Mr. Jack X Bruno Cathala BGG GeekList Interview
gregory duff
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Hi, Bruno!....I am a big fan of the Mr. Jack Extension....I just received it in the mail ripe from ESSEN today from Funagain.com....Here are ten questions that I have about the new way to play Mr. Jack, if you have the time!!!

Hi Greg !
impossible for me not to answer our best fan !!!
it's really a pleasure
...


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1. Board Game: The Way to Play [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
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Why the Extension? Who's idea was it? How did it come about?

At first, when we designed the game, we took so much time to work on the 8 first characters (abilities had to be useful, interesting, not breaking the game, etc..) that we never imagined creating an expansion.
And time goes on... and after I have played more than 600 games of the standard game, and Ludo more than 200, our experience of the game gave us the wish to have new way to play. And we began to think about new characters. It was clearly not scheduled since the beginning !
 
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2. Board Game: Amigos [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
 
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How were Ludo and Piero involved?

Ludo and I have worked together on the characters. A lot of phone discussions (we don't live in the same town...) and then a lot of testing.
Piero came at the end, "only" to give life to our characters. But you know that his work is fundamental to the success of the game.
 
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3. Board Game: Intrigue [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:1803]
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The initial start of the game is different than Mr. Jack's set-up....very intriguing....you still use Holmes, Bert, Lestrade, and Smith as the basic standard four characters, then the five new characters are added into the mix....when eight characters are chosen, each player alternates choosing where to place their characters at any position on the board....this is serious tactical strategy in itself!!!!......
Why choose this way as opposed to a ruled set-up?

Standard rules are made for people discovering the game. As a beginner, you have so many things to think about, when trying to flee as Jack, or trying to catch Jack while playing as the inspector, that it wouldn't have been a good idea to have free placement for characters. So we have chosen, for the standard game, an initial placement giving an equilibrium to each player, with only the big danger of Stealthy being able to flee on the second round if the Inspector doesn't be careful.... just to give tension from the first round.
Here, things are different. Players buying the Expansion are experienced players. And it was really important to give them new tactical possibilities, and not just new abilities for characters.
I'm really happy with this new way to set up the game. It's now possible for Jack to be very aggressive right at the beginning of the game.
 
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4. Board Game: Chez Geek [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:5620]
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We know Spring-heeled Man was created by Steve McKeogh and Abberline was created by Arnaud Fillon for the Hurrican BGG Contest. We also know that Piero drew their likeness into those character's features!!!!!



Spring Heeled Jack is a character from English folklore said to have existed during the Victorian era and able to jump extraordinarily high.
Spring Heeled Jack was described by people claiming to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy that included clawed hands and eyes that "resembled red balls of fire". One report claimed that, beneath a black cloak, he wore a helmet and a tight-fitting white garment like an "oilskin". Spring Heeled Jack was said to be tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman, and capable of making great leaps.




Frederick George Abberline was an inspector for the London Metropolitan Police and was a prominent police figure in the investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders. Abberline was assigned to Whitechapel due to his extensive experience in the area. He was placed in charge of the various detectives investigating the Ripper murders.
 
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5. Board Game: The Great Victorian Cycle Race [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
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How were Madame, Joseph Lane, & John Pizer chosen as names and how were the powers of each chosen to match their characters?

We were looking for characters being in accordance with the Victorian Period. A first look on the Internet revealed the existence of John Pizer, who was accused in the story. People had to be afraid of him.
You will understand if you find pictures on the net.He was the butcher of Whitechapel.
John Lane was one of the first activists for the socialist movement. His power was evident: barricades for contestation !!
And for Madame.. we wanted a new woman in the game... and... we have it !! She wears nice clothes.. so no possibilities to enter the sewer network !! So she had to move very far on the surface.



John Pizer was better known as Leather Apron. He was a boot finisher by trade. He is 5ft 4" inches in height and wears a dark close fitting cap, he is thickset and has an unusually thick neck, his hair is black and closely clipped, he is aged between 38 to 40 and has a small black moustache. His expression is said to be sinister, his eyes small and glittering, his lips are usually parted in a grin, which is not only unreassuring, but is excessively repellent. He always carries a knife and gets his nickname from a leather apron he always wore.



