Roberto Di Meglio
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As the publisher, I am quite happy that it seems that Ad Astra has been appreciated by many people here.

However I was a bit surprised that the concept of "Designer's Series", which we thought had some merit, seems to have passed completely below the radar, even in a forum like BGG where there are many people which are quite conscious about the role and importance of designers.

(Or maybe this is the reason why the concept here went unnoticed?).

We thought that the idea of providing a stronger focus on the designer, including a bio and a presentation of their games, could be something interesting to include in a game.

In the book industry this is a very usual concept (introductions and biographical notes are in almost every book!) but the gaming industry has often been accused (very often rightly so) of ignoring the role of authors (often to the point of not even including their names anywhere in the product).

With the Designer's Series we tried to went a step more into this direction, but nobody apparently noticed...
I'd really like to hear from everybody who got a copy of Ad Astra if the section about Bruno and Serge was something they perceived as a worthwhile addition, if it was redundant, or what?
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James
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I did read the sections on the designers, and was surprised that they were involved in a few other games I've played/liked that I don't know were theirs. I do think that because BGG is more designer-aware than the general gaming populace that you're getting less of a reaction here than you might be getting in the general gaming area.

Also keep in mind that this really is the first time something like this has been done (that I've seen anyway) so it might take a few more titles hitting the shelves before you start seeing threads about how X game didn't have a designer section/bio. I found it interesting, and I think it's worth adding to the games. I hope more publishers start moving in that direction (I also quite like reading designer's notes like those found in Twilight Imperium and World of Warcraft the board game).
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Enjoyed it really, but I knew about Serge&Bruno quite much already...
I have yet to play the game, but I am really looking forward to that.

To me these things are a plus, but it is really the game that I need to enjoy. It looks good, I'll try to say more after my first play !
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Brian McCarty
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I specifically pointed out that the rulebook mentions games by the designers, including from other publishers

Brian
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Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson
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I really enjoy reading about the designer(s). The more that I've met these two in personal, but I would be interested in this in any case. When I read books, I often let the author make the choice whether I buy the book or not. This is maybe less true regarding games, but it's enough to give me a hint what kind of game it is.

Please, make this as a new trend. I would love it!
/Carl
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Roberto Di Meglio
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N9IWP wrote:
I specifically pointed out that the rulebook mentions games by the designers, including from other publishers

Brian


Thanks for pointing this out Brian!
I had written down my post before I read yours, sorry.

I agree that most BGG users will be much more designer-conscious than most, so the information passed along with our brief notes is probably not much.

I must say that personally, a few years ago, I thought that for gamers the designer was not much. If I look back to the games which I fondly played in my teen years (the early '80s), I remember the designers of very few of them - and most of those I remember, I actually learned afterwards. I think that it was with RPGs that, at least for me, the author of the game started to be perceived as an author in the proper sense.

At the time when I used to play Third Reich, Squad Leader, or Risk!... I did not really knew who the designers were. Now I know (except for Risk! - I will have to look into it) and the names of people like Faidutti, Laget, Knizia, Teuber, and many others now sound familiar to many people, and drive purchasing choices.
But there is still a long way to go before game designers receive the same level of respect and recognition as writers, musicians, and movie directors do, I think.
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By the way, Roberto, since you seem to be reading this thread cool, thanks a lot for your games. I *love* Age of Conan (looking forward for my next play).

I really think BGGers are probably not the audience that would most be surprised by the gaming life of Bruno&Serge. It does not mean this info is not valuable, just that we skip through it quickier than you'd love us to

Really looking for Ad Astra, AND next titles in the designer series, really.
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Roberto:

First, ditto on my love for Age of Conan: The Strategy Board Game. My wife and I have a lot of fun playing it...it's at the sweet spot for complexity for her. I'll step her up to Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage next. :)

Second, I did read the section on the designers in the rulebook when it was posted online. I bought Ad Astra instead of Endeavor because of my enjoyment of their other games.

