … And of course there is a Web site created in 2000: TricTrac.net.

TricTrac.net is a Web site about news from the world of games which includes more than 15,000 versions of games. It is since 2009 the property of Flat prod a company owned with 49% by the company Plume Finance own by Marc Nunes (former Asmodee) and 51% by Philippe Maurin aka Mr Phal. Mr Phal and Dr. Mops (Thierry Lebourg) are the creators and main writers / animators of this site.

So this is to this colorful character from Orleans (France), passionate of cyclism, Mr Phal, that I asked those 7 questions.

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

« 4 or 5 years old, and that should be the card game ‘war’. »

2 . Why and how did you decide to create Tric Trac ?

« Arrived at 35, I thought that maybe time for me to work one day, but from my house. What could be done from home, safely, with minimal cost, from a blanc screen … Internet … A website. But the idea of Tric Trac was not the original idea. It was a topic among others. « 

3 . What are your 3 favorite games company and why ?

« Tigris & Euphrates, El Grande, poker because I like opportunism, rich games, refined and with few rules and it reminds me of good memories. »

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

« This is a complicated issue because there are as many combinations as people. We do not create a geek success with the same recipes that mainstream success. And yet, if we knew the recipes. The base is a truism, the first ingredient is a good game, the second a material to the task. « 

5 . How do to write about a game ?

« I have no method. I launch Word and let slip the fingers on the keyboard. I write it as it comes. « 

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

« I am not a creator myself, so I do not really know what to give as advice except that I love games where you will do 2 actions during your turn from six possible actions, so make me games like that …  » 🙂

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

« A makeover of the v4 that it looks more like the TTTV. »

Thank you Mr Phal for answering the 7 questions. For more information on TricTrac : http://www.trictrac.net

TricTrac

7 questions for Vincent Dutrait

Vincent Dutrait. Photo de Derek Thompson
Vincent Dutrait. Photo de Derek Thompson

Today is another one of those illustration magician who answer to the 7 questions. One of those people who by his work and his talent makes us travel in different worlds and adds a very important dimension to the pleasure of playing.

Vincent Dutrait who shared his time between France and South Korea, is a prolific illustrator and his illustrations are always very rich. Out of the Emile Cohl school in Lyon in 1997, he taught there as a professor of comics and illustration. He has illustrated a lot of games like, among others, Augustus, Dead or Alive, Diplomacy, Tikal II, Longhorn, Madam Ching and also Lewis and Clark from Cédrick Chaboussit.

Here are7questions forVincentDutrait.

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

« I was a kid and my first memories of games I remember are Inkognito, The Mysteries of Peking; Fireball Island, Black Cannon, among others. And I also have fond memories of Dungeons & Dragons, the Black Eye for role playing. « 

2 . Why and how did you decided to illustrate board games ?

« In the early 2000s, I took my first steps in the game world (since 1997 I only worked for the youth edition) for role playing games (Guild 2) and magazines like Backstab and D20. One thing leading to another, I met the Asmodee team who offered me Dead or Alive. Thereafter I illustrated a few games with a form of interruption until 2009 and a « return » in the game world with Water Lily and Tikal 2. Since collaborations are connected and I’m working on 3 ~ 4 games projects a year. « 

3 . What are your 3 favorite games company and why ?

« There’s a lot … but to summarize, I would say Ticket to Ride, Tikal 2 and recently Robinson Crusoe. I also enjoy many small card games, games for two players, those called abstract. But too often monopolized by mountains of things to do, I lack time to play and I have a soft spot for games that provide a great sense of accomplishment. Those in renewed pleasure because of the diversity of approaches, those who make me live an experience. Even if I miss my game, I want to have some final satisfaction of having completed a development, a story. And without driving me mad. Also very sensitive to images and to the meaning they convey, I need strong and immersive universes with accomplished aesthetic and tidy. « 

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

 » This is a very delicate equation . Over the collaborations, I seem to have identified several parameters including three essential . The first is a story of the cursor. Find – upstream – the right tone , the right approach to stick as close to the game as possible and from what it feels . What is the target ? Is the game more family oriented or more advanced players even long run players? What will be the most suitable optical adapted to the images ? A capital gymnastics to get the project back on track . Then it is more technical. The illustration is in the service of the game , as a cover for a novels or illustrated album for young readers. The difference is that for the game, the artwork must sit and transmit mechanical . The relationship between the structure , the material, the mechanic of the game and the impact of images is very very important. The illustration must not interfere with the smooth running of the game, but instead make it fluid , the illustration must be legible at a distance or in hand to give body to an action, an effect, a character, an existing environment… Finally, I do not illustrate a game for a publisher but to the players. We must keep in mind that the illustration must transmit and share the intentions of the author, the story , depicts the universe. I can communicate with players via the colors, framing, staging and choice of representation. « 

5 . How do you proceed to illustrate a game ?