Joseph Lane was one of the little-known founders of the libertarian socialist movement in Britain. He acquired a printing press to produce his own literature, and later recalled that he "used in my room to write leaflets, then set them up, and went out and distributed them and pasted them up in the streets," organizng a "paste pot brigade to stick bills all over the district.



Foxy
Foxy
You know you're a cute little heartbreaker
Foxy
You know youre a sweet little lovemaker
Foxy
I wanna take you home
I won't do you no harm, no
You've got to be all mine, all mine
Ooh, foxy lady



 
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6. Board Game: The Favorite [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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My favorite new character is John Pizer....he is one scary dude. His power is almost the opposite of Sgt. Goodley.....He literally causes characters to flee three spaces to get away from him.
What is your favorite?...Ludo's favorite, and Piero's favorite?

My favorite is Spring-heeled Man because I was so surprised to find this Victorian legend with a character jumping above buildings..
Ludo's favorite one is John Lane. It's his idea.
And Piero's favorite should be Madame... this guy loves nice women....
 
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7. Board Game: Mr. Jack Extension [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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The new Extension dramatically deepens the tactics, strategy, choices, bluffing, and maneuverability of the characters....and rolling the Coach Expansion in the midst.....totally mind-blowing!!!!!!!!!
Which game do you prefer....Mr. Jack, Mr. Jack Extension, The Coach Expansion.....or all three at once?

Frankly speaking, I don't like to play now with the Coach Expansion, which creates by itself a lot af small things and exceptions for FAQs...
But now I can't imagine playing without the new characters and the new set up of the Mr. Jack Extension.
 
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8. Board Game: Wo ist Jack the Ripper [Average Rating:4.16 Unranked]
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After playing several games of the Extension, I noticed that Jack may have more of a chance to escape, what with Madam going six spaces, John Pizer inducing a character to flee three spaces nearer an exit or even escape(who could be Jack), Abberline nullifying a character he is beside (even Ms. Stealthy to one move), Joseph Lane able to erect a barricade late in the game to protect Jack from being caught, and Spring-Heeled man jumping over buildings, gas lamps, and other characters.
What are your thoughts on this? Any statistics to see whether Jack or the Inspector have an advantage?

After having played a lot of games, we know that with standard rules, Jack wins in "only" 41% of the game. We assume this slight unbalance. But we wanted to give him a new possibility with new characters.
It's difficult to know if statistics will finally really be ameliorative. We will see in the future with online adaptation on biludi !
 
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9. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Switzerland [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
 
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The great game Ticket To Ride has beget several expansions...one being the fun Ticket To Ride Switzerland expansion....
Mr. Jack has spawned two more expansions/extensions....are there any more on the horizon?

At this time nothing is planned but...
With Ludo we just had a very nice idea for a new expansion. Something... surprising !! But it's too early to speak about that: first, it would depend on the success of the first expansion.. and.. maybe tests will show that our great idea is... not so great !!! ))
 
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10. Board Game: This Vs That [Average Rating:5.02 Overall Rank:13652]
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The game is called Mr. Jack Extension.....why is it called that and not Mr. Jack Expansion?

As you know.. we are French (and Swiss)... and sometime, our English is quite approximate. We really thought it should be named "extension"... sorry !!
 
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11. Board Game: Top Secret [Average Rating:4.60 Unranked]
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What intriguing new games do you have in development in the near future?

I have several projects for 2008:
> Alone as designer: 1 small and fast card game in the family of Uno or 6 nimmt!
> With Serge Laget: 1 diplomacy game in medieval Japan, to be published by Asmodee. 3 to 6 players, 60 to 75 minutes.
> With Ludovic Maublanc: 1 development game in ancient Greece. It's not signed, but one publisher seems to be VERY interested.. 2 to 5 players, about 60 minutes
> And some other projects waiting for.... someone to publish them !!



Thanks for your time, Bruno.....Mr. Jack has gone from 104 to 68 and lower on BGG Top-Rated games...I predict Mr. Jack will break the top 50, and the Mr. Jack Extension (when more people are able to purchase it) will break into the top 100 easily!!!!

I hope you're right !!
Thank you one more time.
Friendly
Bruno
 
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