GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!

9,480 Supporters

$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
17 Days Left

Support:

N. Ma
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
You have no Futura!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey BGG'ers,

3 months ago, I got a chance to interview Mr. Uwe Rosenberg over e-mail about board games in general as a hobby, a bit of his own history, Eurogames, what goes into the development of a game, game design, and of course, Agricola. There are other topics covered as well...some may seem fairly basic, but it was for the sake of my project's general audience. Sorry if this is not the appropriate place, I'm not sure exactly where it should go, but most of his game-specific questions were about Agricola.

Why such inquiries, well it was a lengthy bit of work for a project I did in my last semester, a sort of coffee table book about Eurogames I researched, compiled, and designed. I'm in my senior year in Visual Communications (degree in Advertising, with a minor in Graphic Design) at the Alberta College of Art and Design (graduating in a month!! )

I wasn't sure how the interview would be done because it was a big English to German thing, and then German to English again. I've learned a goodly amount of German prior to this, but nowhere near the level this interview would demand.

So, it became a cross-college sort of thing, and I was very fortunate to get the charitable help of instructor Yogi Schulz at the Continuing Ed. faculty at the University of Calgary, who over 3 months facilitated the communication between myself and Mr. Rosenberg. This wouldn't have happened at all without him! thumbsup

UPDATE: fellow BGG user Umbratus has translated Uwe's development story of Bohnanza that he also provided me. Again, you can find it in English and German. Check it out!

Without further ado, the interview! You can also read the original in German as well.



ONE> Mr. Rosenberg, what brought you to games? How long have you gamed? Was there a certain game which began everything for you?

I think board games are not a hobby that you start at a specific time. You start to play as a little child, and then you suspend playing for a few years or forget how to play altogether.

At age five my grandfather taught me Chess. At age twelve I began to play Chess and Skat almost daily with neighbouring children. From these informal gatherings, my own preliminary thoughts about games emerged. Focus, the 1980 German game of the year, played an important role. We had used the content of this game to develop a simple soccer game.




TWO> What are the most important games to your experience? Which games did you have most frequently on your table, and which are your favourite games?

There are many games to list. Apart from Focus, I also played Kojak Detective Game extensively in my youth. Further, Acquire was probably my favourite game in the 1980’s, You're Bluffing! inspired me as Civilization did later to develop my card game Bohnanza, the 18xx series awakened my passion for complex games, as well as Lionheart, Antiquity and Caylus, which served me as sources of inspiration for Agricola.

My favourite games are not always those games that I’m currently developing. When game development does not progress well, I suffer. Then I think more about how I can overcome the mistakes; I concentrate on my current development work. Eventually I become aware of what I must change and am grateful if my fellow players accept the changes immediately. This brought me to the saying that I always win my games, and if not, then I change the rules. ;-)




THREE> Which kind of games do you enjoy?

My personal tendency is toward the most elaborate strategy games in which one cannot attack directly without provocation. If I think extensively about my game moves, then I don’t like it when others simply break my moves so that all thinking becomes redundant. Therefore I am pleased to be quoted for the observation that strategy and war are not part of games with three and more persons. A two-person game behaves quite differently. Here you have only one opponent and you prepare yourself so that every aggression that the opponent initiates will be met with one. This is calculable.



FOUR> What are your thoughts regarding the Eurogame movement, particularly living and designing in Germany?

Eurogames were initially a class within popular games (Mehrheitenspiel) and later also building games (Aufbauspiel) that were eagerly played in America as well as in Europe. These games are invented primarily in Europe, hence the name. I don’t categorize myself as a Eurogamer, but as a building/accumulation gamer. Building games are games in which you acquire advantages during the course of the game that continue to the end of the session. I like games most of all that cause me to think about how I will approach the next session when I am in bed in the evening. I’m not as much interested in arranging my victory strategy more; rather, I’m more interested to experiment, to try out the game and to enjoy it.



FIVE> Is the Eurogame movement a larger phenomenon in Europe than here in North America?

