Interview with Bruno Cathala

em português

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« Bruno Cathala »

How did you come up with the idea to create “Jamaica”?
Jamaica has an unusual story, as far as it was a "command" game. That means that a firm (an assurance company) pays us (Sebastien Pauchon, Malcolm Braff and me) to create a game for their 30 years! The only rules we had, was to create a nice and simple family game. That's the reason why we decided to design a race. It's easy to understand what to do and pirates were also the way to introduce nice pictures!

Where do you get the ideas for your games? Do they start with the mechanics, or the themes?
There is no definitive rule for that… Sometimes it comes from theme (Shadows over Camelot) sometimes it comes from mechanisms (Mr. Jack), but immediately after the first spark, I always try to find a good connection between mechanisms and theme.

What kind of mechanics do you prefer to focus on the development process of your games?
During the development, for me, I prefer to focus on gamers feeling... interaction... bluffing elements... strategy... whatever... but something that will be immersive enough for them.
When did you realize that create games were your dream?
When I was about 18 years old and discovered there was a life after Risiko and Monopoly!!! At this time I discovered a French paper (Jeux & Strategy) introducing me in the world of modern board games. They organized each year a designer contest, the winner being published. But I had no idea at this time... but the dream to become a game designer one day began there!

Which level of luck is acceptable for you in a game?
It’s depends ... in my opinion, luck factor must be connected to the length of the game: the shorter a game is, the most you can introduce luck in it. But it's difficult to accept to win or lose if you roll a 6 on a dice, after playing 3 hours on a strategy 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?
At this time, I’m involved in about 5 projects and I have new ideas coming....

Can you tell us anything about the project you are currently working on?
Difficult to tell anything… I would like to… but you know, publishers like to do their communication themselves, and I don't think it's good to speak to early about games....

How do you define yourself as a game designer?
Well... I don't define myself... I just try to always create the game I would like to play myself now... it's an egoistic way!!! lol

Are you a lonely game designer or your family and friends participate in your adventure to create a new game?
It's a mix of lonely work, test with friends and children’s (13 & 15), and testing sessions with other designers (Serge Laget, Bruno Faidutti, Sebastien Pauchon, Malcolm Braff, Ludovic Maublanc, Antoine Bauza)
The creation of a game, have several moments - creation, editing, testing and publishing - which is the most pleasant for you? Why?
I really like the creation process… because it's always a lot of enthusiasm. And i like the day where the game comes into the shops... because I’m always excited an afraid about gamer’s reactions.

You play games time to time, or the games are part of your daily life?
Life is THE game.... but what I don't like in this game is that you know you will lose at the end.

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?
It depends of games. For example, I’m playing Mr. Jack each day on (pseudo bdm)... I’m also playing MOW quite each day because my friends are asking for that when we are drinking coffee after eating.
And the games I prefer are... the one I like to play, never mind if i worked on them or not.

Can you tell me the game you enjoy playing the most? Why?
Tzaar, Dvonn.... I really like abstract clever and simple games like these ones. And I think it's a piety that publishers don't want to publish more of these games

Can you tell me your favourite game? And your favourite type of game?
Well… hard to answer... I like a large variety of games
Do you prefer play the games or create them?
Do you normally follow any particular game designer with especial attention?

Do you have another job, or you are a full time game designer?
Since 2004, I’m full time game designer after having been fired from my R&D engineer work in the industry....

Do you think that board games can be use for an education purpose?
Yes, it can be a good support.

How have your games changed over the last years? What have you learned to do and not do when designing?
I don't know if there are things to do or not to do... but I think that now I try to focus a game on a main mechanism, trying to keep it simple and attractive on a strategy point of view.

What you think about the economic crisis? It will affect the games sales?
Not sure it will affect sales... the first thing that will be crashed is budget for long trips, holidays etc… and if people stay at home, maybe they will have more time to play!

What you know about Portugal?
Well... if my answer is Christiano Ronaldo.... What are you thinking about me?? ;-))

Have you ever visited Portugal?
No... Sorry... I’ve never had this opportunity... but I would like to!

Thank you very much for your interview.
Thank you very much for your interest, and congratulations for your nice work on your website.

Bruno Cathala Board Games:

Animalia - 2006
Atlas & Zeus - 2004
Boomtown - 2004
Chicago - 2007
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects - 2006
Dice Town - 2009
Drake & Drake - 2002
Drôles de Zèbres - 2004
Fils de Samarande - 2005
Flinke Feger - Die magischen Pentagramme - 2007
Helvetiq - 2008
Iglu Iglu - 2004
Jamaica - 2007
Jamaica: Extra Treasures - 2008
Kamon - 2007
Lawless - 2003
Mission: Red Planet - 2005
Mow - 2008
Mr. Jack - 2006
Mr. Jack Extension - 2007
Mr. Jack: The - 2006
Paparazzi - 2006
Queen's Necklace - 2003
Senji - 2008
Shadows over Camelot - 2005
Shadows over Camelot: A Company of Knights - 2005
Shadows over Camelot: Merlin's Company - 2008
Sir Bedivere, the 8th Knight of Shadows over Camelot - 2005
Stonehenge: Nocturne Expansion - 2008
Tomahawk - 2006
Tony & Tino - 2002
War & Sheep - 2002
Wicked Witches Way - 2006

Bruno Cathala Website

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