« First of all , while bringing docs and references together , I want to play the game and even at the state of the very basic prototype . This allows me to better understand the mechanics but also capture the  » feeling  » around the table, what the players will tell, how the game will be  » put to words « . This is very important because the illustrations are not intended to be viewed on screen or only in hand. A token will perhaps spend most of the game on the table , a card returned , a board viewed from various angles and viewpoints. I need to understand the use to be made of my images to organize them the best way . Once the tone and guideline are seated, I just sketch everything , board, cards , tiles, etc. . I work with the editor to adjust all this because even with a good overall vision of a game , it is not always easy to capture all the subtleties and discussions always turn constructive . Then I get out my paints and brushes , my paper, and start coloring that it is referred to as « traditional » . I only use the digital and computer to adjust or prepare sketches for example my images for printing .  »

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

« Feed yourself images continuously. Be curious. Play, play a lot and get involved. The game world is encoded with its successes and crashes, habits and traditions, modes and its pillars. I follow very carefully everything that is done and said through forums, websites, blogs, videos. Not to be always up to date but to understand and learn, develop and enrich my imagination and my techniques to offer players new experiences and new approaches through my illustrations. « 

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

« These days, I work hard on a script for the game TimeStories from Manuel Rozoy with Space Cowboys. This is particularly complex and dense, very narrative. There are a lot of cards and some consist of large panoramas in which players will progress. It is a universe and a medieval-fantasy adventure in the same spirit as Dungeons & Dragons. I am also delighted to immerse myself in these fantastic and strange moods and hopes to shine the eyes of the players! « 

Thank you Vincent for your time. For more information on the work of Vincent: http://www.vincentdutrait.com/

V. Dutrait atelier

7 questions for Mathieu Leyssenne

Photo du Sud Ouest
Photo du Sud Ouest

When you have a game that does not have a good art work, you do not buy it or you do not play with it. And if you have a game with a great illustration but the mechanism is not interesting, you play it once and / or you sell it! There are games that combine a good mechanism and superb illustrations. Among these games, comes to mind immediately: Jamaica a game by Bruno Cathala, Sébastien Pauchon and Malcolm Braff. This is a good family game that still has a place in our family and is a visual treat.

These beautiful illustrations are the work of Mathieu Leyssenne who answer today the 7 questions. Mathieu lives in Bordeaux, where he is a freelance illustrator since 2001. Mathieu has illustrated games like: Metropolys, Souk, Chinatown and more recently The Tortoise and the Hare. Of course the inevitable is the illustration of Jamaica, a delight for the eyes. The cares of details on the board takes you to Jamaica in the world of pirates when you start to play. Mathieu’s work could be on an exhibition with other of his contemporaries. I invite you to use the links at the end of the interview to explore his work.

Her are the 7 questions for Mathieu Leysenne.

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

« I started with the classic, parcheesi, checkers … We played a lot in our family, I have the childhood memory of large game of Monopoly, La Conquete du Monde, Clue, The game of Life, … »

 

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

« It was not really a choice at the beginning. I wanted to do some illustrations, but I was aiming for publishing children’s books or role play games. And then one day, a friend, Julien Carette, went to show his book to Asmodee. Among his works, there was a comic strip that I had put in color. It was apparently liked by Asmodee, and they contacted me shortly after to work on my first game, ‘Les fils de Samarande’. But things really started with GameWorks, and games ‘Animalia’ and ‘Jamaica’. I do not remember exactly how they found my work. But after that, orders arrived fairly regularly, especially projects with animals, pirates, or pirate animals.  »

 

3 . What are your 3 favorite games company and why ?

« Agricola first, because the interest is constantly renewed with the allocation of cards at the beginning. With an automatic system of implementation / automatic storage, I would find it perfect. Ticket to Ride then. Even though I hardly ever play it today, perhaps is the game that kept me busy the most. It’s really simple, it is explained in 2 minutes, even to someone who knows nothing, and it plays very well with 2 players. And finally Citadels.  »

 

4 . For you what is the best combination to illustrate a game successfully ?