In the general German population, nobody knows the terms "Eurogame", "majority game (Mehrheitenspiel?)" and "building game (Aufbauspiel?)". The "game scene" in Germany amounts to a core from 5,000 to 10,000 people, not comparably with, for example, the large number of American BoardGameGeek users. One must state that among the people who play passionately here in Germany, most can fill their appetite with good games. However, that wide availability does not undermine interest in newly published games. This leads to the introduction of a great many new games each year. Most games maintain interest for only one or two years. It is wonderful that the market offers something for everyone. For Internet sites it’s a large challenge to ease the search for good games for readers.



SIX> In your opinion, was there a point of origin for the development of German board games? What are the roots and which factors made this success possible?

The "German games" are successful because they achieve a large game depth. With game depth I do not mean story-telling depth. For story-telling depth I rather value games like Descent. The question about roots is exciting. I don’t see the roots in the German-speaking domain: For family games, Sid Sackson and Alex Randolph are the most important authors, for more complex games we owe much to Francis Tresham, who I want to designate as my favourite author. The latter also inspired Sid Meiers to create his category-forming computer games. I regard the most important inventions from Germany to be Labyrinth, Hoity Toity, Catan, El Grande, Entdecker: Exploring New Horizons and Puerto Rico. (Entdecker: Exploring New Horizons inspired Carcassonne, therefore I did not expressly list this game.)



SEVEN> Why do you think it has such wide appeal, support, and interest in Germany, but not so much in North America?

I believe that the German games have just as much appeal in Germany as in North America. In North America gamers also play other board game types. In Europe dice and board game are treated separately. For both, there are separate communities. Both communities are growing together a little owing to Munchkin. Also for Agricola, I’m considering some fantasy ideas. I know too little about these communities. In America the two categories of games overlap. Beyond that there are also sophisticated two-person games that we in Germany don’t know in this form. We believe two-person games must have a large luck component, because we assume the same people always play one another and that both only rarely have the same game strength.



EIGHT> What is it about Eurogames that you like and dislike?

I like the game mechanisms. I’m delighted to try games with interesting new ideas, even if the games are not well developed. I’d appreciate it if the publishing houses allowed themselves more time with their games. Games need time in development. With computer games a large effort is made, with board games sometimes only the most essential is done. "Trash" of every kind is quickly discovered. Originality and editorial treatment are what is most important. Originality is to avoid constantly repeating the same game sequences; it is to prove game sequences as stable for different kinds of player types. Sometimes games fail because everyone copies one player and tries out the same strategy. Sometimes games fail also because the design is limited to one extreme strategy. Developers work on this problem for a long time, but after lengthy testing to work on bugs, the time just isn’t available because each additional design change would elongate the test further.



NINE> In North America Catan is seen as the first successful game from Germany. This led to an explosion in popularity for the genre. Was there a similar game in Germany that did this? Was Catan in Germany only one game among many or was it also something special?

Catan was not too successful with its first release for the US. The first cover was a little too dark. In Germany the game broke all records from the first day. Today the game enjoys just as high a reputation in Germany as in North America, if not even a higher reputation. It brought forth several thousand new enthralled gamers, and everyone who makes money with games today in Germany should be conscious that they owe a little thanks to Klaus Teuber and the Kosmos team. I find it interesting that today Settlers focuses in Germany on eight to ten-year olds as the principal target group. Will they win a children's game prize shortly?



TEN> How is the board game regarded in Germany? Is it a popular pastime? In North America there is a niche community, which despite a considerable size is still sort of fringe.

In Germany there is a wide-spread, quite popular clique of people between age 30 and 40 who spend their evenings together. They meet as couples for cooking and a "games evening". Board game friends form a niche community who meet in clubs to game. In Germany games are played mostly among friends--rarely with changing participation. There, games are a way of spending time with friends like a cinema visit is also. In the general population, it is not the goal to share the game passion with like-minded individuals. The game is to pass the time: The time slips by, but is not enjoyed ("Da ist Spielen Zeitvertreib: Die Zeit wird vertrieben, und nicht genossen", a German play on words).



