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Subject: BGG Wargame Designer of the Month: Andrea Angiolino rss

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Andrea Angiolino
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Part 2

Ewan Hoosami wrote:
For all those buddying game designers out there, are you able to give us any insight into how the Andrea Angiolino design process works? How or where do you get your inspiration for new ideas?

Sometimes games are also developed as stories, to tell something. Ulysses is a game about the Odissey and also, at the same time, a metaphor of man as a plaything in the hands of fate, destiny, chaos or how do you want to call it.

Obscura Tempora, a game where everybody developes his villages and abbey and at the same time pillages and destroys his neightbours' ones, is a game of man's cruelty against men, even in the direst moments when solidarity could be a better way to cope with events. So much that there is even a short story about that in the introduction of the rulebook.
This game has a story that portrays how it was to be a game designer in Italy when I started. Back in 1991 I tought that it could be a good idea to briong an easy card game with a lot of chrome to the country of Scopa and Tressette. There were none around, just a few imported and untraslated great jewels as Grass and Family Business. So I did this Middle Ages card games that could also be publòioshed as a fantasy game - just replacing pirates with orcs, abbeys with magic towers and bishops with wizards.
In 1992, Devil's Den decided to publish it. The goal was 1.000 or 1.500 copies. To decide how many, the two main Italian distributors were checked. They gave the same answer: "You are crazy, a medieval/fantasy card game will never sell a single copy since people enjoying that kind of setting loves RPGs and will never, never buy a card game." With no distribution, Devils Den cancelled the project. Next year, Magic: The Gathering appeared and the two same distributors fiercely fought over the rights. The one who won sold 160.000 base decks in the first year in our country, invalidating his own prophecy. I am still convinced that at least 1% of Magic's buyers would have bought our little Obscura Tempora if it was printed, giving us the little success we aimed to.

I must also quote another source of "inspiration": honest designer work. I design many games on commission by publishers, public companies, private corporations needing gadgets or training devices, and so on:

Promotional games - the job of game designer

In this case, it's a job. I start from a briefing about target, theme, message, goal, limits on materials or budget. Then, I hurry up to meet deadline. Pure inspiration is out of question, but decent or even nice games can be designed anyway.

By the way, since we are in a wargame thread, one of these promotional games is a real hex-grid boardgame that I designed together with my friend Gregory Alegi, a famed and talented aviation historian. It is called La Squadriglia degli Assi and it has been deigned for the Italian Air Force Ministry, who published it as a gift for the readers of its magazine. Dario Calì's drawing for the map has been later recycled as the background for Wings of War cards.



Other notes on how specific games of mine were invented:

The origins of my games (Andrea Angiolino)

And if you want to see how they started as prototypes and then became games:

Game perspectives - My games and prototypes
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Mayor Jim
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Congratulations Andrea!...a well deserved award thumbsupmeeple
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Jonas Emmett
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angiolillo wrote:
from air war to car rallies
My wallet is ready…
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Andrea Angiolino
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Alas I doubt that it will ever become a reality. There are several ideas for further games based on such a mechanic, but the existing lines are quite demanding and next project already pretty bulky - no sports game for a while, I'm sure.
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Andrea Angiolino
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Yesterday Roberto Di Meglio, CEO of Ares Games, published on Facebook a couple of pictures of his Wings of Glory: Tripods & Triplanes playtesting with the print samples of the actual tripods that will be released:

https://www.facebook.com/rdmeglio/posts/10211674366844906



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Bartow Riggs
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Wings-of-War is a tight and easy to play design. But I have to admit I use your mini's in every game I have about WWI in the air. From "Richtofen's War" to "Flying Circus", to "Dawn Patrol" to "Wings." Congratz Andrea.

I call this one, "I see you."

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Andrea Angiolino
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Thanks for the photo!
I loved Wings a lot, both for being so complete (50 planes from all fronts, not just the classical West front mix) and for the possibility of the mass game. Covering special scenarios with everything, from balloons to ships to the great 5-hexes Zeppelin counter, is another great bonus. It's a pity that the second set with 50 more planes never came to light, as far as I know. But Wings is definitely one of the big roots from where my game sprouted.

