14 Nov 2009

Comment from an enthusiastic player

I've got a lovely comment on Batt'l Kha'os. Here is the full text in Dutch. Translation at the end.

Ik heb je nieuwe spel "Battl Khaos" al een paar keer gespeeld. Inclusief een paar solo-partijtjes.
Om eerlijk te zijn...
Ik vind het erg goed.
Het simpele idee en de duidelijke setting geven dit spel veel charme.
"Saboteur" is waarschijnlijk je grootste hit maar niet mijn favoriet.
Dan heb ik dit liever.
Het is ook één van de weinige spelen waaraan mijn vriendin wil meedoen. Dat is al een verdienste op zich.
En ik moest ook zeggen dat ze al twee keer gewonnen heeft.
Ik apprecieer de combinatie van het puzzelsysteem (à la Carcassonne) en de strategische dimensie van de power tokens.
De variabele mogelijkheid van power tokens en de extra tegels maken het spel gevarieerd genoeg om het te blijven spelen.
Je kan het moeilijk een zwaar spel noemen. Het is licht van regels en beperkt in tijd. Een halfuurtje volstaat.
Een gouden tip voor de casual gamer en een leuke hebbedingetje voor de hard-core fan. Er zit een snuifje geluk in (welke tegels trek ik en welke power tokens heb ik?), maar je moet toch het hoofd erbij houden als je wil winnen (als ik die tegel zo zet dan heb ik nu drie man voor mij, maar dan staan er ook 2 groepjes van 2 voor hem klaar en als hij dan een nieuwe toren aanlegt, dan heb ik wel die eerste, maar niet die nieuwe van 3 punten en hij.....)

In mijn verzameling van 300+ board- en cardgames heeft dit pareltje zijn plaats verdiend. Het past perfekt in de lijn "Spiele für Zwei" van Kosmos, ooit een verdienstelijke poging om speelbare en boeiende spellen te publiceren voor koppels.


Translation (abbreviated) : this game is great!

1 Nov 2009

Saboteur in Chinese

To promote the Chinese version of the game "Saboteur", I've made a video "how to play?".
The video is exclusively Chinese spoken (it was hard) with English subtitles (if you do not understand Chinese, but still want to know more about the game).

Please note that I've been assisted by Swea Tea, which helped me for script writing, camerawork, sound recording, lighting, dressing, schmink, coffee, moral support and last but not least pronunciation tips. Although she is a lovely pretty girl, she was too shy to stand in front of the camera. Therefore, we had to switch roles at the very last moment.
Maybe next time...

25 Oct 2009

How to play?

Mayfair Games has made an excellent video explaining how to play "Bacchus' Banquet".

27 Sept 2009

Spiele Hit in Austria

Excellent news.

Nicht zu Fassen, alias Cache Moutons, has been rewarded with the Austrian prize for Childern's games.

16 Sept 2009

Tips & Tricks

Suggestion :

As Batt'l Kha'os requires some tactical insight, it can be a little outbalanced between an experienced and novice player. The balance can be readjusted by allowing the experienced player to start with only 3 or 4 power tokens instead of 5.

Tactical advice :

  • Once you control the first 2 corners of one tower, you have a great advantage. When your opponent tries to capture the third corner, you can easily take the 4th corner and the majority.

  • Thus, when your opponent controls 2 corners of a tower, it is better to give it temporarily up and distract his attention by placing a new tower at another spot of the battlefield.

  • Placing new towers is an excellent way to open the game. If you fight tower per tower, the outcome depends much more of the tiles that you keep in your hand. If there are several towers to capture, you force your opponent to make choices as he can not attack on all places at the same time. Thus, if you think having a weak hand of tiles, place a new tower.

  • Use your power tokens to take control of towers and not of corners. If you use a power token to get a corner and you do not manage to capture the tower, your power token has been wasted.

  • Use your power tokens before the end of the game. Frequently, the game accelerates towards the end, giving you not enough opportunities to use your power tokens in an efficient way.
  • Towards the end of the game, you can count how many turns each player needs to win the game. The player who has the advantage at that moment, is very difficult to beat.

Good luck with these few tips.

11 Sept 2009

How to play?

Eric Hanuise has made a nice video to explain the basics of the game Batt'l Kha'os.
You will recognize my son as an orc (the smallest one). Enjoy.