ELEVEN> Which board games are commonly played in Germany? The average North American is most familiar with Monopoly, Risk or Scrabble.

Monopoly and Risk would be listed in first place also in Germany. After those come the card games: UNO, Phase 10 and a card game with the name Doppelkopf. Skat, the definitively German card game, is played in the meantime only by older people. For games evenings we prefer commonly played party games: [GAMEID]=1111 and Activity are the most popular here. It is accurate to say: The more merrily it works, so much the better. 1980’s quiz games that experienced another boom five years ago are now played less and less. 15 years ago Therapy, a psychology game, was one of the most popular games in which one must evaluate others. Among the speed games Ligretto is most widespread. My personal favourite game from among the published party games is Jungle Jam, and is comparable to the speed games.



TWELVE> How do Germans regard common games like Monopoly or Risk?

They are popular as party games. I do not completely understand why, but I believe their success is based on the feelings that players experience with these games. It concerns the power that one player exercises over the others. Psychology even recognizes a "Monopoly effect": Two couples vacation together and play Monopoly each evening. How does the vacation end? The conclusion will be provided at the end of this interview. (That will provide me with time to organize my thoughts ;-) ). Risk is in my estimation a game for 15-year old boys. Depending upon individual temperament, you fight openly in Europe or hide in Australia or South America: each continent offers a different emphasis. Since the target group of 15-year-olds tends increasingly toward electronic media, I see a decreasing importance for Risk, contrary to the outlook for Monopoly. As a playful alternative to Risk, I recommend Heroes Of The World.



THIRTEEN> I am sure that you've played Carcassonne. Do you like the game? What do you think makes Carcassonne so popular? I ask because "Meeple" has achieved an iconic status within the community. The publishing house Hans im Glück even distributed Meeple sweets. Why are the people so obsessed by the Meeple? And what does a Meeple represent for you?

In Germany there are Meeple game figures just like for others. Here we are delighted again and again by new, beautifully crafted wooden figures. We admire Halmakegel (and call him "Pöppel") more than "Carcassonne-Man", as we call the Meeple.

Carcassonne is one of the best games of all time. For me it decreases some over time, yet I appreciate the quality. You can play Carcassonne simply as a two-person game on four levels. As you learn it, you have fun with the puzzles and look forward to the second level (this anticipation is very important). On level 2 you "attach" yourself to others and attempt to take something away. On level 3 you proceed in such a way that others cannot retrieve their game figures, and somewhere along the way have no more game figures available to them (to achieve this, one needs to know all the tiles and their frequency). On level 4 you learn to watch over your game figures and not move as aggressively (rather toward paths instead of against castles).

On the highest level of gaming, a game of Carcassonne is played by two players as if the contenders did not want to win at all. In my personal best I plateaued somewhere between level 2 and 3. By the way, I also recommend Metro to those who like to play Carcassonne with two players.




FOURTEEN> What are the qualities you value in a good board game?

I examine whether they contain what they promise, whether they have a target group, and how well they appeal to this group. An absolutely top notch game like Carcassonne can be evaluated by its playability on different levels. Using Carcassonne as a candidate, I evaluated it in more detail. The masses must play it happily, and the game community must introduce it successfully to the masses.

At the game fair in Essen 2000, Hans im Glück introduced three new games at the same time. On the first days of the fair Attila was promoted as a game for many players more highly than Carcassonne. That changed rapidly.

Prior to the official release date, Hans im Glück expended considerable effort to determine if people could pronounce the title at all. Actually only the "e" at the end posed a problem. I must admit that, prior to the official release date, I had never heard of the city of Carcassonne (the same happened to me with Caylus). Good games should always be named after French cities. Ahem. :-)




FIFTEEN> When did you first begin dabbling in game design? Was there any training, a school, a course?