My miniatures have been borrowed for quite a lot of games...



...and not only games actually:



So merry Xmas everybody!



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The pilots of the next WW1 Wings of Glory serie have been published on the WOG Aerodrome.
Is there a reason for choosing only new pilots for 2 planes (Albatros D.III - RAF RE8) and one reprint for the 2 others (Nungesser Nieuport 17 - Luftfahrtrupen 1 UFAG C.I) ?
Why no RFC Albert Ball for a Nieuport 17 (that is one of the most iconic English pilot for this plane, who had already a card plane at the Wings of War era), even if there will be three ENGLISH RE8 ?
Thank you for this great game.
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Andrea Angiolino
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You welcome!
The choice of planes in each release has a mix of game, marketing and historical considerations. For game reasons, weapon variants and colorful schemes that can be easily distinguished from each other are often preferred. The R.E.8 in the mix are by the way from 52 Squadron that often used twin machineguns, and from 30 Squadron that added a recoilles 1.57" Davis gun to one of its planes, shooting 45° downward for ground attacks. Special cards are included for both.
With Nieuport 17, A-firing ones were mostly preferred for balance reasons. With 16/17 fighter planes already with British colors against 7/8 with French ones and 6 Italians, and with 7 US fighter pilots available (including the Macchi with Italian cockades from the US Squadron on the Adriatic), a mix of a French, a US/French and an Italian plane were chosen with such iconic planes as a Lafayette escadrille one with Lufbery, Baracca's one where Ferrari's prancing horse first appeared ever and Ningesser's. Ball is a great subject too, and could be used in future reprints. But for a reason or the other, the planes proposed are iconic too and a good match for twin-machinegun German fighters on the Western front and single-machinegun Aviatik and Albatros D.II on the Italian one.
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Ken
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angiolillo wrote:
You welcome!
The choice of planes in each release has a mix of game, marketing and historical considerations. For game reasons, weapon variants and colorful schemes that can be easily distinguished from each other are often preferred. The R.E.8 in the mix are by the way from 52 Squadron that often used twin machineguns, and from 30 Squadron that added a recoilles 1.57" Davis gun to one of its planes, shooting 45° downward for ground attacks. Special cards are included for both.
With Nieuport 17, A-firing ones were mostly preferred for balance reasons. With 16/17 fighter planes already with British colors against 7/8 with French ones and 5 Italians, and with 7 US fighter pilots available (including the Macchi with Italian cockades from the US Squadron on the Adriatic), a mix of a French, a US/French and an Italian plane were chosen with such iconic planes as a Lafayette escadrille one with Lufbery, Baracca's one where Ferrari's prancing horse firt appeared ever and Guynemer's. Ball is a great subject too, and could be used in future reprints. But for a reason or the other, the planes proposed are iconic too and a good match for twin-machinegun German fighters on the Western front and single-machinegun Aviatik on the Italian one.

Awesome thanks for letting us in on some of the thought processes of the releases.
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Andrea Angiolino
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You welcome. Besides, it's a group process with several people involved, putting together different priorities and issues.

I really hope that you will welcome the greatest Italian ace, Francesco Baracca. He was from Romagna. After the war, his mother gave his personal insigna to Enzo Ferrari, who was from the same region, so he could use it racing. "Ferrari, put on your cars the little prancing horse of my young son", she said. "It will bring you good luck". And so it did.


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Andrea, we watched the film, the Blue Max the other night.
I'm curious as to what is your favorite WWI and WWII movie?
Best dogfight film?
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That's an interesting story..I do love ferraris
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Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Andrea, we watched the film, the Blue Max the other night.
I'm curious as to what is your favorite WWI and WWII movie?
Best dogfight film?

