Game Designer Lockdown

About my work in these days of the lockdown.
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Ticket to TransAmerica ?!

Friedemann Friese
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Board Game Designer
Board Game Publisher
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First of all: I played my rail game last night and it is still a good one. I had some problems to memorize it right and I just looked at the files and the oldest file is from 14th October 2008, means this game is almost 12 years old. It is still at one publisher and I know the developer really wants it to be published and cannot convince the company to finally doing it. By now I think it is good idea to publish this as my next 2F-spiele game.

I remember showing it to (and playing with) Alan Moon to get an opinion if this is to close to Ticket to Ride and he claimed that he sees it more close to TransAmerica than to Ticket to Ride. Whatever it is, it is fun and one of my test players said: Yes it looks like Ticket to Ride and it has some remembrances to TransAmerica, but this one is better. Ok this is an even better reason to work on it. By now this game is 12 years old and I played it last time before in 2014. Some more tests, but I still think it is almost done. [It should because I gave it to another company.] And why not try to benefit from my archives.

Larry asked yesterday for the weight of Faiyum, but I cannot tell. This so much a theoretic value for me and not a value of quality to me. Has Power Grid a high weight because it is strategic or does it is even lower because there are not so many ways to victory, not so many different ways to score, not so many different options to choose, I cannot tell.

Yesterday I played Tapestry (spoiler-> two times: the first and the last time) and this game has such an easy structure: advance on one chart or get income. After 5 times income you are done. What does this mean for the weight. On the other hand there are so many things in this game. Which chart to advance on, which tech card to get, where to expand on the board, how to build up your capital. BGG says it has a weight 2.86/5 (Power Grid has 3.27). I still do not understand this concept. What does weight really measure.

But this is my main problem: There is almost no data to tell me if a game is good for me or not. BGG Top 50??? Most of my favorite games are not in this list. Hotness?? Only to tell that Tapestry is now on the previous owned pile. I never used weight.

On the other hand there are other things that might matter.
- Name of the Author can lead to : "interested" or "try to avoid"
- Company: Is an argument, because I normally know the developers of the companies and can tell how I like their work.
- Kickstarter: Mostly a reason to avoid a game

But my main argument is (and normally I can only tell after playing the game): If counting and calculating for VPs is more important than playing the game (theme or mechanism), this is almost everytime a reason for not liking the game.

Back to Larry. Yes Larry I know you for so many years now and luckily for you the weight of a game is a good measurement for you to like a game. [I really would like to have a similar guideline, that would lead to play better games and even sometimes would stop me wasting so much time on bad games. Luckily Tapestry was not waste of time, it still was very interesting to play this game, I even won and I can try to understand why so many people adore this game. And it is so easy to learn and to explain.]

But Larry to be short: Yes I think Faiyum is a game you will like!

Back to Tapestry:

The most interesting aspect on the "product" for me as a publisher and author was the one sheet "Anpassung der Zivilisationen". This is a sheet for every single civilization in the game to make it more balanced. This means you get a game of asymmetric civilizations and in the box itself there is already an errata to balance the civs, but even more interesting I went to the website and got version 1.2 for even better balance.

To be honest I started game design in 1992 and an errata was always a horrible thing to do (and I had to do it many times), but this feels like: It's not a bug, it a feature. You can download your newest errata (=patch) every time you play the game. Sorry but for my it feels like the game was not finished in the moment of publishing and the gamers are used as developers to make the game better. Maybe I'm old and do not see the benefit of this, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth.
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