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The origins of my games (Michael Schacht)
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Inspired by people asking me for a list like
this i’m gonna start it now.
Additions will be made more or less frequently.
The order is chronological.



One of my characteristics is that i am curious -
i like trying things to do by myself.
So this brought me sometime also to game designing.

I started with game designing around 1988/1989 when i was working over years
on an own computer game for the Commodore Amiga with the name "Nach der Flut" (After the flood).
Finally there was a shareware version of this one.

Some time later i made a session over some weeks designing my first two board games ("Taxi" and "Charts").
All that wasn’t very professional (f. e. testing just with friends) but fun.
And i was lucky because both games had some kind of release.
And from that point on i was infected ...

Latest Additions:
Crazy Creatures Of Dr. Gloom (79), Web of Power Card Game: The Duel (78), Coney Island (77), Scotland Yard Swiss (76), Mondo Solo (75), Dino Deal (74), Mondo (73), Felinia (72), Ruhrgebiet (69)


Latest Update:
Valdora (62), Industria (46), Valdora Extra (66)
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Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Computer Game, released as shareware 1991.

I started with game designing around 1988/1989 when working on an own computer game for the Commodore Amiga.
It was a civilisation game taking place in the mediterranean area with conflicts and building world wonders.
The name was "Nach der Flut" (means in english: "After the flood").



This story hasn’t a happy end because after a operatings system update by Commodore the development software didn’t work anymore
(the problem was that they used direct addressing!).
And the company of that software just got out of business.
Well, i didn’t rewrite all the stuff and finally there was only a shareware version of the game that didn’t work on all computers.
From time to time i pick up my old computer from the cellar for a session with a very, very exclusive game :-)

I often thought of making a board game of that one.
There are some concepts over the years but i haven’t started yet.

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2. Board Game: Taxi [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Punch-Out Sheet, released by "Spielerei" magazine 1992.

Taxi was 1992 participant at the game designing contest of the Hippodice Spieleclub.
It didn’t win anything but the hosts of the contest were also involved with the "Spielerei" magazine and
publicated it as punch-out sheet in the magazine.

The game itself is an easy childrens’ game.
Rolling dice, moving your taxi and collecting money.
Sometimes you can move taxis to a diferent lane to block this one or others.
Not very innovative but a start.

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3. Board Game: Charts [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Board game, released by Piatnik, 1996

This one deals with music which is one of my big interests.
1995 it reached the finals of the Hippodice games contest.
The development person from Piatnik was part of the jury and that lead to my first real release.

It was my very first try in creating a game by my own.
In my eyes the basic concept idea is still ok,
the amount of luck is quite high and a little bit more experience in the further development would have been good.

Anyway i am very happy about it because it clarified that my game ideas can have the releasing quality.
And gave me the stimulation for creating further and better ideas.



Cards from the prototype.



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4. Board Game: Die fliegenden Händler von Karthago [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Rules download, released by Spiele aus Timbuktu 1997
Released by Bambusspiele as game in a book 2005.

When i was working on this one i discovered a game with a few simularities.
In my eyes it was enough to decide not offering the prototype to a "real" publisher.
At that time i already had my Spiele aus Timbuktu-website, so, i had at least the chance to upload the rules.

Much later this one became part of the "Jam Dudel" book made by Peer Sylvester.

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Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Advertising board game, released by AEG 1997.

This one was a "for a friend" thing.
The not very innovative game concept was already there and my job was to make something working out of it.
And the client was very complicated and restricitve.

Not very inspiring but a good option to learn at that time.


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6. Board Game: Blindes Huhn [Average Rating:5.28 Overall Rank:9356]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Berliner Spielkarten, 1998

Another one from the Hippodice game contest.
After participating several times i finally made a first place in 1997.

When i showed the prototype to Amigo Spiele they said "we have something simular and close to release".
When the much stronger Bohnanza then came out i saw what they were talking about.
Both games deal with the idea of fixed order card hands and just being allowed to pick specific cards.

At that time it was Reinhard Staupe who did the development work for "Berliner Spielkarten"
(which was located just some kilometers away from my hometown) and
who wanted the game for the just launched designers card game series.

For me it was fun doing also the artwork with the blind chicken.
I was a little bit afraid about possible protests.
So, i removed the typical symbol for blindness (three black dots on yellow) from the first illustration.