Now that you ask, I am not so an expert. Many good dogfight games I played, from Ace of Aces to Wings, from Aces High to Dawn Patrol to Blue Max, took their names from movies. True for WW2 games too. But now that I think about, I did not see too many of them.

I was disappointed by some of the later products as Flyboys (2006). The Red Baron (2008) was quite ok, and we even had the honor of the main actor Matthias Schweighöfer doing a commercial for our game:



So I'd quote The Blue Max (1966) too for WW1 and The Dam Busters (1955) for WW2, even if the first has exactly my age and the second is older. The latter has been very inspiring not only to me:





(do not switch off sound)

Even if experts will tell you that inspiration was somehow mediated: The Dam Busters -> 633 Squadron -> Star Wars.

So I should really release the Deathstarbusters scenario...



Speaking of inspiration, among the books there are such things as an aviation encyclopedia that I bought issue after issue in newspaperkiosks, when I was a kid, with Airfix and Revell plastic kits every issue or so. But the most inspiring are the diaries of pilots themselves. I read the Red Baron's when I was a teenager. Later I appreciated Silvio Scaroni's, our second Italian ace. While Baracca was a nobleman, a cavalry officer, Scaroni was one of eight sons of a widow with economic problems. While Baracca was killed in 1918, Scaroni survived and lead a very interesting life building Italian planes in China and quarreling with Goering in Sicily during WW1 to defend the role of Italian Regia Aeronautica. While Baracca was a knight of the air taking away incendiary bullets to avoid burning the enemy alive, Scaroni took away defective bullets one by one to avoid jammings and fought to get a second machineguns on his Hanriot to completely solve the problem - fighting with "desk officials" who denied it to him because they did not understand the needs of the people they sent in the sky risking their lives. I especially appreciated the 1919 edition of his diary, far fresher and outspoken that the second one - that's worth reading anyway. Alas, it has never translated into English.

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Speaking of Scaroni's diary, he recorded the Battle of Istrana that was fought exactly 99 years ago.
William George Barker, whose Sopwith Camel is the plane with most victories in all WW1, was just arrived on the Italian front in 1917 when, on Christmas Day, he took off with two other pilots for an unauthorized flight. Ignoring the tacit truce that was respected by Italians and Austrians in that holy day, they attacked the airport of Motta strafing hangars, planes and people. They also dropped a cardboard sign: “To the Austrian Flying Corps from the English RFC – wishing you a merry Xmas.” Then they came back to their base and asked their mechanics to keep quiet about that.
Austrians and Germans were so offended that at 9 the next morning they sent 25 bombers and 15 fighters against the Istrana airport, thinking it was the base of RFC Camels. Their efficiency was probably not at best for what they had drunk for Christmas. At least 15 Italian Hanriots and 3 British Camels reacted. A second wave at 1 pm has came with no surprise and was stopped. Austro-Germans lost 11 planes, while Italian losses were Hanriots bombed on the ground.
In The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemingway (an ambulance driver on the Italian front in WW1) remembers the episode: "Barker had flown across the lines to bomb the Austrian officers’ leave train, machine-gunning them as they scattered and ran. He remembered Barker afterwards coming into the mess and starting to tell about it. And how quiet it got and then somebody saying, 'You bloody murderous bastard.'”
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angiolillo wrote:

The choice of planes in each release has a mix of game, marketing and historical considerations. For game reasons, weapon variants and colorful schemes that can be easily distinguished from each other are often preferred.

Thank you for your detailed answer.
About the French Nieuport 17, will it be Nungesser or Guynemer ?
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Sorry, you are correct. I wrote wrong, it's the camouflaged Ni.17 with two machineguns (but also photographed with just one) that he flew while attached to the Lafayette Escadrille.

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Some of the many unofficial aircraft with game stats and cards available at the wingsofwar.org site, plus many official ones with differing colour schemes.

While not every single type of aircraft that fought from 1912-1921 is available as a 1/144 3D printed model from Shapeways, over 80% of types are, representing over 95% of aircraft that flew in combat over the period.