Il a également réalisé une version française.

6 Aug 2009

Batt'l Kha'os release

Z-man Games, an American publisher, has released Batt'l Kha'os, a new game which I've co-developped with Eric Hanuise.
The game is an abstract duel with square tiles containing knights and orcs. The objective is to control towers by gaining the majority of the corners.
Check the website of Z-man Games for the full rules or Boardgame geek for a translation.
Designed as a 2 player game, it is nevertheless quite easy to play it with more players.
Here are the special rules to adapt the game for 4 players :
  • The players form 2 teams of 2 players. Each player gets 3 tiles in his hand and 3 power tokens (instead of 5).
  • Players alternate turns. First, one orc player plays his turn, then one knight player. After this, the other orc player plays his turn and the other knight player last. Then, a new turn begins, always in the same order. Power tokens can only be used by the controlling player.

With 3 players, the special rules are quite similar.

  • Now, there is one team of 2 players and one of one player. The single player gets 6 power tokens instead of 3.
  • The single player plays twice per turn while his opponents only once per turn.

30 Jun 2009

Pressconference in Berlin

Here a few pictures of the pressconference on July 29th 2009.

The president of the Jury hands over the nomination award to the editor and myself.

All nominated games in a row. As you can see, Nicht zu fassen is standing very close to the winning game (at the right).

The wolf and myself in front of the presentation stand of the game.
"Nicht zu fassen" can still compete for other prices.
Particularly interesting is the Deutscher Spiele Preis, where the public can vote.
So, if you think that "Nicht zu fassen" deserves a price, please participate in the voting.
You must fill in the name of the editor, which is Zoch. Attention, the site is only in German language.

25 May 2009

Nomination for "Kinderspiel des Jahres"

"Nicht zu Fassen" alias "Cache Moutons" for the French, has been nominated for the German Children's Game of the Year. At the end of the month, the final decision of the Jury will be known.

Among all contests, this one is the most prestigious, especially for the "Game of the Year". To give childern's game a chance, the organisators have added a childern's price too, since 2001.
A nomination and even better the first prize is much envied in Germany.
In contrary to contests for game designs where authors are rewarded, this contest is a reward for the game as a final product : not only the concept of the game, but also how the game is realised : the clarity of the rules, the design of the game box and its components.
In this regards, Zoch Spiele, the editor, did an excellent job and I'm very glad about it.

9 Apr 2009

How to playtest your game designs ?

You have a brilliant idea and you want some feedback on it.

Here is a step-to-step plan how to proceed :

1. Go to your local pub and tell everyone that you are looking for some smart guys. Skip the first volunteer. He is drunk and useless for playtesting purposes.
2. Offer all your victims a drink. It is important that they start the test with a positive attitude.
3. Important : do not begin explaining the rules of the game right now. The folks are not paying attention anyway, they can't memorize all the details and they don't care a sh**t. Instead just start playing the game and explain what players must do when it is their turn to play.
4. During the game, interfere as much as possible. Give suggestions how to play, give strategical hints and explain why you love your own game so much.
5. Do not to forget telling some good jokes in order to create a happy feeling and relieve the tension (if someone gets upset from your ticks).
6. When you are hobbling behind, do not hesitate to suddenly change the rules in your favour. However, do it in a clever way. Tell the other players that you are just reminding an important rule. If they start complaining, just tell them that you are not playing, but playtesting a game and that changes are very common during a testing session.
7. When you have won the game (which should be evident, as you alone know the dirty little tricks how to win), offer everyone a new drink and ask in general how they have liked your concept. However, now you must be very talented. If they want to express a certain reservation, it is important to explain why the playtest has been a little outbalanced and is not representative : they had bad luck with the die rolls, they did not follow your advise in turn 1 or they simply do not have understood the key elements of the game. Do not tell them that you have expected to play with some smarter guys and that you are the one who is disappointed most. At this moment, you must use all your diplomatic skills.
8. Don't take notes. As you seldsom gets a usefull suggestion, it is not worthwile to spoil ink and time writing down some silly comments. Remember that you are the designer, not them.
9. Next, thank everybody for the nice evening and express the hope that they will buy your game once it will be published, which will occur soon. Do not tell that you will never ever want to play with those losers again. They just participated at your playtest for the free drink.
10. Finally, go the girl at the bar who was smiling at you during the whole evening and ask her : "Do you like playing games?". She might answer : "Depends which game...". Now, you can reply : "Follow me, sweetheart". When you hear the tickling of her high heals behind you, you can say to yourself "mission accomplished!".