No such thing. The best start into game designing is to revise an existing game. I have thought about offering a specialized university course for making social games. For the moment I’m structuring my thoughts by categorizing mechanisms of economic games.

For different mechanisms, I’m searching for the first games that implemented these ideas. There are not many mechanisms yet that have an official designation: the "Kramerleiste" [note: named in honour of Wolfgang Kramer, any board that tracks VPs in games] is the most well-known for the announcement of victory points that celebrated its debut in Heimlich & Co..

Another categorization of mechanisms is receiving considerable attention in the German-speaking countries. Reiner Knizia sued a book publishing house for having stolen his ideas even though they were only described. The book was the most detailed attempt so far to categorize games. Hugo Kastner succeeded very well with this. I am glad that Mr. Knizia failed with his lawsuit.




SIXTEEN> Are you a full-time game designer?

You can say that. I think as long as I have not yet become a father, I live for game inventing. In the morning before waking up I consider which work will interest me for the day. Somehow there are always several things to be done (for example, write this interview ;-) ). I always test games in the evening.

In the meantime I have reached an age where I only have friends who are actively employed. At noon for lunch I meet either with my wife in her cafeteria, or if I am in Dortmund, with people in the refectory of the university, where I studied actively until 1998 and am still registered. Occasionally I sleep in the afternoon for two hours, since I frequently go to bed well after midnight. Full-time game designer is a wonderful word. In Germany I am often asked if I also have a "real" occupation. Then I like to philosophize about the terms "occupation", "job" and "work". What is a "real" occupation?




SEVENTEEN> What are some of the challenges you've encountered? Have you run into any revelations as you've gained experience?

The game designing community is familiar. It should not be surprising if a publishing house rejects a game, and then immediately suggests another publishing house for which it would be suitable. The discussion is friendly. I cannot assert that I had to pay tuition [fees?] anywhere.

I had to find my own way. I had to discover what is appealing to me and what is not. But no matter what I did, I always began it with passion. And always, if the passion diminished quickly, I learned unfortunately only afterward that the project was not suitable for me. Today I attach great importance to the notion that an idea really has to grab me and not just interest me.




EIGHTEEN> Tell me about Agricola. First of all, congratulations on a huge success! When did you start designing the game, and how long has it taken?

Altogether I worked nearly two years on the game. In November 2005 I played Caylus continuously. I modified Caylus and I produced the first sketches for Agricola. For the whole of December 2005 I played alone. In March 2006 I had completed sufficient test scenarios that I could have completed the project. However, I had so much fun playing that I continued inventing new cards for a whole year. Agricola became opulent, not because this was our marketing concept, but because it was my passion.

In July 2007 I moved to editorial work: with Magic: The Gathering as a model [the aim to create internally-consistent rules in Agricola cards, such as exists in a similar fashion in Magic], Hanno Girke and I agreed on a uniform language which we utilized as consistently as possible. When Agricola went to press at the beginning of September 2007, I was vacation-ripe. From then on, I simply enjoyed the game and its success.




NINETEEN> The theme of building and efficiently managing your own farm--it's a great idea; it has that quality to me that's so clever and simple when you think about it, but with such competitive potential. How did you come up with it?

I thought very early about this theme. First I had wanted to change the Worker Placement mechanism from Caylus in such a way that I could offer the players increasing action possibilities and place more workers at their disposal: everyone has two figures, and it should always become more. There comes to men in my age the idea to create a theme around a small family. That I settled the family on a farm has different origins.

After Löwenherz I wanted to enclose something else, such as kingdoms. I wanted to continue working with the harvest mechanism from the game Antiquity. The theme "agriculture" hung in the air. Further, I liked the idea that the family should enlarge their dwelling to accommodate the family members.




TWENTY> How important is the theme of games to you?

That depends on the game. Adding theme helps those playing new board games reach a minimum score: many people become aware of the game through the theme. A huge success can only be reached with a well chosen theme or rarely with abstract games (this is not valid for card games). If a game is abstract, the rules should be brief. Rules can only be substantial if they encompass a theme: only through a plausible theme can games be well understood.