« It is not enough that the illustrations are beautiful and they define an interesting universe, they must also not be to the detriment of the gameplay, and adapt themselves well to the mechanisms of the game. It is important to have some good exchanges with the editor, so we can work together on it.  »

5. How do you proceed to illustrate a game ?

« In general they give me a brief, element by element, a theme, constraints tie to the gameplay … Then I prepare sketches, we discuss about them and I make any modifications. I then moved on to a rough colored, that we also valid, and I finalize.  »

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

« Beware of the board! We always feel we will do it in no time, and one month after it is still on …  »

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

« I do not know if I can talk about the game itself, so when in doubt, I’ll just say that it will be a new game edited by Benoît Forget from Purple Brain Créations.  »

Thank you Mathieu for answering the 7 questions. For more information on the work of Mathieu Leyssenne :

http://www.aniii.com/illus04.html

http://legrandvrac.blogspot.fr/

jamaica_map

7 questions for John Kovalic

Picture from Anton Olsen
Picture from Anton Olsen

So it’s been a long time since an illustrator has not responded to the 7 questions. It is time to remedy to this. Who does not know Munchkin or the funny comics Dork Tower? If you do not know, it’s time to change that!

Today is the prolific John Kovalic who is ready to play the game of the 7 questions. John was born in England and lives in the United States today in Wisconsin to be precise. He is a cartoonist, a writer and an illustrator who published his illustrations in the New York Times, The Washington Post and also in Cartoons Magazine. He created and is the co-owner of Out of the Box Publishing company.

Although one of the most famous work of John is the co-illustration of the famous of Steve Jackson’s series : Munchkin. As well as the co-illustration of Love Letter and the illustration of Apples to Apples and more. He also created games like among other Whad’Ya know? and ROFL!

Here without waiting are the 7 questions for John Kovalic.

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

« That’s a tough question. My first GOOD boardgame – or at least one I finally enjoyed – was « Escape from Colditz. » I was probably about 11, and it mesmerized me. My first *hobby* boardgame was « Panzer 44, » the wargame by SPI. I was probably 16 atb the time, in school in England. I had been playing historical miniatures games for a year or so already. But I found this in a model shop in Bristol. It literally changed my life. »

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

« I was lucky. I never decided on this. By pure coincidence, Steve Jackson found my editorial cartoons – I was working for a newspaper at the time – and he asked me if I wanted to do some cartoons for him. This grew and grew and grew. Mostly through amazing good forune, I illustrated Apples to Apples and Munchkin. And eventually well over 100 other games. »

3 . What are your 3 favorite games ?

« This is an almost impossible question to answer. I have favorite roleplaying games, favorite board games, favorite miniatures games. They also change almost every year. I have favorite classic games that just don’t hole up, anymore, and which i may never play again, and go-to games that I’ll play any time. »

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

« The players must have fun. That is all. For me to have fun, I want a good group of people, a well-written set of rules, and a lot of interaction with the other players. There has to be laughter, and stories to share afterwards. »

5 . How do you proceed to illustrate a game ?

« Slowly and with caution. I try to make every game I work on a little bit different, and better than anything I have done before. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s a good way to start a project. »

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

« The same tip Charles Schulz gave me, years ago, about my comic strips: « work as hard as you can, and always be yourself. »

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

« You’ve caught me at a very busy time. I’m just now completing work on five games that should be released by GenCon, or close to that. There’s a big Steve Jackson games game that has not been announced yet. I’ve also illustrated the new edition of CASH ‘N GUNS from Repos and Asmodee – I *loce* the game and I loved working on this. Plus a new version of SNORTA from out of the Box games, called QUACK-A-DOODLE-MOO, plus a PAIRS deck from Cheapass Games, as well as a Munchkin Version of Love Letter from AEG, and a wonderful movie party game called DOUBLE FEATURE, from Cryptozoic, which I helped create, as well. Wait. That’s six games. Plus some smaller things. It’s been a busy year. For the rest of the year – and next year and beyond, too – I hope to concentrate on MUNCHKIN, as well as my comics, DORK TOWER and DR. BLINK: SUPERHERO SHRINK. »

Thank John to step away from your buzy work to answer the 7 questions. For more information about John’s work : http://muskrat-john.livejournal.com/

http://www.dorktower.com/

Munchkin

7 questions for John Yianni

John Yianni

 

Once again we are going to England, where the creator of Hive, John Yianni lives. John is a game creator who wears many hats as he is also his own illustrator and editor since he is the “big boss” of his own publishing company: GEN42 Games. John has created games such as, among others: Run Rabbit Run, Army of Frogs and Logan Stones but the most famous of his games is of course Hive with all its extensions.

Hive is an abstract game of strategy where while protecting your queen you need to surrounded the other player’s queen. Hive which was released in 2001 received a lot of awards and is a game that deserves to be in your game library. You can also download the application of Hive on all phones platforms or play it on XBOX 360.