The flexibility of the Wings of Glory system is one of its great strengths. If Ares doesn't have your favourite aircraft available yet, you can still use a version that will be pretty close to the official ones when/if they get put into production. And when that happens, you buy the official ones, and the cards/stats get corrected.


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Great range, Zoe! In this very moment, I'd like a lot to have a seaplanes fleet like yours - for the Adriatic and not only. And not only them...
I also have a couple of seaplanes on my workbench for the Adriatic war - 1/144, resin, produced in Australia. Gift of the producer. Acrually the pilots are fictional, and the planes too... Porco Rosso's and Curtiss. A bit of a challenger for not so an able modeller like me, with a lot of rust on my fingers. I wish I had your skills!





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Speaking about Istrana (posts are like cherries - each one pulls another), last year the WASP and Associazione Ludica Apuana put together such a scenario. They are two great clubs, organizing wonderful scenarios, as the 99 planes Midway.

https://www.wargamespezia.org/le-attivit%C3%A0/14-torneo-wog...



Here a photogallery taken at the Play convention:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/107655326@N06/sets/72157651916...

Here the pdf with their rules (in Italian):
http://www.wargamespezia.org/app/download/9967379498/Istrana...

Here the preparatory discussion, in Italian too but IMHO worth to be seen just for the pictures (a scenario on the ambush to Yamamoto was in preparation at the same time):
http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/showthread.php?21520-Scenar...

I think we need also some hangover rules for the Germans, even if there are none in the pdf.
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For some details about how my games were born, please have a look at this Geeklist. Everything You Never Wanted to Know About My Games But You Could Have Been So Kind to Ask Anyway.

The origins of my games (Andrea Angiolino)
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Thanks for the answers, Andrea. As you have expressed yourself very clear about your opinion of HeroQuest 25th Anniversary (which I share), and you have been clearly outspoken about Wings of War vs other similar systems, I wonder if I may ask whether you believe that the hobby is getting better at acknowledge authorship and homage the authors. My feeling is that it's getting that way, but I'd like to hear your opinion.
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Not an easy answer.

If I see at my career, yes - things got better. When I started in Italy in the previous millennium, games with the author's name on the box were rare. Alex Randolph, our Maestron, was already fighting with the largest publishers in the world to get them for everybody, not just for him, but results were seen mainly abroad. Italy has also the sad record of the maybe only role-playing game in the world with no name of authors on them for a publisher's choice, Druid - shame on Editrice Giochi. Later, at the turn of the century, the same EG and other big publishers tried to sell games abroad, especially in nearby Germany - and they were forced to sign games to keep the standards of more evolute markets. As small publishers, more open minded, already did.

Today the role of the author is far more respected. And we have great examples by the greatest of them - as Bruno Faidutti, who derived Isla Dorada (FunForge 2010) from my (and Paglia's) Ulysses and from Moon's Elfenland. The new game is innovative and pretty different from his sources of inspirations, so he could just have acknowledged his sources in some way with a little "Thank you" somewhere (a gesture that it is not so common and and it is very appreciated anyway). He preferred to do far more - he involved Moon, Paglia and me as co-designers of Isla Dorada instead, even if this was not due at all. We accepted, but asking to be "minority co-authors" to acknowledge his initial idea and his far bigger effort in development - and that's why you see our names smaller than his on the cover.



Overall I'd say that it has been a gentlemen way of solve the situation, far more based on ethics and goodwill than on what's due by law. It would be great if everything would work this way every time. But it's not.
After programmer Andy Moore played Wings of War at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), he got pretty excited and hastly designed Steambirds with similarities in plotting, movement, firing, damage. No attempt to get a lòicense, no acknowledgements of Wings of War whatsoever. Later, in interviews, the inspiration from a "obscure boardgame" was admitted, and that's pretty upsetting - why do not name a game you owe something when you have the occasion, since it's free? Then the wheel of fortune turned, and after a game called Steam Pirates took a lot from his game, Steambirds' graphician Daniel Cook became a strong opponent of plagiarism:
http://www.lostgarden.com/2011/11/plagiarism-as-moral-choice...