TWENTY-ONE> Eurogames are often notorious for what is described as a "pasted-on theme." The core gameplay is very well thought out, deep, and balanced, but the art and situations could have been anything. Why do you think Eurogames tend to fall a little bit short on theme?

Still worse are the occasional framework actions. In the otherwise quite delightful game of Diamonds Club, for example, 3-4 lords argue about who the coolest lord is. They make a bet. Whoever created the most beautiful garden will be called "Lord of Diamonds". Why doesn't it deal simply with who receives the most points for his garden? Why do the players have to be lords, why are they not simply gardeners? But to the question. Eurogames are invented with an orientation to the mechanism. In case the second idea in the game (as with Agricola) is not aligned to the theme, the set of rules form such a tight corset that a suitable theme cannot be found and the publishing house would be frequently well-advised to publish without a theme.



TWENTY-TWO> Is there a game which particularly impressed you through its theme? If so, what about the theme made it work?

There I must again reference Descent. I’m delighted by how you develop a team feeling in this game. It’s wonderful that as players we "see" only as much as the game figures. With respect to game themes, other games are superior to Eurogames. For me who used to prescribe myself building games, it is a large challenge to encounter this phenomenon. For me game depth is more important than the atmosphere in the game. Also, I would rather do without event maps, for example, if they are not steerable. Also, I would allow a ship or a truck to hop directly from point A to B instead of leading it awkwardly along a path if I can save game time.



TWENTY-THREE> Bohnanza is also a fun and popular game here. What inspired its creation, and what do you think has enamoured people with it?

There is actually only the fun player edition--a serious theme would thwart thoughts of commercial success. Bohnanza was developed by isolating the commercial segment from Civilization. First I reduced the point values, which are received in exchange for goods, and so we came upon the Bohnometer. Only after that did I work on the commercial mechanism. The breakthrough came with the rule that the sequence of cards could not be changed. I have attached the creation story for Bohnanza to this interview. I would be pleased if the story would appear sometime in English. [kerning here: now translated! See links at top, or at the end of this interview]



TWENTY-FOUR> Which games are you most proud of designing and why?

I am happy about Bohnanza, because this game made it possible for me to live the free life that I lead. I am proud of Agricola. I will likely never work again for such a long time on a single game and likely never meet with so much appeal from so many frequent players again. Additional games, which I would name among my important ones, are Mamma Mia! and Babel. These both have mechanisms that are not to be found in other games.

In the long term I will hopefully define myself through my series of building games. At the moment I live only for games. That will not continue indefinitely, but I will, once I am in retirement age, think back to this time at length.




TWENTY-FIVE> What are you working on at present? What spurred you to your new projects?

Merkator is currently in the final stage of its development. It deals with the business aspects of war and the ascent of the city of Hamburg in the 17th Century. For the moment I am busy also with the peat extension for Agricola, for which I’ve been collecting ideas since the summer of 2008. The first tests have just started. Afterwards, I will perhaps produce a further draft for an (already planned for some time) iron extension or I will start my next board game. "Ora et Labora" will become a building game. It is set in a monastery and views the monastery as a business enterprise.



TWENTY-SIX> How do you determine the characteristics in your games--the number of players, the action possibilities for a player and so forth?

The number of the players always emerges through testing. I start with a concrete player count and test first only with this. Then I extend and shorten the player count by one person at a time--until I bump into the limits. I do not specify the full action possibilities at the beginning. I supplement, shorten, and change the game while I play the game in detail alone. What is frequently already certain in the draft is the goods cycle. For example, I developed the game Le Havre on top of its goods cycle.



TWENTY-SEVEN> How do you balance a game?

You balance economic games by inserting as many goods into the game as you remove at another place. This is important early when the first draft is on a sheet of paper. With every rule change you should consider exactly what additional effects will accompany the changes. You should never be afraid to take back rules and to admit a failed attempt, and you should never be too quick to become satisfied with the game. He who resists a proposal on the part of the testers should listen to the proposals nevertheless as soon as the proposals stack up. Even if alleged mistakes in reasoning underlie the proposals, the players prefer this way, and those players are after all who are expected to buy the game eventually.



