My first game. Published as "Wucherer" by myself. I misunderstood the rules für Römer (Rudolf Ross) and did think this was a game mainly about using two sides of cards. So I thought where it is possible to use cardsboth sides and came up with the idea to build houses with the back of the cards and use the front for all other stuff. If was inveted as a gift for friends of mine.
After I did Wucherer, which was a big success, I thought about a game where aliens grab all the persons on a G7 meeting and seperating them between each other. I wanted to produce it by myself in 1993, but the game stuck. I met Wolfgang Panning and he had so many good ideas on that game, that we decided to work together on the project. So I did only the Wucherer Expansion in 1993.
In 1994 I just wanted to make a big production with good material in a "real" box and I had this game about counterfeit money, an economical, where my idea was, to make a game with different currencies. So I thought it was a good idea to work with counterfeit money and eleminating more an more money from the game.
The game production was a mess. I just wanted to may a game looking like other game companies games without any knowledge how to manage this.
We got in a time problem to produce the game for Essen 94, so I had to decide what to do and I decided that the box will be the last thing to work on it and we had about 15 minutes left wo make box. And here it is.
I was thinking of trick tacking games that time (and a lot of other authors did this in the year, too). I was abstracting game structure and got the idea to skip out one player each turn. With this structure I thought the game would be better with more players, because you play it thinking in structure with one person less. One idea and the game was there. I was really conviced that this will be a great success, because all my gametesters loved it, but it was the year of Sticheln and Foppen is not as good as Sticheln.
After Foppen I was disappointed, about not having the success I wanted to have. And I decided to make this game in a smaller edition, because there were so many copies of Falsche FuFFziger and Foppen left.
The idea came up as I drove with my bike through my city and stood in front of a building, where my used shortcut was and there was the idea of building a city and the connections got worse with each building built.
It was the time of CCGs and I was not happy about the fact, that all complex card games came up as a CCG. If you want to try some kind of game you have to spend at least 100 Marks not to know if it is your cup of tea. I thought how to get rid of this problem and made a game where up to 4 players can play the game to test it for a low price and then if they like it buy more cards for this game. Of course I want to get rich with this, too. And like often theory and reality are different. The players hating CCGs didn´t like the collecting aspect and for the players of CCGs the games has had not enough cards and they are not the right customers for economical games.
I heard that Papua had a problems because it is a game about cannibalism and I thought "no that is not a game about cannibalism", there must be another solution for that theme. But I didn´t want to make a fast little filler where you eat up each other. Then there was the idea of crashing with an airplane in a desert with not enough to eat and for me, to see the fine dilemma in this situation.
In this year I wanted to make Finstere Flure but I was not happy with this in that moment, but the Essen fair was near to be again. So I look in my big box of old not yet ready ideas and I found this old game. I tested it again and yes I wanted to make this. I was an old idea of making a quick puzzling game and I decided to make this cheapass like production.
Always loving crayon game where to build tracks for railways, I was thinking about a crayoning game which is not set in the world of railbuilding. The idea of using powerlines was near and the fact that you have one good (power) which can be produced with different resources was another good idea. Still having a lot of Foppen and Falsche FuFFziger left, I was not ready to produce this in a big production,so I decided to make this not so well production again, which was still possible for me to produce.
In 2001 my multimedia company crashed as so many multimedia companies did. I stood there having almost nothing and wanted to make Fische Fluppen Frikadellen again as a small production like FrischFisch, just to get my production money back quick. But friends of mine convinced me to make a professional production and to risk it. With my knowledge in producing game by now, it was a better production as Falsche FuFFziger was and the game was the game made it possible to earn enough money with my game company for living.
The idea for Fische Fluppen Frikadellen was to make a game played on more than on table and changing gamers between the tables. I had to think about how to make this idea possible, because if you leave a table you must have a relevant game material which yourself and leave nothing left on the board where you leave. There were two ideas: 1.To be an adventurer exploring the world 2.to be a trader So I found the better game for the second idea and worked on that and lucky me it was a success.
Fundstücke was the main part a mechanical idea, that you choose a card and the higher the card, the more you get, but the lower the card the earlier you can pick. So it has to be a game where you have a pool of material of different worth and the players have to decide to get a few very good things or a lot not so good things. Then the theme came up where there is trash on the street and you are the fastest person if you only go there but you can´t carry many things, if you organize a car or whatever you are slower and get only what is left. Taking the risk with Fische Fluppen Frikadellen there was no money left to produce Fundstücke in a big production and Maren Rache asked me to produce this game the way it is produced now with only 130 copies.
The idea of Finstere Flure was very old. It was a gift for a friend of mine (He has the first prototype). It was a game about being on a dancefloor and wanting to reach the bar, but in the middle of the dancefloor my friend is waiting to pogo with everone he will see. So you have to avoid him to get to the bar. As working again on this game the idea with the letters around the board was born and now the game was ready.
There were the idea of working on a game about games just for geeks. I talked about the idea with andrea and as she is a geek, too, she wanted to make this game with me. While working on it other geeks joined the project and we worked in some kind of strange combination on it. Never had contact to some of the other authors while inventing the game and not played all of the rules that are in the game. Because it is for geeks we wanted to make a small production and I had to design all the cards, because there were these old not very well used graphics. Maura did these tiny little gaming pieces interacting with each each other for a gaming cafe in bremen and I was allowed to use them.