I had the chance to meet John at Spielwarenmesse 2014 in Nuremberg. It was a very pleasant meeting.

Here are 7 questions for John Yianni.

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

« First board game played: Monopoly, aged about 7 years old. »

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

« As a hobby I used to design games as a young boy and would play with my family and friends, one of these games happened to be a very early prototype of Hive.

So as you can see the idea for Hive is many years old. The idea came from a film I was watching at the time; about two old men who were friends, and they would meet in a park to play Chess. One of them would bring the white pieces and the other the black. 

I had the inspiration then of making a game like Chess that didn’t need a board, just the pieces, and that could be played in a very short time, but still have a lot of depth and strategy, that could be played just about anywhere. That game became Hive. »

3. What are your 3 favourite games ?

« I like a lot of games,  my favourites at them moment are: Galaxy Trucker, Escape and Love Letter. »

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

« Simple rules that don’t overpower the game, and the ability to give the player a sense of discovery. »

5. How do you proceed to design a game ?

« Depending on the idea I usually work on the mechanics and design at the same time. For me the look and feel of a game is just as important as the mechanics. Once I get to the point that I’m mostly happy with the mechanics I start to make prototypes and play around with the game by myself until I think that it works well. Then I make a very plush prototype, so good that you would think its a finish game, then I play test with others. I do this because I don’t want the look of the game to get in the way of peoples opinion of how it plays. Once I’m happy with the reactions I’m getting, I start to work on re-writing the rules so that they are understood by anyone reading them (this is not always easy). Then I do the box design, I try to keep a theme going with all my boxes so that if you see it in a shop you will probably know it’s mine. 

Ideas are never a problem for me, I see games in just about everything I look at. The main problem is having the time to work on the many ideas that I have on the go at any one time. 

I have lots of files on my computer with ideas and games at different stages and I keep an ideas book with me so if I get a new idea I just write it down. »

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

« I would say that anyone thinking of designing a game to just go for it. 

Design a game that you would enjoy playing and also enjoy the process of designing it.

Don’t see it as a way to make money, you will probably never make money out of it unless you are very lucky or are willing to put in a lot of work promoting the game.

Play test the game with as many different people as possible and change one thing at a time until you are happy with the game. 

But above all, enjoy the process, have fun, that’s what it’s all about. »

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

« Working on some new games but currently on one particular dice / abstract game. »

Thank you john to answer my 7 questions. For more information on John Yianni games : http://gen42.com/

Hive

7 questions for Richard Breese

Richard Breese

Today, we are going to England where Richard Breese lives with his family and works in finance.

Richard is a creator of games who published his first game in 1989 : Chamelequin, an abstract game of strategy. He also created Reef Encounter, Aladdin’s Dragons and of course Richard is the creator of the game series « Key » with Keythedral, Key Harvest and the famous Keyflower co-created with Sebastian Bleasdale and illustrated by Juliet and Jo Breese and Gemma Tegelaers. This game has received many awards and are published under Richard’s own publishing company: R & D Games.

Here are without waiting the 7 questions for Richard Breese.

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

« There were always board games at my parents’ house when I was a child.  I can’t recall the first but it was probably Coppit. »

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

« I’ve always enjoyed playing games.  I played some D&D and Talisman.  I had an idea for a movement system based on different character classes moving across different terrains.  I simplified this down into san abstract game and this became my first published game Chamelequin in 1989. »

3.    What are your 3 favourite games ?

« Rummikub, Wizard and for the moment Keyflower.  But my choices will depend on who else is playing. »

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

« I try to design games where there is plenty of player interaction, that the interaction is through the game mechanics and not direct against other players, that actions have positive results, that there are several meaningful choices and that there is only a little luck.  For me these criteria can lead to a successful game. »

5.    How do you proceed to design a game ?

« From the initial idea I work up a prototype.  I play test it as much as possible and until I consider that there is nothing else that can be done to improve the game.  I create the graphics along with the playtest then get my sister Juliet to create the final illustrations. »

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

« To play as many different games as possible so as to find out what works for you.  Then to playtest with as many people as possible and take on board any comments or criticisms they have.  Sometimes you will decide what you are doing is better, but often they will have valid ideas that are worth incorporating.  Try and make your prototype as professional as possible so as to enhance the playtest experience. »

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

« In 2014 there will be another full expansion for Keyflower.  Then in 2015 I am hoping to publish an animal game called Inhabit the Earth. »

Thank you Richard for the answers to my 7 questions. To know more about Richard Breese’s games: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgamedesigner/134/richard-breese

keyflower