On the box of the 2007 Blindes Huhn release by Kosmos (different game!) you’ll find the sign.
The graphician of that one seems not to be such a scaredy cat like i was :-)

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7. Board Game: Her mit den Kröten! [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Noris Spiele 1998

This one went through some metamorphosis.
Hartmut Witt who was the development person at Hexagames at the time was very helpful and
gave me a lot of good comments which you usually don’t get from a publisher.

Finally i found in Johann Rüttinger a big fan for bluffing games and
that helped me for the release.
My original prototype graphics got redrawn, the subline "Her mit den Kröten" (which means: give me the toads)
got the final name and vice versa.

A typical game for my start: some luck and mainly fun-driven.



The prototype cover.

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8. Board Game: Schlauer Bauer [Average Rating:5.59 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Adlung Spiele 1998.

The third game in a row dealing with animals.
It had the kind of prototype i really like: just 4 different types of cards.
Not only because it is easier for me to tinker (ok, that’s a big point :-))
It is also the idea of just having a few components and one or two rules that already make a game of full fun.

I’m not a fan of the final graphics but it seems that it didn’t make a difference
because it is one of my old games which is still in print and still does sell well.



Different themed protos - at the beginning it was more an adult concept.


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9. Board Game: Piratenpoker [Average Rating:4.72 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Piatnik 1999.

Besides "Explosiv" this was part of a new card game series (starting with four games) for which i was also asked to do the coporate design.

Another game with strong metamorphosis during the protoype process.
I still might have somewhere an earlier prototype with variable values for the colours like in economical games and
a little board that displays the changes.

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10. Board Game: Explosiv [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:8353]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Piatnik, 1999.

See also above at "Piratenpoker".
The style of the card illustrations is a little bit an homage to an old famous german newspaper comic strip.

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11. Board Game: Kontor [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:3092]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Released by Goldsieber Spiele 1999.
Rereleased as "Amsterdam" by Tilsit 2008.

Another game from the Hippodice game contest of 1998.
At the winning festivities i got to know Jo Nikisch as part of the jury -
that was the start of an enduring collaboration.
At first with games for Goldsieber Spiele and later when Nikisch stopped working for them
with his own publishing company Abacusspiele.



When i finished Kontor i had a good feeling that i made a step forward in designing quality.
I spent a lot of time in the look of the prototype.
Nevertheless the game got completly redrawn by Franz Vohwinkel with a great result.
Also the material was of very high standard.
In the original prototype there were no houses at all - just the cards.
So, you had to invest much more time for interpreting the actual scoring situation during the game.
Most of the variants were created after the contest.



This one was my first prototype presentation for the vistors of the fair in Essen/Germany.
And also my first game where i started creating variants and small expansions.


An earlier written description of the development of Kontor

Kontor was created in 1997 and was planned just for two players.
That lead to a very intensive work on the idea because i didn’t need to get 3 or 4 test players all the time.
Before the building of a port took place in wonderful Amsterdam,
the plan was for the old Hamburg port called "Speicherstadt".
But the slightly mediveal touch of Amsterdam seemed to have more potential themewise
then the beginning industrial revolution in Hamburg.



In octobre 1997 the game was completely evolved, so that it was possible to apply
with an exposé at the "Autorenwettbewerb des Hippodice Spieleclubs"
(Hippodice game club contest).
After taking the first obstacle it got invited and got tested against about one hundred other participating games.

The enthuiasm was big when in March 98 i got invited to join the finals in Bochum.
And even more when i then made the first place.

The interest of the development persons who also were the jury of the contest in the winner was high.
Two publishers were interested. And soon it was clear that Goldsieber would be the publisher.
Important for the decison at the time was for me the chance to take part in the complete development progress
until the finished product. To learn more about.
(The development people had their office close to my hometown).



That it took one more year until the release is not unusual.
Often you have two or more years lead time. Meanwhile we continued working on the game.
So, there were some improvements and the conversion for more then two players.
At the beginning it looked like getting easily a 3rd and 4th player into the game.
But the existing scoring principle always made problems.
Different versions lead to compicated or too constructed solutions, that got discarded soon.

Finally the game got playable also for four.
As team play (two always play together) it had a different character, was faster and needed some team spirit.
We also made a public prototype presentation at Essen fair (my first one).



Already the contest-prototype hat some special rules and scenarios.
We included some more in the final product and even more on my homepage.
At that moment

The text in german:
http://spiele-aus-timbuktu.de/history.html


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12. Board Game: TohuWabohu [Average Rating:5.97 Overall Rank:7240]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Released by Goldsieber Spiele 1999.

