Interview with Carl De Visser

em português

«Carl De Visser»

How did you come up with the idea to create “Endeavor”?
The most important bit of the idea was collaborating with Jarratt. We both had played around with designing games, but once we started working together it came together very well. The initial ideas for the game content came from me. Once we decided to work together I mentioned an idea I liked but I had been unable to do much with myself. Not much of that original idea survived the design process aside from the seperate regions.

Where do you get the ideas for your games? Do they start with the mechanics, or the themes?
Ideas have never been a problem. I have many more ideas than I know what to do with. It is almost always theme that comes first for me. It tends to provide something to give an initial shape to the rules. I'd love to design an abstract, something like a Kris Burm game, with no theme, but I have not yet been able come up with a full game without some kind of theme to pin an initial set of rules on.

What kind of mechanics do you prefer to focus on the development process of your games?
I love the way different mechanics can interact, so I guess the answer is interlocking mechanics would be the answer here. With Endeavor, Jarratt and I had a lot of discussions about how to change the mechanics of the game. As we pretty much had a full hour discussion before making each change we needed to be very focused about how we did it. We determined a core set of mechanics that were most important and changed everything else (the token control and tracks), and then looked at which elements were closest to that core and which ones were least dependant on other elements. Then we basically worked our way outwards to the most peripheral and changeable elements.

When did you realize that create games were your dream?
Very early on. I grew up ina game playing household, and I was fascinated by pretty much any game. When I was 10 I discovered role-playing-games, where creation is such a large part of the game.

Which level of luck is acceptable for you in a game?
Some games seem better with luck than others. I do love luckless games, like the 18xx games and abstracts. Games with no luck component seem more pure somehow. However if luck fits the game I don't mind. I love Nexus Ops for example, it has luck all through it but it works so well with the game.

How many games do you work on at one time? Are you working on several designs simultaneously, or do you work solely on one project?
I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of partially finished designs. I tend to be fairly bad at seeing them through. Working on Endeavor really helped me with discovering what some of the later stages of game design are, and now Jarratt and I are both working on our own designs. We do still want to work on some combined projects, as well.

Can you tell us anything about the project you are currently working on? Can you tell me any details about the game itself?
Most of the things I was working on are on hold while I am doing an online game design course being run by Ian Schreiber (details here: It is very interesting and really firing my creative juices.

How often do you play test a board game before publication?
Well, the only one gotten to publication so far is Endeavor, and it was tested many, many times. I really do with we had more chance to test with a variety of players. We tended to get the same sets of people doing the testing, with only a few full blind tests. I suspect more testing is always going to pay of for a game, I can't imagine a circumstance where playtesting would ever really be enough.

What game that you've designed took the longest and had the most changes?
That would be Endeavor

How do you define yourself as a game designer?
I'd love to be a professional designer, but I think I have some more effort to put in before that could happen. Right now I'd define myself as an almost published game designer.

Your family and friends participate in your adventure to create a new game?
Many of my friends are game players, so they certainly have. Often, however, when I am with them I want to try to newly released games so that can well take precedence over playtesting. My children are still young, 3 and 6 so they don't do much testing yet. My oldest has started designing games himself also. His most recent game is called "Tiger Eats the Numbers". It is a lot like war, with higher cards taking lower ones, except there are also tiger cards that take cards out of the game.

The creation of a game, have several moments? Creation, editing, testing and publishing? Which is the most pleasant for you? Why?
I like making rules, and getting to make changes that change the game greatly from play to play. It gets more like hard work as the game becomes more locked in, and the changes get smaller and smaller each time. At that point I do love testing to try break the game, basically finding degenerative strategies.

You play games time to time, or the games are part of your daily life?
They are part of daily life, but this year has been a busy one, and I have had much less time for board gaming. Whenever I board game less, computer gaming expands to fill any available time.

How often do you play your own games after they've been published? Do you prefer playing your own games or the games of others?
Well Endeavor isn't published yet, but once the game was set I have played it very rarely, just to demonstrate it. It is quite hard to play it, because I can't make dramatic changes to it anymore.

Can you tell me the game you enjoy playing the most? Why?
Can you tell me your favorite game?
Puerto Rico has been a firm favourite for a while. There is something very compelling with the rhythm of the turns, as well as the way the different possible strategies interact. I don't think any game has come close to it since it has been released. Of recent games I am seriosuly impressed with Imperial, In the Year of the Dragon and Race for the Galaxy. I have also been very impressed with 4th Edition D&D Traditional games that most entrance me would be Go and Bridge. In computer games it is RTS games and RPGs that take up most of my time.

And your favorite type of game?
From the above you can tell that I play a wide variety of games. Games with a civilisation theme of some sort probably count as favourite type.

Do you prefer play the games or create them?
Create them. But it is a close call.

You will present “Endeavor” in Essen?
Endeavor should be at Essen. Unfortunately, I will not be. Neither will Jarratt. I will try very hard to make it next year.

Do you think sales are a determining factor of whether a game is good or not?
If they are, I am sure it is not a strictly linear relationship.

Do you normally follow any particular game designer with especial attention?
Any new Martin Wallace always interests me. Other favourite designers are Reiner Knizia, Wolfgang Kramer and Rudiger Dorn.

Do you think that board games can be use for an education purpose?
Absolutely, but I tend to prefer games for games sake.

Do you have another job, or you are a full time game designer?
I am a Systems Engineer, doing what is generally called systems integration. This mostly involves messing around with computer systems, and talking to people about what they need to make their stuff work like they intended it to.

What you think about the economic crisis? It will affect the games sales?
I'm not sure what the net effect it, it seems to harm on one side and help on the other. People have less spare cash to spend on games, but they may also become a substitute for more expensive items. I suspect it means publishers will take less risks.

What you know about Portugal? Have you ever visited Portugal?
Most of what I know about Portugal, I learned when studying history at university. I know much less about present day Portugal.

Thank you very much!
Thank you for your interest!

EndeavorEnglish Rules
Carl De Visser Site
Carl De Visser BGG

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