TWENTY-EIGHT> What advice would you offer to aspiring game developers?

They should not spend too much time on a project if it’s really not fun. You can’t inject fundamental fun after the fact--what you can do is offer additional incentives, e.g. with new victory point criteria. You’ll recognize good ideas immediately by the fact that they are good. Therefore one should frequently discard something and begin with something new. But never begin something new if the current concept is running well, simply because the new concept is enticing. Quite often, it becomes impossible to return to the original concept.



TWENTY-NINE> Is there something that people tend to overlook or stress too strongly when they begin to design games?

To judge that, I would have to frequently play prototypes of other authors. In fact, I only see the games of authors (or editors) who are my friends in order to help them. The reason is simple. You may not copy unpublished ideas without asking for permission. I would not like to cut myself out of a multitude of possibilities. However, by contrast, you can adopt published ideas. You should honestly declare and not lie or claim that you do not know the game from which the idea originates. As long as an author honestly acknowledges his sources of inspiration, everyone can determine at the end if plagiarism is apparent or not. That is fair.


THIRTY> Let's finish up on some lighter material. Are you inclined to play with a specific colour in the board games?

I am a yellow player. In my youth no one wanted the colour; then everyone did during my post-secondary education. When I played at board game tournaments from 1994 to 2000, I gave up the habit to play with only one colour. In a tournament one must be able to manage with every colour. In the games Agricola and Le Havre, I did not initially include yellow as a game colour. As you see, I’m educating myself. ;-) A concrete colour assignment occurs for me only if I’m playing with my wife. She takes blue and gives me yellow without asking.



THIRTY-ONE> Please describe yourself for me in one or two sentences in any way you like!

I’m a spontaneous, feeling human being who tries nonetheless to steer with my head--to be inspired for short periods, but then quickly become interested in something new (to formulate it positively ;-)). The development process for Agricola formed a huge exception. That has to mean something if I could not tear myself away from a project and had to keep on inventing. For almost two years I sat at the game and during this time I hardly did anything else.



THIRTY-TWO> Leaving the best to the last: The Monopoly effect you mentioned.

Finally the promised resolution of the "Monopoly effect". After two weeks of vacation, the hostilities and humiliations lead to the outcome that the two couples will never again vacation together. But: Every time the couples see each other, they exchange comments about the other couple. They reinforce their increasing dislike for the other couple and thereby strengthen their own relationship. As much as this result surprised me, I don’t want to experience such a vacation. I’d rather accept one or another ("Endearment bonus"), in order to play reasonable things with other couples.



END> Mr. Rosenberg, thank you for the discussion.

I thank you for the interesting questions.

~

Many thanks to Uwe and his patience between the interview and getting it translated at last.

Fellow BGG user Umbratus has translated Uwe's development story of Bohnanza that he also provided me. Again, you can find it in English and German. Check it out! thumbsup
43 
 Thumb up
2.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Awesome.

Where can we find your paper/book?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
flag msg tools
designer
Baseball been bery bery good to me
badge
This is a picture of a published game designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent. It could still use some editing. I notice that he says Agricola began from Caylus. This may explain why Caylus has taken such a drop in this year's Geek Madness. Just as Race for the Galaxy has replaced San Juan, Agricola has replaced Caylus. I'll get back and say more later.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Werner Bär
Germany
Karlsruhe
Baden
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kerning wrote:
Sorry if this is not the appropriate place, I'm not sure exactly where it should go, but most of his game-specific questions were about Agricola.

You should post it to his designer forum.

(but no need to delete it here IMO)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Doug Bass
United States
Winston-Salem
North Carolina
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
kerning-

I really enjoyed reading this interview, thank you so much for sharing it with the community! I thought the questions were excellent and very well crafted, and I truly appreciated Mr Rosenberg's forthrightness and candor in his answers.