This one was for me really fun when i saw the finished product because my protoype was a very, very simple and ugly one (see below).
A really big difference. But sometimes it already works.
I liked the idea of using the remaining cardboard frames also as material to play with. Quite unusual.
I bet there were some people throwing them away before realising.

I thinks this is the only game of mine for which TV spots were made.
They could be seen deep in the night because of the lower screening costs.
When the game became Family Game of the Year in Denmark they also made TV spots.
For such a small country like Denmark the sellings were incredible good:
around 60.000 copies were sold there.



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13. Board Game: Zock! [Average Rating:6.33 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Punch-Out-Sheet, released by Spiele aus Timbuktu 1999.
Rereleased as "Affenraffen" by Goldsieber Spiele 2001.

This was the start of the Spiele aus Timbuktu Edition series.
A racy memo game for kids.
It was produced on a test printing machine, so i got a reasonable production price although the number of copies was very low.



Right from the beginning on the german online retailer and now out of business "Adam spielt" made the very dedicated distribution.
Thanks again to them!

See also "The Handicraft-Sheets Edition": http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/35686

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14. Board Game: Böse Buben [Average Rating:5.26 Overall Rank:9191]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Schmidt Spiele 2000.

Originally i made the contract with the card game publisher ASS but they got bought bei Schmidt Spiele.
So, it finally got released there.

Unfortunately the graphics are really nasty.
My prototype graphics were fanatsy style and taken from a fantasy illustrator
(dealing with orcs, priests and war pigs).
That got directly "translated" to a childish world with kids, teachers and pigs.
And besides that it was the wrong decision giving an adult game a childish look.
Perhaps resulted by the change of competency at the publisher.

The basic game idea is a little bit inspire by my "Explosiv".
The initial starting idea was the moving sets of cards.
That naturally lead to a kind of race game.
The then added theme of a ritual race offered all the later included details like the special actions and the penalty bench.




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15. Board Game: Mampf [Average Rating:5.73 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Released by Haba 2000.
Rereleased by Amigo Spiele 2006.

The title "Mampf" means something like "munch".

The intial idea of the game was a visual one:
feeding animals by hand. Only the animals that like the chosen kind of food are attracted and come to you.

That was already nearly the gameplay.
And this closeness lead to a convincing game feeling.
You even can learn a little about what kind of food specific animals like or not.

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16. Board Game: Papperlapapp [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Goldsieber Spieler 2000.

This one i personally like very much although it is a simple word-game.

Unfortunately it is just in german and that’s be cause of the diferences how languages work.
In the game you’re looking for pairs of words that can be combined to a single exisitng word.
In other languages often the result would be two words as well in german it is just one word.

This one took a lot of work in choosing the right 120 words.
Nearly all possible combinations had to be ckecked and
that was complicated by the combination rule that allows to add a letter at any place in the new word.


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17. Board Game: Die Tafelrunde [Average Rating:5.85 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Punch-out sheet,released by Spiele aus Timbuktu 2000.
Rereleased by Eurogames 2001.

That one wasn’t hard to balance because of the very chaotic gameplay with quite a lot of luck.
The starting idea was the story with the position element.
Creating all the different card effects was really fun because of the many options. Usually you just make small steps when inventing.
But that felt like a run, a nice alternation :-)

For a big part of the game graphics a friend made the illustrations. Later he did several illutrations for "real" games like f. e. "Industria".

See also "The Handicraft-Sheets Edition": http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/35686

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18. Board Game: Web of Power [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:311]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Board game, Released by Goldsieber Spiele 2000.
Rereleased as "China" by Abacusspiele 2005.

Another thematically start: i was visiting a cistercian cloister near my hometown (Cloister Eberbach,
where some scenes of the movie "Name of the Rose" were made).
The atmospheric story behind the cistercians made me curious and
i wanted to make a game about it.
Like often in the end it was not an exactly translation but the basic story remained.

At that time this one was the closest to my personal idea of a game containing of mechanism which are really inweaved into each other.
Very important for me was also that there are no numbers on the board (just for the counting order of the advisior connections) -
perhaps that was also the trigger for the idea of variable limits of possible advisors.



The other concept behind is still one of my important ones:
games at the upper limit of families respectively at the lower limit of gamers,
and not longer than 60 minutes.
Personally i do like playing games like this,
where you are able to play it very, very fast with experienced players.