Conclusion : for a successful playtest, check first if there are some nice girls at the bar, waiting upon a handsome man with brilliant ideas. If not, go to another pub.

22 Mar 2009

Spellenplezier Poker Championship 2009

Saturday March 21th 2009 :
While my opponents are joking, I'm wondering if I will call or raise. Ace-King. Let them laugh, I take the next pot.

My son (the youngest participant among the 70 competitors) had bad luck. He is sitting next to a pro, who has already taken most of his chips.

My son is out of the game due to his neighbour. Time for revenge.
I've just managed to kick off the pro from the table, which costs him 50 € for losing a bet with another pro. With a big stack in front of me, I'm ready to join the final table.

There, my luck ran out and I stranded at the 6th place. Nevertheless, I won 2 positions compared to last year (where I finished 8th with 50 competitors).

It's 3 o' clock in the morning and time to drive home to my lovely wife who is chilling in bed, waiting upon me.

27 Feb 2009

How to play?

My kids and I have made a video where we explain how to play "Nicht zu fassen" alias "Cache Moutons".


24 Feb 2009

Advanced game play

The first reactions on the game are very enthusiastic.

Here are some suggestions how to improve the game fun (chaos) when playing with "big" kids :

  • Play the game with the most players as possible : even 7 players work fine.
  • Select the most "wolfish" player to start playing as the wolf.
  • Place the finger-puppet on your little finger as your forefinger will be too large. Use the puppet in any case. It adds an extra "fun" dimension to the game.
  • The wolf may count faster from 1 till 10 or counts only from 1 till 5.
  • When he has finished counting, the wolf must quickly turn his head back towards the table.
  • He must growl like a wolf when sniffing against the hide-outs (use your imagination).
  • Play the game in rounds to allow each one to become the wolf once.
  • The goats require only 6 stones instead of 7 to win the game (especially suggested with 5 to 6 players).

Have fun!!!

19 Feb 2009

How to sell a game concept?

You have worked hard on a game and now it is finished. You want to get your brilliant idea in a box and you do not know how...

It is not as difficult as you might think.

Here, for the first time, I explain how you must proceed. It works well, as I can testify. Even better, it works always if you follow exactly the following steps.

Step 1 : Identify a publisher which might be interested in your concept.

Step 2 : Send a brief description of the game to the big boss. Do not waste your time with employees. You go for the quick hit.

Wait a week.

Step 3 : As you got no answer, call the boss to check if he got your description. He will say "no" (which means that he has thrown away your description) and you tell him that you will send your brilliant idea right away. Hang up the phone before he can say "no" again.

Step 4 : Send your game and wait 3 months.

Step 5 : Call the boss again and ask him when he is going to publish your game. He will answer : "I'm very sorry, but I passed your game to the "chief game concept acquisition manager" and I got no feedback yet. He will contact you as soon as he has some info." In fact, his wife (who is also his secretary) has intercepted your game and she has tried to put your box on top of the shelf, which resulted in an avalanche of not-evaluated gameboxes. Several components were mixed, but she managed to fill up the boxes again as "equal" as possible.

Six months later...

Step 6 : You get your game (at least some components) back with the message "Unfortunately, the game does not fit into our collection. We wish you luck...".

Step 7 : On a game fair where your publisher has a booth, you decide to launch your secret weapon : your attractive girlfriend will force a breakthrough. The meeting lasts long. You start to panic and see her (in your mind) performing a lap-dance in front of the boss. Of course, you must accept some sacrifice and you wait the outcome of the meeting. At your surprise, the guy who is smiling at your girlfriend when she is leaving the meeting box, is not the boss, but his son. The whippersnapper.

Step 8 : Next year, you change your tactics. Seduction has not worked. Therefore, you invest in strong-arm methods. Flanked by 2 friends (recruited among the doorkeepers of your local dancing), you arrive in force at the booth of your favourite publisher. You ask with a calm and self-assured voice to the pretty lady at the reception desk : "How do you like my game?". She answers : "I don't know. I will ask the boss." When the boss arrives, he answers to your question (after looking in the eyes of your 2 fellows) : "Very interesting, I will have a second look."