Can you tell us any more about your "coffee table book"? What's in it, and is it something you intend to publish?

-Doug

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Blue Fox
United States
Kentucky
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for an excellent interview, let us know about your book and where to find it.

So does that mean there might be two expansions for Agricola? (Peat and Iron) Or did I read that wrong?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Failing upwards... ever faster!
United States
Saint Ann
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Quote:
..."majority play (Mehrheitenspiel?)" and "structure play (Aufbauspiel?)"...

Mehrheitenspiel = Popular game (?), referring to Mass-market games? Monopoly, etc {?}
Ausbasuspiel = Building-up game (?)


Edit: Sevenspirits clarified:
Mehrheitenspiel = area majority games
Ausbasuspiel = economic buildup games

Quote:
In July 2007 I moved to editorial work: After the model of "Magic" [not sure what that refers to?] Hanno Girke and I agreed on a uniform language which we utilized as consistently as possible.


I assume he's referring to creating rules in Agricola within the same vein as the (internally consistent) 'rules-language' used on the cards of "Magic: the Gathering".
Interesting, though I would say it is far more explicit in Magic than in Agricola. I tend to think of Magic's use as an iconography system, some of the icons being 'words'.


Thanks for the article!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Peekaboo!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Thanks for taking the time to post this article, and thanks to Mr. Rosenberg (again) for such a great game!

Except for the Taster.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
N. Ma
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
You have no Futura!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm thrilled you guys like the interview! Indeed, it was truly gracious of Uwe to do this. Of many designers contacted, he was the only one to respond--I'd expected nothing, but thought it couldn't hurt to try, right?

As to my book, it's sadly only a limited run. A good deal of the assets I received permission for is strictly non-profit rights. As it is for my portfolio and not to be sold, that is alright.

It is not completely finished (now that I have to work in this interview and reformat a few things), but the limited run is for people who've helped this or the book along. If people are interested, nearer to the time of printing, I could fulfill some orders--but you must understand, you'd have to pay for it. Otherwise, everything's out of my own pocket.

Barticus88 wrote:
Excellent. It could still use some editing. I notice that he says Agricola began from Caylus. This may explain why Caylus has taken such a drop in this year's Geek Madness. Just as Race for the Galaxy has replaced San Juan, Agricola has replaced Caylus. I'll get back and say more later.


Will do. There's always a bit of uncertainty here and there when things are translated where there is a struggle between restructuring something more naturally, and wondering whether it's honest and not putting words in his mouth.

I also thought that was a cool piece of insight! In many creative occupations (my own included), we are always warned against re-inventing the wheel--we don't need to, the best that can be done is to take something as a foundation to change and build upon. Our mantra is that everything's already been done...it's just a matter of if you can do it better...

dreadpirate wrote:
Quote:
..."majority play (Mehrheitenspiel?)" and "structure play (Aufbauspiel?)"...

Mehrheitenspiel = Popular game (?), referring to Monopoly, etc {?}
Ausbasuspiel = Building game (?)

Quote:
In July 2007 I moved to editorial work: After the model of "Magic" [not sure what that refers to?] Hanno Girke and I agreed on a uniform language which we utilized as consistently as possible.


I assume he's referring to creating rules in Agricola within the same vein as the (internally consistent) 'rules-language' used on the cards of "Magic: the Gathering".
Interesting, though I would say it is far more explicit in Magic than in Agricola. I tend to think of Magic's use as an iconography system, some of the icons being 'words'.

Thanks for the article!


Aha! Perfect, thanks so much for the clarification! The interview has been appropriately edited for this and further clarity.

Werbaer wrote:
kerning wrote:
Sorry if this is not the appropriate place, I'm not sure exactly where it should go, but most of his game-specific questions were about Agricola.

You should post it to his designer forum.