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Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Online Game, released by Flatfox 2000.

This one was a remittance work for an online time management start-up company.



It contained of different little games where you have to sort, recognize and solve problems very fastly.
After a long break it was nice working again on a digital game with all the differences and technical options.

I think the owner of the company has changed and the game isn’t online anymore.

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20. Board Game: Crazy Race [Average Rating:5.76 Overall Rank:6991]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Punch-out sheet, released by Spiele aus Timbuktu 2001.
Rereleased by Spiele aus Timbuktu 2002.

The first prototype of that one was a really big board game.
In that version the strongness of the card effects resulted of the specific field of the board you put the card on.
I had to reduce it dramatically when i decided to release it as punch-out sheet.

See also "The Handicraft-Sheets Edition": http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/35686

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21. Board Game: Contra [Average Rating:6.29 Unranked]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Punch-out sheet, released by Spiele aus Timbuktu 2001.
Rereleased as "Architekton" by Queen Games 2005.

My little "Spiele aus Timbuktu"-project (means: Games from Timbuktu) evolved and
it was the first time i released two games at the same time (with "Crazy Race").

Another game with just 2 or 3 rules but some decisions.
Game play can be very different because playing aggresively is just an option.
I prefer doing this instead of making rules that force the players playing in a specific way.
The risk is quite high because poor playing is therefore "officially allowed".
And if you don’t see the options you might miss the game.

See also "The Handicraft-Sheets Edition": http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/35686


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22. Board Game: Isis & Osiris [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:4021]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Board game, released by Goldsieber Spiele 2001.

The story behind is not very unsual.
I remember so many presentations to publishers with having so much fun when playing it.
And being very frustrated when always getting my prototype back later without a positive result.
And i was really sure that "I&O" is a good family game, but no one wanted it.
So, the game idea was really close being not released.

Finally Goldsieber Spiele chose to make it and it became one of my most successful games.
Don’t get me wrong, i don’t think this was a fault of the publisher which choose to decline.
Most of the time game ideas just don’t fit into the actual programm.
Even if they want to do it they don’t have the option at that time.
Or the problem is an expensive calculation of production costs.


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23. Board Game: Don [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2137]
 
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Queen Games 2001.
Released as Segerengeti by Asmodée 2002.
Rereleased as Serengeti by Abacusspiele 2007.

At that time i was experimenting with unique auction mechanisms.
And i think this one became quite unconventional.

The concept is very strong, even dominant and sometimes you loose a bit the lightness.
Bidding clips the mode of money distribution very well.
Maybe the only possibilty to get the rigurous rules set working.


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24. Board Game: Knights [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:6793]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Dice game, released by Abacusspiele 2001.

Of course, the starting idea was to create something like Yahtzee but different.
Personally, i don’t like the static gameplay, the strongly limited possibilities and the missing interaction in Yahtzee.
So, i tried to get these personal points into my development.

In the end it became something quite different.
And surely you can discuss if this is really better than its parent or not.
"Knights" has a lot of funny ideas (perhaps for more than one game)
but it also can vary between 10 and 45 minutes which is a too big difference in duration.

Nevertheless the game seems to have won fans because it still sells.
Not at a very high number of copies but constantly over the years.

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25. Board Game: Draco & Co [Average Rating:5.51 Overall Rank:8785]
Michael Schacht
Germany
Frankfurt
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Card game, released by Jeux Decartes/Eurogames 2001.
A remake of "Die Tafelrunde".

Bruno Faidutti wrote me an email with several ideas for "die Tafelrunde".
He was so enthusiastic and engaged that i just had to invite him for working together on a remake.
He had a contact to Eurogames who were interested but the game had to be also for more than 4 players.
So, we started to rework this one by email.

Because all the cards were text-based we had a lot of translation work (three language versions for the tests).
The redesign brought a lot of nice ideas:
a bunch of new card effects, characters and the clever goblet-idea by Bruno into the game.
The cowork was a pleasure because Bruno also likes to work fast and concentrated on a project.
It is nice because you can watch the work growing.
Bruno also made the contact to the artist he already knew from projects like "Citadel".

The game finally was released in three languages.
So, then it became useful to have all card textes in the three languages ...

A lot more infos about development:
http://www.faidutti.com/index.php?Module=mesjeux&id=330&fich...

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