From my perspective, that tipped the balance...and it was an interesting read, too.
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I thoroughly enjoyed the inclusion of the designer details. Although I am already aware of most of the designers I own, I think it is a great idea to put some further information about the core designers of the game (including artists if possible). I also love to read about the development cycle of a given game. Why certain decisions were made about specific mechanic choices, etc.

One of my all time favorite manuals is from the computer game Civ4. The long article that Soren Johnson wrote is fantastic and really provides insight into the development of the game.
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Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson
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There are often information about the game design history at Bruno Faiduttis personal site http://www.faidutti.com, which I often read and enjoy. FFG has often been good to write a page about the design of the game and also Martin Wallace. So this isn't new. It's probably just that the information is spread out on every page, which makes this remarkable.
/Carl
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bruno faidutti
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As an author, I must say that I really appreciate it. It's usual in novels to have a first page with a short introduction on the author, sometimes a biography, and usually a list of his books, and not only the few ones published by the same publisher.
I don't say that games are really like books and have the same cultural value, but they have some similarity, and there are more and more gamers who are interested in learning about games and their authors in the way readers are interested in learning about books and their authors, so it's great for them to find this info.
And, of course, it's status enhancing for the author, which I can only appreciate ;-)
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I think it's not so much a question of this having passed under the radar as not being quite sure what to do or say about it. I was certainly conscious of the designers when I bought it, and my group do discuss games by designer when recognizing mechanics, etc. I think to some degree it is almost such a natural thing that designers should naturally be credited and recognized that when you see the bio notes and ludography you just take it for granted to a degree. It should always be that we know something about them. I have enjoyed reading designer's notes by Martin Wallace and Kevin Wilson, as it gives a sense yet another gaming mind that connects with the game you're playing (naturally).

So, the point is that I think the inclusion of bio and ludography is great, but it's almost a 'you mean this is NOT usual?' thing rather than a failure to fully celebrate the Nexus Designer's Series. Actually I was only thinking the other day about what and whom might be up next. So it is working, just maybe not quite as you thought...

Oh, and to join the chorus... Love AoC... Needs a 'fourth age' supplement tho...
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Bruce Murphy
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Well, The Hanging Gardens has a picture and bio of the designer /and/ the artist on the sides of the inner box. Perhaps the lessened the novelty?

B>
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Nattakorn Vuttichaipornkul
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I pretty much know about Faidutti and Laget because I've play many of their games. However I think this is nice to include info about the authors in the rule book. I could show it to my NGF who enjoy Citadels and Mystery of the Abbey TO give them incentive to play Ad Astra.
Please Continue doing this with other game.This designer serie is a very cool concept.
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Roberto Di Meglio
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thepackrat wrote:
Well, The Hanging Gardens has a picture and bio of the designer /and/ the artist on the sides of the inner box. Perhaps the lessened the novelty?

B>


I did not know - definitely Ad Astra and Hanging Gardens are still part of a thin minority though!

Of course I did not mean that's not that you can't find designer's information ANYWHERE - it's just not included very much where it normally belongs, the game itself.
Designer's Notes are more common, but very rarely encompass the activity of the designer as a whole.

And while I did not really expect such a small thing to be "celebrated" I was just wondering if it was noted! Good to know it was, even if people did not think it was something significant enough to deserve to be spontaneously discussed or noted.

Regarding the future, we have been chasing a few other designers for the 2nd instalment of the Designer Series (due in 2010), I think we've found our next game and will probably ready to announce it in a month or so.

And thanks to everybody who appreciated Age of Conan and our other games.
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I think the reason why many people do not care too much about the designer of a particular game is that it does not influence how I play the game, it has absolutely no bearing on it. Why should it? The game does not guide me through anything, I take my own decisions (within the scope of the rules) and create my own story.

With a book it is quite a different story. When I know who the author is and know where he is coming from I will read and interpret the book quite differently (on most occasions anyway). The author sets me on a track and leads me through the story, points things out, hides others, if I want to or not. Why he or she does that is quite an important part of understanding a book.

That said, I do watch out for certain designers, but it is more of an afterthought.
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bruno faidutti
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Sonnenblume wrote:
I think the reason why many people do not care too much about the designer of a particular game is that it does not influence how I play the game, it has absolutely no bearing on it. Why should it? The game does not guide me through anything, I take my own decisions (within the scope of the rules) and create my own story.