I don´t know when but years ago I visited Andrea with the aim: Today we invent a game together. We discussed what kind of games we like and agreed that we both wanted to make a deduction game. And after a few hours we had a deduction game. We worked a while on that game and sent it to a company. Years later I got back the prototype, that they didn´t want to publish it. I just had forgotten these project and looked at it again and found out, that this game is much better when you are not allowed to write down notices and tested it again. Telling this Andrea we were searching for a good theme and we found out this theme that really works well with the game.
Funkenschlag was sold out and a lot of people were interested in a reprint. For me it was after Fische Fluppen Frikadellen totally clear: I don´t want to make these poor productions any more. Then there came up another game company interested in that game, but they didn´t like the crayonig aspect. The problem was that this was the main aspect in inventing the game. But after a short time I decided to think about cutting out the crayons and it worked very well. The game was too long so I had to work on the game length and it worked. At this point the contact to rio grande already existed and it was clear that they wanted to do an US-Version. So I decided to make it in my company together with rio grande and it was a good idea.
Marcel already told a lot about this in his geeklist. Yes we drank a lot of belgium beer in France and discussed with spanish girl about the strange connection between eight and night in different languages. We both agreed to build up a good time travelling game and we drank more beer and found out a very cool theme: the real life.
After testing a lot and throwing away the time travel aspect, we put a lot of our own experiences in that game. I won´t tell which cards are connected to whom. Yes it was a lot of fun to invent this game, especially all the cards.
There are a lot of customers in France and Italy and I was asked for a special edition for these both countries, so I worked on these boards. I found out that nucelar power in france is very important and of course Paris has to get an important role in the game. For Italy there is the contrast between the north and the south very important and that do not have so many resources. Later the expansions was already published I found out that Italy is the only country in the world that closed all their nuclear power plants (4). May be I think on a rule for that one day.
In 2004 we had the idea for a game authors contest with pieces found in the Hobby Lobby Columbus Ohio at the gathering of friends. Ok I had the pieces, went to a cafe thinking what to do. I remembered an old idea of working with if/then aspects in a game and wanted to make a game with very few information creating a high complex situation and if/then combination will help. So I had an abstract game with flowerpots, milkbottles, jars and other fine hobby lobby stuff. In 2005 I was second on the contest and decided to make this game. But there was no theme. Im germay again I discussed theme with my girlfriend and she came up with the idea of trading glass stone with natives,as a joke and there was the theme.
In 2005 Funny friends was just published, Fiji already there, I played a fantasy game and where you have to kill monsters. And these monster came up as often in random. So there are very powerful monsters in the beginning, you´re not able to fight them and later the lower monster come up and are much to easy to fight. And you have to fight a lot of stupid fights to get the values to kill the boss.
The idea was to create a dungeon crawler where the monsters begin low and getting higher as the players getting better. It was a lot of work to have the monsters not to grow too fast and on the other side not having to much monster too low. It is a high complex system where the board influences these small window where you can fight the monsters and also the spells doing it.
For me it was very interesting to get a game where you start with not so important descions and where the choices getting harder as you play the game up to the end where you have to find out, if your plans worked well and you have enough spells and power chips left and enough wisdom to win the game.
In 2005 I worked on this little card game. I wanted to have a game with the dilemma, that you can push your cards by giving some away and not having many left for a good scoring. I wanted to have this game as a timing game. You have to find the right time where to push your group, not having it in the wrong time as #1, because at #1 you can only fall and music business is a good theme for that.
In looking back on this game and formidable foes I found out that they both seems similar to me. You start with not so important moves, looking for the right moment to push your things forward and in the end all is getting more and more important and the choices are getting harder.
After playing both games a lot, the moment where you think the choices are getting harder is coming up more early in the game.
Marcel already posted some informations in his list.
We were in nuremberg at the fair and met in a small cafe. Andrea and Marcel wanted to invent a game and I was sitting thers as innocent bystander. But as the discussion went on I was integrated and later on we had the game. I was very surprised how this really works. When I tell people about the game, they are not really convinced, but after playing it they normally love it.
Again a power grid expansion. Lacerta wanted to make an own version of Powergrid. In Benuelux, Czech republic and Austria the game is doing well. For Lacerta I needed a map with Poland, so I decided to make another expansion. I found out the Poland is full of coal and they don´t have any nuclear power plants. In Austria especially Vienna is burning a lot of garbage and they don´t have nuclear power plants either. Benelux has a lot of gas and not so much coal. So I had to change a lot more than in the first expansion. As I made the board for Benelux I found out that this map is very cheap, because they don´t have any high mountains there, so I had to change the speed of the power plant market.
We are organizing a meeting for game designers each year in march in Weilburg, Hessen. I was doing a workshop about game mechanisms. In the evening we started a spontanous workshop on a special mechanism: "auctions". In our discussion the question came up, if it has to be known what is to be auctioned or not or if the information about the auctioned goods can change in the auction. I came up with the mechanism which is in the center of Filou and as I told the other my thoughts, I realised that this should be a good game doing this. I went home and built up my first prototype and it was totally clear that this will be a good game. As trying out some changes, I felt that this game is like buying a used car or a cat in a sack (very well known phrase in germany), so it happens that we are buying cats in sacks.