Editor at Lookout Games
This is a translation of an interview published on www.spielengehtimmer.de:
An interview with the designer of Hansa Teutonica – Andreas Steding. In this interview, he’ll introduce himself as a designer and talk a little about his novelty.
Please introduce yourself a little:
AS: My hometown is Göttingen, where I stayed after my history studies. For some years now, I’m househusband.
When did you become interested in board games for the first time, what has drawn your attention to this genre?
AS: As a 12-year-old; my first board games were the old ones by 3M, soon after I’d got Diplomacy that my father had brought me from England. Later I’ve played Dippy by mail (at Walter Luc Haas) and got to know the wide world of board games.
Do you have time to play games these days, and if yes, how much?
AS: Well, my profession allows me to play from time to time .
What made you change allegiance from player to designer? Are there any designers that you model yourself on or who inspire you?
AS: It’s like with any designer. One day I’ve played a game. It was excellent, but something was missing, something little and I started to invent house rules (like you’d call this today), and from there on it was only a small step to my first game. By the way, the first games to get house rules were Stellar Conquest (by Metagaming Concept, later AH) and Awful Green Thing (Steve Jackson). During my tenancy changeover, I’ve found these house rules – they were terrible.
How long did it take to publish your first game?
AS: It took many years, as I didn’t focus on designing games. My first game publication (Hispania) was rather some sort of study about Spanish history. As players started to create their own copies in order to play this game, the whole thing has become more serious.
How many games and by which publishers have been released, yet?
AS: Like my taste as a player, my games are very different:
Hispania – Azure Wish
Kogge – self-published (MoD Games)/JKLM
Italia – Phalanx
Heart of Africa – Phalanx
Scottish Highland Whisky Race – MoD Games/JKLM
Power & Weakness – MoD Games
Black Market – MoD Games
What made Hansa Teutonica to be published by Argentum?
AS: At this point, I have to thank the Hippodice Team that organizes the annual designer competition. Last year, I managed to enter the final round with my “Traders’ Contest”. This called Argentum’s attention – and my Contest has become Hansa Teutonica.
What is this game about, what makes this game so special?
AS: The special thing about Hansa Teutonica is that it gives you a lot of freedom. Usually, in buildup games, certain actions are forbidden and the players can bypass these prohibitions by their own development. In Hansa, there are very few prohibitions at the beginning and there are a lot of ways to victory. During your first games, you surely will develop preferences and some players will believe there is one golden path to victory. Be sure, however, with another group, the same strategy met its Waterloo.
When did you start work on the prototype? Could you tell us a little about the development process? What has changed since your first idea?
AS: This game had a rather unusual development process. At the beginning, it was a trading game in which all players were cruising on their ships in the Caribbean – this didn’t work and after some time I gave up. The game board was lying on the table, collecting dust, and whenever I passed by I had the feeling that you could play a game on it – a different one, in fact, but I had no clue which one (I also wanted to remove the dust, but didn’t do it). A good year later, after some other games piled up on it, I got my hands on it again and then it was only a matter of time.
Time is a relative value in game design, at least in my case. It’s “fermenting” for a very long time without any visible progress and then all of a sudden it goes ahead. So, one might say I’ve been working two years or three months on the game.
What are your current projects and are you already able to tell us which of your games at which publishers will be released in the future? Are you planning on self-publishing any future games again?
AS: Well, next year, one or two of my games will be published by “real” publishers, but I can’t tell you any more at the moment. Of course, they are all very good games on all accounts .
I’ll rather publish some heavier games on my own. At the moment, I’m thinking of a 3-player expansion for Power & Weakness.
Is there any particular theme you’d like to publish a game for?
AS: Chinese history and the evolution are still very interesting themes...
Finally, the inevitable question: What three games are your all-time favourites?
AS: It’s tough to name only three: Civilization (AH), Cosmic Encounter, Puerto Rico, SPQR, Hannibal (AH).
Thanks for the interview.