I disagree. I think that, to some extent, the game itself, and therefore its author, influence the stories you can create with it and the way you can play it. You can't play a game by Roberto Fraga like you would play a game by Reiner Knizia, and vice versa. So knowing who designed a game may help you guess if you can use it to create the kind of experience you like.
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Bruce Murphy
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True, but is it important or even a good thing to pre-judge a game based on its designer? What Knizia comes up with something themey (however unlikely that might be )

B>
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I thought it was a nice touch.

As an aside, I have to say, whilst AoC is nice, War of the Ring is the one that put Nexus on the map for me, my only 10 rating ever!
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Giles Pritchard
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I thought it was a great idea - really worth the effort and rightly deserved. Not only do game designers deserve to be named (and a bio is very nice too), but I wonder whether it will add to what is already a very 'literate' culture among game players - by reaching directly to everyone who buys the game - not just those who particpate in the hobby here on BGG, BGN and elsewhere online - if it does, then it is a very positive thing imo and can only benefit the industry as a whole. My view is it should be commonn practice.

I love the new RGG boxes that have this info on the designer and the artist, I love what Nexus have done in the Ad Astra rules. Great job!

Cheers,

Giles.
 
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Interesting read! I like reading more about the designers of the game.

The lack-of-attention I believe comes from several things:

- advanced board gaming is a niche more so than books
- even in gaming, Ad Astra is very new
- Ad Astra sadly hasn't gotten as much attention as say Chaos in the Old World
- author bios aren't really done in board games
- seeing patterns from the authors can be difficult because it requires owning or being able to play the previous games of the authors and remember which game the author had made or contributed to
- I probably look into the author AFTER I view his creation, whether it's a movie, a book or a game, since I've only played this once, I haven't been able to go into it

I do appreciate this feature though! I would like to see more!
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Roberto Di Meglio
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Revelade wrote:

- seeing patterns from the authors can be difficult because it requires owning or being able to play the previous games of the authors and remember which game the author had made or contributed to
- I probably look into the author AFTER I view his creation, whether it's a movie, a book or a game, since I've only played this once, I haven't been able to go into it

I do appreciate this feature though! I would like to see more!


That's exactly the reason why I think it's a good idea to tell more about the designer where it belongs - in the game itself - if you like Ad Astra, it is very likely that you will like more games by Bruno and Serge, alone or together... And while further research will bring you to many other games they created beyond those we recommended, at least you have a starting point.

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Well for my opinion, It's THE idea ! It's so great cause next time I would recognize the author that is sitting in front of me :ninja:... even if I can't remember if there is a picture of Serge and Bruno in the rules book.

N9IWP wrote:
I specifically pointed out that the rulebook mentions games by the designers, including from other publishers

Brian


That's really surprised me but thinking twice... Could you imagine an other domain on which it happens ?

But Roberto is right, It coulb be a good and cheap Ad... but you have to keep the same editor :whistle:


(Sorry Roberto haven't played yet AoC, but I am trying to :p)
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matinciel wrote:

N9IWP wrote:
I specifically pointed out that the rulebook mentions games by the designers, including from other publishers

Brian


That's really surprised me but thinking twice... Could you imagine an other domain on which it happens ?


Books, DVDs. In order to sell the current hotness, most publishers are happy to crow about the past probably-already-sold hotness of their author/actors.

B>
 
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I liked the extra information printed about the designers.

However what really got me thinking was that games by different publishers were mentioned. For example, Days of Wonder was mentioned in the rule book yet Ad Astra is published by FFG (here in US). I thought that was interesting to see - an advertisement for a competing publisher's games in the rule book. Truth is, I already knew about the game (Mystery of the Abbey) and already own it, so I wasn't reading about anything I did not already know. And maybe that's why this is not a deal breaker for the publisher since that's probably true for most people who would purchase a copy of Ad Astra.

It just surprised me. And I thought that was kinda cool to see.

- Steve
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