Of course, when I say that often not enough is done, I am speaking of direct derivation of a game from a single other game. Progress is naturally based on research and on assembling, developing and renweing of previous ideas under new forms. And every new games has older components, as new recipes are made with ingredients that existed before. Wings of War owes a lot to a half dozen great games at least - and I hope I have acknowledged that often enough:
http://www.wingsofwar.org/forums/showthread.php?284-An-Inter...
But when a game is directly derivative from another title, things are not alway done as ethic would ask. Still today.

One of the worst cases, lately, is the BANG!/Legends of the Three Kingdoms affair. The Chinese rip-off has been stopped by courts in Singapore and Hong Kong, but not in China and elsewhere where it sold maybe twenty million copies without acknowledging anything to Bang!'s author and publisher. Awfully, the game is now imported in USA and after an initial pronunciation of a judge that gave ground to good hopes of stopping it, it seems to be distributed with no problems. In the land that acknowledged Meucci's invention of the telephone 113 years after he died in poverty and Bell took all merit and profits, this can be unsurprising. But still it's sad.
Even if Bang!'s is a quite extreme case, I still see quite a widespread lack of respect for designers in these days. Let's skip X-Wing, a game that manages to dedicate two full pages of the rulebook to its development without a single line about where the idea came from. Reports of famed publishers developing games without involving their authors are bewildering. Just take the Merchant of Venus (second edition) case. I am amazed that when Stronghold announced it, FFG could say that its own new edition was almost ready for production without the famed author Richard Hamblen being even told. I do not say involved in design. Or asked an interview or something for promotion. I say that he was not even informed, hence his project launched with Stronghold. Isn't it utter lack of respect for the role of author? And that's USA, just a few years ago. Not a far off country with so a different mentality or a remote past.

And this is not an isolated case alas. Controversial unauthorized copies of games are released every time:

The Unofficial Complete list of UNAUTHORIZED PRODUCTION

Up to now, I spoke of game industry. HeroQuest 25th Anniversary (or shall we write 28th?) is at the very edge of it - just a blatant case of piracy by a little company that's not even a publisher, having not ever published a game up to now (and that will not publish any for more time to come, it seems). They sold an empty name to nostalgic players of the early '90s, without any transparency on how the game was actually related to the old classic with the same title. Infringements and lies came one after the other for years. The only excuse that GameZone ever stated to skip al the regular licensing that other publishers duly made to reprint other Hasbro's and GW's games (Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, Inkognito, Talisman... you can name dozens of them) was haste. To respect the 25th anniversary deadline within December 2014, as if this was really vital. "It was now or never" was their slogan. And they utterly failed to comply. It has not been "then". Even if something will be published in the end, and even if Hasbro's lawyers will not stop its distribution, still their supposed alibi is not valid any more - there was time to take a license. They could use the same years that they are taking to produce something since their controversial attempts to crowdfunding. Nothing more worth saying about that sad case, I think.
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I'm a long-time fan of the Wings of War series, so other than saying thank-you for continuing to support such a great game system I'd just like to get a couple requests in:

Don't forget Dick Bong when you make the P-38 miniature, and

Please make WW1 Balloon Buster miniatures again - I'd really like one and don't want to pay collector prices.



Molte Grazie!
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    So, I'll understand if you don't want to tip your hand Andrea, but the new Wings of Glory WW2 Battle of Britain package is in the Boardgame News Entry today, and my local store is looking to put it up for pre-order.

    Here's the question for you to ignore -- how long do you think these will be in stock and how many of them are going to be available?

    Given the subject matter and the iconic planes included I'm hoping this one catches a little more attention. The WW2 version is a lot more intense than the WW1 version, in spite of having largely the same running gear. I think there's a whole crowd of gamers that would really dig the game if they got a shot at it.

             S.


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