First, I want to say just how grateful and honored I am to be chosen as BGG’s Geek of the Week
! I have had the pleasure of interacting with Nadgamgee through BGG quite a bit over the past year and I am delighted that Nad would choose me as successor! Nad has the happiest avatar I have ever seen on BGG and is a bright light in my day, a true asset to BGG. I always find myself smiling after reading Nad’s postings, especially funny Geeklists like the Hobbit Birthday Virtual Mathom Giveway
. Thank you, Nadgamgee!
As you might guess, I am indeed a Board Game Geek. Boardgames have brought fascination--and consolation--to me from a very early age. Candyland
, as I recall, rocked my early 1970s post-toddler Head Start world with fierce abandon. I also recall that my neck-hairs would stand on end when playing Which Witch?
because of how they combined suspense, strange pieces, and risky (or violent!) consequences. (Considering that I was four, at a foster home at the time, and the host family's own twelve-year-old had "smother the foster kid with a pillow" as his own favorite game, such examples of chaotic, upsetting consequences for no good reason in such luck-based board games surely provided valuable life lessons. My mother was recovering from a surgery at the time.)
During the horrors of early 1980s junior high school, fantasy role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons
and Tunnels & Trolls
were a safe-haven for me (my friends, thankfully, were fantastic DMs capable of conjuring worlds far preferable to the actual one I found myself in at the time). I became enthralled by Milton Bradley's electronic board game Dark Tower
and in ninth grade I programmed a version of it into the high school mainframe computer (I used little monochrome ASCII characters to represent each player, the Tombs, Ruins, the Bazaar, etc.). It worked surprisingly well, and I think that the pleasure I found in "reverse-engineering" Dark Tower for the computer anticipated much of my love for games to come, as well as my wanting to make games of my own.
Except for an occasional session of the fantasy game Talisman
--which I mostly played to enjoy an "rpg-lite"--I actually didn't play many more boardgames again until around the year 2000. I was spending a lot of time all by myself playing computer games--and my girlfriend (now my wife) wanted me to play games with her instead. We did some research and stumbled on The Settlers of Catan
, which proved a potent gateway drug into the brave new world (well, new to us) of Eurogames. Once we introduced Catan to our friends, Saturday nights quickly became a regular and much-anticipated "game night" event, which has continued now for over ten years. (Though, alas, with much less regularity. I loathe this thing called "growing up" and resist it to my best ability.)
Playing such engaging Eurogames eventually inspired me to start designing games of my own. I've been designing games since 2001, and over the years five of my designs (The Vapors of Delphi, Ziggurat, Bridge Troll, Mont Saint Michel, and TEMBO) have become end-round finalists at the annual Hippodice board game design competition in Bochum, Germany. (I actually have a title that I entered into this year’s competition as well.) More recently, three of my designs (two of them former finalists at Hippodice) have been published: Bridge Troll, Trollhalla, and The Road to Canterbury.
I just signed a contract for my newest game, FANTASTIQA
, which will be published by Gryphon Games
later this year. I can’t reveal too many details yet, but I will say that if the recent movie Hugo
is a love letter to cinema, FANTASTIQA
is a love song to everything I adore about fantastic landscapes and Euro-style game mechanics. I’m more proud of it than anything else I’ve designed so far. Please look out for a Kickstarter promotion this summer!
I will shut up now and leave room for questions. If you want to know more about me, please check out my newly revised website (the old version looked like it was designed by a drunk 12-year old in 1995, so the overhaul is a good thing). My new site has information about my games, my job (I am a Professor of English at the University of Utah), the Board Game Designers Guild of Utah (http://bgdg.info
), and the songs I write (including one about The Hobbit
). If you're interested, please visit my website at http://www.alfseegert.com
I should also mention that I'm very excited for the SaltCon
game convention, coming up very soon (February 17-18) in Salt Lake City! http://www.saltcon.comI am hugely grateful for all that BGG has brought to my life.
Some of the most "present" people in my life are BGGers I have never met in the flesh. I appreciate this opportunity to share a bit about myself with the BGG community--thank you!Oh, and here is a picture of me playing The Road to Canterbury with my friend Bruno the Bear.