Interview with Walter Obert

em breve em português

« dreamwithboardgames »
« Walter Obert »

How did you come up with the idea to create “Strada Romana”?
I start to think the game mixing a comic strip of Asterix comic and a rush mechanic... then I rework all a lot of times.

Where do you get the ideas for your games? Do they start with the mechanics, or the themes?
Sometimes from the mechanics, more often from the themes. But only if the themes are striking and promising. I like to "cut" the game mechanics in more single parts and trying to joining them, for original results.

What kind of mechanics do you prefer to focus on the development process of your games?
I don't have a single kind of mechanic, my games are really different each other. If I feel a good game, I start to think about it on my idle time and when I found something good, I write it immediately, before the idea disappear.

Which level of luck is acceptable for you in a game?
When the luck is too deterministic, I don't like, I want to use the random factor as a possibility to make the game more varied. I dislike winning or losing a match for a single dice. But is some kind of games this is OK, like party or light games.

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 love to have 3-5 different projects in mind; when I get stuck on one, I can shift away to another. After some time, is easier to find a solution, from a different point of view.

Can you tell me anything about the project you are currently working on? Can you tell me any details about the game itself?
I try to make some more "serious" game, after some party game and family games. But is really difficult to find some new mechanics on this kind of complex games. I start to mix a civilization game with a tile placing mechanic. For the moment, I can't say more.

Your family and friends participate in your adventure to create a new game?
Yes, my family is the main victim :-)
I'm lucky to live in the Turin area, with a lot of smart gaming people as Gioca Torino crew, a great game promoting association. And I live near to talented designers like Andrea Chiarvesio (Kingsburg) and Andrea Mainini, Paolo Vallerga. We like to meet us on the greatest Italian game designers gathering, called IDEAG, every year in January in my hometown, Piossasco.

The creation of a game, have several moments? Creation, editing, testing and publishing? Which is the most pleasant for you? Why?
The most pleasant? The publishing, for sure. As many authors, I would want to see published my game the fay after the publisher's submission :-)
But all the phases are interesting, in different way.

How often do you play test a board game before publication?
I found this little boring. Luckily my games are not too complicated, so it's easy to test them. But simple is different from easy. I like to clean the core mechanism to have a well working game, and then add other things, checking how them works. This is not easy and requires a lot of playtest.

What game that you've designed took the longest and had the most changes?
Mmmm... I think Kragmortha. It's only a simple teen game, but it has demanded a lot of work to check all mechanics: movement, effects of the cards, spells, clean rules, etc. This is weird, because K. is the more silly game I have realized!

Once you give a game to a publisher do they ever develop the game past your original design? Are you always happy with such development?
I don't remember great work on my project. Usually publishers come to adjust some details (and it's right so) but not a big work for them on the mechanics.

How does the internet affect your designs? Do you read the feedback about your games online?
Yes, I read all of them I can find. Thanks, Google! Sometimes I'm not happy of what I read on my games, but I do not to answer. Internet has changed everything, as many other fields. It's possible to contact everyone in the business everywhere, and this is great, of course.

What do you think about playing board games online?
It's a great way to waste a lot of working time! Without them I can make six to ten games par year. Seriously, I found them a good way to know board games to the people. If a game is well known, is easier to buy it.

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?
I don't like to play my games. Maybe I've played them too much. I prefer to play games of others. The most part of my ludotheque is composed of untouched games, and I trying to reduce them but it's a losing battle.

You play games time to time, or the games are part of your daily life?
I play daily for one-two hours, in different ways.

Can you tell me the game you enjoy playing the most? Why?
At this time I love to play to Stone Age. One of more beautiful game I've tried. I like to have the right number of interesting choices every turn, and it's interesting to see what other players do when you don't playing.

Can you tell me your favorite game? And your favorite type of game?
I don't have a favorite kind of game. Every good game can be ok with the right people in the right mood.

Do you prefer play the games or create them?
Difficult to answer, play and create are very different things. Maybe play.

Do you think sales are a determining factor of whether a game is good or not?
Publishers making games for sell them, for sure. Some kind of games are easier to sell, other kind have a target more difficult. But a good game must to be sell, this is a rule for all.

When did you realize that create games were your dream?
I'm starting to publish game on some popular magazine. When I see some people to phone me asking for the game, I understand the pleasure to see people enjoying with my works. And see my name on the cover is amazing, too!

How do you define yourself as a game designer?
I have published too few games for define a style. I design mainly two kinds of games: filler and party games, and family games. it would appeal to me to make children and "gamers" games, but it's too difficult.

Do you have another job, or you are a full time game designer?
No, I'm a graphic designer in the packaging industry. There are truly little game designers full time (that live from this work)

Will you be present in Essen with “Strada Romana”?
Yes, of course. I will be on Gamesinitaly and Rio Grande booth, and some other publishers with other games. It's a pleasure for me to show the game to the players. The game exit in the Italian shops in these days.

Do you normally follow any particular game designer with especial attention?
I like to see the works of some of my italian friends. Between them, Paolo Mori (Vasco da Gama, Ur), Acchittocca (Egizia, Leonardo), Emanuele Ornella (Assyria, Hermagor), Leo Colovini (Isla Canaria, Cartagena), Maggi, Nepitello, Di Meglio (Age of Conan, War of the Ring), Angelo Porazzi (Warangel) Andrea Angiolino (Wings of War) and many others like Piero Cioni and Andrea Chiarvesio. And the French freinds, like Bruno Cathala, Sebastien Pauchon, Christophe Boelinger, Bruno Faidutti, Antoine Bauza.

Do you think that board games can be use for an education purpose?
Not directly. The games have his own educative value in itself. It very bad writes on the box "educative game", because children drop it after 2 minutes if the game is not good.

What you think about the economic crisis? It will affect the games sales?
I hope it's good for us. Board games are more economic and with a great re-playability value then videogames. Are more social, too. I see too much publishers on the market, and may be the crisis will cut the most weak of them. Some publishers like Cocktail Games produce only smart, economic, funny games and 2009 it's OK for them.

The “Age of Empires III” and “Goa” board games retract the glorious days of Portugal history.
Do you think that Portugal history can be a theme for a game made be you?
Yes, why not? History is a mine full of good themes and Portugal is a wonderful country, so why don't make a game about it?

What you know about Portugal? Have you ever visited Portugal?
I never go to P. but it's on our wish list for the holidays. We are Mediterranean people and some things are common to us: when I think Portugal I see long, white beaches and the Atlantic sea, hot wind, dunes, nice little towns, smell of sparkling wines, Fernando Pessoa lyrics, Nelly Furtado songs. My daughters think to Cristiano Ronaldo, too ;-)

Thank you very much for the interview.
Thank to you for the attention, Ciao, WO

English RulesGames initaly

2 comentários:

Unknown disse...

tá fixe!
tenho curiosidade em jogar o jogo!

Anónimo disse...

I hope I can see you in Essen...