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Designer Diary: Grill Party – Let's Grill, Everybody!

Gregorio Morales
Spain
Alicante
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So we made it! Grill Party will be published by KOSMOS in 2012. How did it all began?

Jordi Gené and I started to design games some years ago, founding a creative partnership called Piu Con Jocs. We sent our games to a couple of design contests. And then, by chance, we happened to meet Stefan Stadler (co-designer of Cuba and The Pillars of the Earth and an editor at Kosmos Verlag) at the Festival de Juegos de Córdoba 2008. He and his design partner Michael Rieneck tested two of our games. They liked them, and we were really excited!!

After a year of testing and very good feedback, we got our first two refusals. What a slump! Amongst the reasons: The games were too strategical, too heavy.

Lesson learned, we now check the games in each catalogue and pitch the correct games to the correct publisher – at least we try!

So when Spiel 2010 was on the horizon, we had to decide which game to show to Stefan again? Take That Landscape was one of our candidates; they tried the game in Essen, liked it, and forty days later sent us greeeaaat news: confirmation from Kosmos that our game would be published by them and presented at the Nürnberg Toy Fair in 2012. Wow! Yeah! We made it!! Much champagne ran that night...

Hmmm, wait – Take That Landscape? What are we talking about? Well, barbecuing was not the game's theme when we first thought of the design – come to think of it, landscapes weren't the theme either. Let's go back to April 2010....

Jordi had the first idea: cards with conditions and tokens in the middle of the table. We used Fiji jewels for components, and I made the cards with conditions like "Same number of rubies and emeralds". All the players would have some jewels in hand, and some jewels would remain in the center of the table. You could exchange jewels from your hand with jewels on the table, then play cards that match the conditions on the table, with the first player to run out of cards winning. Testings were good, so we developed the game further with the funny name of "Tiger and Crocodile".

Many tests and many changes after that we had our game – finished! (Heh, well, we thought so.) The game then was Take That Landscape, with the players being photographers who were trying to finish a book of landscape shots. They have to take twenty photographs of landscapes, but they are tricky and through clever composition (wink, wink) can add a lake to a shot or clear out a tree.

All in all, we had a fast light game with few components but quite a few strategic decisions for players to make, so we pitched the game to Kosmos and received the publishing confirmation. Then the communications really started and so did the polishing!

Second lesson learned: Themes can change, and rules can be tweaked – and we are very glad we took an active part in the changes.

The grill with fish, corn, steak and wurst – yummy!

The theme changed to the definitive grilling thing and the name changed to Grill Party, and some changes in the rules have made it more strategical. That's pretty much the story. We are really looking forward to seeing it in our hands – and in yours. We hope you like it!

Gregorio Morales

No steaks – score!
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