I remember this moment very vividly - Przemysław is sitting in my office, it's 2018, a few weeks before the Detective release. The game is already printed and will soon debut.
'I want you to write me a spy thriller. Cold War era, players taking the role of CIA agents sent to Europe and dealing with some epic KGB operation. Would you be interested?'
At that moment, we were after the first demos of Detective at various conventions, and I was pretty confident we have something exceptional here. I knew we would need a follow-up. Changing the role of detectives into spies sounded really cool. New theme, new challenges, different angle and mechanisms.
Przemysław Rymer, the writer of the plot, was in heaven. He is a long-time fan of all those books by Frederick Forsyth, Ken Follet, and Tom Clancy. I guess I should also mention his fascination with the political history of Europe. He can quote books by Suworow or le Carre on the fly. He was born ready for this task.
He started building a plot. Based on real Soviet agendas and goals, set in real places and involving historical figures. He was the right man to create the most immersive spy-themed thriller the tabletop industry ever saw. Trust me, he took it seriously.
I got the script a few months later. It was around 30 pages long. I was reading it, and it was - believe it or not - sitting on Google at the same time checking the facts and names because the mix between the fictional story and real events and characters was just insane. It was a perfect immersive blend that took me to Europe in 70 in the middle of a secret Soviet operation.
I green-lighted it without any single comment. 'I love it,' I just said, and we were able to move to the next stage. Make a game around it.
It took us months to write the Vienna Connection. Intense, immersive spy-themed thriller as nothing before seen in the hobby. I read a dozen books about the Cold War era and got into it deeply. The year 2020 was, for me, the Cold War-era year. Books, comic books, movies, TV shows, even podcasts! I consumed it all. I even began to run RPG games with my friends set in Berlin of that period. It was crazy.
I have a fantastic job. I work with super talented people and create games I always dreamed of. Vienna Connection is on pre-order now, and if you ever wanted to play as a CIA agent in operations against the Soviets, you must play it. I said it. You must play it. It's great.
And Przemysław? A few months ago, at the beginning of 2020, I invited him to my office again. I asked him to write me another story. And, yes, he smiled again...
Link to Vienna Connection pre-order page: https://portalgames.pl/en/vienna-connection/
Link to Portalcon with new titles announcement: https://portalcon.pl/en
My vlog: https://www.youtube.com/c/PortalGamesStudio/videos
You can follow me on Twitter at @trzewik. This is BGG copy of my blog BoardgamesThatTellStories.com
15 Jan 2021
- [+] Dice rolls