Step 9 : Next year, you still have no news of your game. By despair, you participate at a game designer's contest. By chance, you get the first price among 200 competitors.

Step 10 : A week later, you get a phone call from your friend (the boss) : "Your game is brilliant and I take it. Why did you never showed it to me before?". You are too astonished to find the right answer and stammer : "Thank you very much, mister. I do no know what to say, mister".

Conclusion : To sell your game idea, you just need to have one publisher who finds that your game is brilliant. It might take a few years, but who cares...

Test your game designing skills

You want to know if you have the potential to become a good game designer?
This simple test gives you the answer.

Question 1 : What is your favourite game?
a) Goose game
b) Monopoly
c) Saboteur

Question 2 : You have lost a game. What do you think?
a) I made more mistakes than the others.
b) The winner had a lot of luck.
c) This game sucks. Never again.

Question 3 : You won a game. What do you think?
a) Who cares? Let's play another game.
b) I had a lot of luck.
c) I'm so brilliant. Excellent game.

Question 4 : What is your favourite dish?
a) worst met rode kool (sausage with red cabbage)
b) steak nature
c) grilled lobster

Question 5 : You go on holiday. What don't you want to forget at home?
a) Your laptop
b) Paper and pencil
c) Your sexy bikini suit

Question 6 : What's your sex?
a) None of your business
b) Male
c) Female

Question 7 : What's your age?
a) Older than 35
b) Between 25 and 35
c) Younger than 25

Question 8 : What are your sizes (bust, waist, hips)?
a) 120 - 101 - 125
b) 100 - 85 - 110
c) 85 - 59 - 81

Question 9 : What is your dream?
a) To become rich
b) To design games
c) To meet you as quickly as possible

Answers :

You have the most A's : Go playing darts, game designing is not your thing.

You have the most B's :
Go playing with the other pal. He doesn't like to play alone.

You have the most C's : Please contact me on Facebook. We need to talk, sweetheart.

17 Feb 2009

The original prototype

Here you can see a picture of the original prototype. Like you can see, the final components are very similar to the original concept. The graphics are improved. The foam goats has been replaced by wooden pieces and the footprint counters by stones. A nice finger-puppet has been added. The editor has done a wonderful job.

12 Feb 2009

What's inside the box?

You get 7 furniture pieces in cardboard, 1 Wolf box, 1 Wolf finger puppet, 31 wooden cubes and 11 cute wooden little goats.

Sales Saboteur are booming

The sales figures of the game Saboteur have arrived and I'm very glad to announce that the cape of 200 000 copies have been rounded. The game is on the market since 2004.

Last year, the sales have increased by 60 % compared to the sales of 2007. More than 60 000 copies have been sold during one year, which means an average of 170 copies per day or 7 copies per hour. Not bad for such a small game, isn't it.

Of course, the sales have boomed thanks to the worldwide distribution of it. The latest new market is South-Africa.
The bulk of the sales (60 %) have been achieved in Germany and France. The first thanks to the excellent distribution of the editor Amigo Spiele and the latter thanks to the nice presentation in a metal box of Gigamic.

9 Feb 2009

Back from Nuernberg

Nuernberg is the biggest Toy Fair of the world where all professionals gather together to make business in the game industry.
This time, I was very proud to attend the fair as two new games were presented : one being published by Zoch Spiele with an excellent reputation for quality games and the other being published by IQ Ideas a smart publisher of New Zealand starting to conquer the world from an unexpected direction (from a European point of view).
The feedback on both games appeared to be very positive, which confirmed the enthusiastic response of the people who got the opportunity to play-test the games.
So, you will soon hear more about it.

The Toy Fair is also an opportunity to present new game ideas and to check how far existing projects are progressing. Despite the crisis and the difficult economic situation, which is also affecting the game business, I got very encouraging feedback and I can inform you now that new games are coming to the market in the near future. Unfortunately, it is not my task to communicate about it and you will have to be a little patient until the concerning publishers start promoting their future releases.

27 Jan 2009

The Game box

Here you see the game box. Note that the German title is different from the French one.

The game will be released next month simultaneously in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.

10 Jan 2009

Where is this about?

This picture shows a part of a new game-box illustration. As the game is still in preparation, you can start guessing where the game is about.