(but no need to delete it here IMO)


Thanks, I hadn't even realized there was even a designer's forum! blush Haha, still kinda newbish, I wish I could spend more time on BGG.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Julian Steindorfer
Austria
Vienna
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bluef0x wrote:
Thanks for an excellent interview, let us know about your book and where to find it.

So does that mean there might be two expansions for Agricola? (Peat and Iron) Or did I read that wrong?


Peat seems to be the essen 09 release, he said something about wine and iron and maybe a big fantasy project and don´t forget At the Gates of Loyang ,his old new game.

for peat look here :
http://hds-fantasy.de/home/news-termine/einzelansicht-news/n...

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
flag msg tools
designer
Baseball been bery bery good to me
badge
This is a picture of a published game designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dreadpirate wrote:
Quote:
..."majority play (Mehrheitenspiel?)" and "structure play (Aufbauspiel?)"...

Mehrheitenspiel = Popular game (?), referring to Monopoly, etc {?}
Ausbasuspiel = Building game (?)


I have done a lot of work on Wikipedia (26,000 edits) and most of it is disambiguation. I would see things like "international conventions and treaties", and I am trying to fix the word "convention" so that it doesn't point to 10,000 Trekkies. I have no place to point it but the same place as "treaties".

In this case, he is comparing "Eurogame" with two other terms which are German translations of American terms. What does he mean by those terms? He is saying they don't exist in Europe, so he's not clear on the subject. I think I would translate those as "mass market game" and "designer game".

Make some good guesses at translations (for this and others), then send it to Uwe to see if he objects to anything. And put a link to http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/393547 on this page, for those of us who can read ein bißchen Deutsch.

I played Klunker last night. I didn't need to read the name to know it was by the same guy as Bohnanza and Space Beans.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
N. Ma
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
You have no Futura!
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Barticus88 wrote:
In this case, he is comparing "Eurogame" with two other terms which are German translations of American terms. What does he mean by those terms? He is saying they don't exist in Europe, so he's not clear on the subject. I think I would translate those as "mass market game" and "designer game".

Make some good guesses at translations (for this and others), then send it to Uwe to see if he objects to anything. And put a link to http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/393547 on this page, for those of us who can read ein bißchen Deutsch.


There's been a link to the German version for a while now.

As well, I'm not convinced it's "designer game," due to what he says here: "Building (formerly structure) games are games in which you acquire advantages during the course of the game that continue to the end of the session."

Not all designer games allow you to do that. I'm not sure there's a word to suit it 100% either...he's trying to describe a mechanic there. And as he pointed out later in the interview, many board game mechanics have not been designated names or labels.

As well, it's easier said then done, just sending things back and forth for his approval. Each step needs to be translated back and forth.

But thanks for the suggestions!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Timo
Germany
North Rhine-Westphalia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
kerning wrote:
In the general German population, nobody knows the terms "Eurogame", "majority game (Mehrheitenspiel?)" and "building game (Aufbauspiel?)".


Both translations sound reasonable to me and I don't see Uwe pointing out that Monopoly is a majority game. One could argue if it's a building game (as you build your financial empire, hotel etc.) but I, as a gamer, wouldn't think so.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean McCarthy
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As someone who only read the German version of the interview, I thought it was pretty obvious he was talking about area majority games (a very popular early eurogame mechanic, e.g. El Grande, Tikal, both of which won SdJ) and economic buildup games, respectively.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Geeky McGeekface
United States
Manassas
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very interesting interview, Kerning. Thank you for sharing this with us and good luck with the project!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Will
United States
Fresno
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, this sounds like it took quite a lot of work. Thanks to you and Uwe Rosenberg for doing the interview!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Doug Meldrum
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Interview with Uwe Rosenberg
Truly inspiring. I have a new found motivation to continue with my game designs. Thanks for the insights.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Gilbert
United States
Ithaca
New York
flag msg tools
Thank you for posting this, albeit 7 years ago! I recently discovered this interview and wrote a blog post about one of the things Rosenberg said here about player interaction. https://boardgamesnob.com/2016/12/12/player-interaction-in-m...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.