This is a reprint of an article written in October, 2006 for first publication in the March, 2007 issue of the now-defunct Knucklebones magazine. Because of its origins, this article is more introductory and (hopefully) more polished than many of my online writings. Despite the original source of this article, this blog is in no way associated with Jones Publishing or Knucklebones Magazine.
“And what I am bid for this fine replica Napoleonic sword? 5? 5? I have 5. 10? Do I hear 10? 10. 15? 15 to the lady in red. 20? Do I hear 20? How about 25?I have two 25s!”
Auctions are an element of modern life, from the cheap knockoffs being sold en masse at your local flea market, to the sale of Picasso’s “Dora Maar with Cat” last year, auctioned by Sotheby’s for $95 million. The ever-popular eBay is an auction service as are the zShops at Amazon, which jointly lower their prices until they find a sale point.
The point of an auction is simple: to allow multiple buyers to compete fairly for the purchase of a limited good — or alternatively to allow multiple sellers to compete fairly for a sale to limited purchasers. Auctions quickly achieve balance in a world of unequal supply and demand.
Because of the innate competition that they embody, auctions are also great systems to include in games. A few American classics feature them, but they’ve become even more popular among modern designer games.
The November 2006 issue of Knucklebones magazine contains my first article for them, “Professor of Chaos”, a biography on Bruno Faidutti and his games. I encourage you to take a look, and in the meantime here’s a complementary article to whet your appetite: a short review of every one of Bruno Faidutti’s English language games other than Knightmare Chess. (I’m not a chess fan.) Continue reading →
Based upon the hypothesis that game design is a particularly collaborative type of creativity, this February I posted an article I dubbed Six Degrees of Collaboration wherein I showed the interconnectivity of the game design world based upon who had done full-fledged collaborations with whom.
I was quick to discover that the center of my chart was Bruno Faidutti, a French game designer who had done work not with just other French designers, but also Americans, Germans, and Italians. He was the lynchpin that hung the whole world of game design together.
Since then I’ve been occasionally expanding and tweaking my chart, as interest and knowledge strike me. Bruno Faidutti’s central role hasn’t changed much. His 10 connections on the previous chart have expanded to 11 connections in this chart plus a pseudo-connection. However I’ve been able to fill in much of the periphery, discovering entire new game companies who connect back to Faidutti.
In the process I also learned a bit more about collaboration …
This is a reprint of an article written in May, 2006 for first publication in the November, 2006 issue of the now-defunct Knucklebones magazine. Because of its origins, this article is more introductory and (hopefully) more polished than many of my online writings. Despite the original source of this article, this blog is in no way associated with Jones Publishing or Knucklebones Magazine.
Eurogames have been rocking the U.S. game market for almost a decade now. Most of them have traditionally come from German designers like Reiner Knizia and Klaus Teuber. However an increasing number of Eurogames are being designed by one of Germany’s closest neighbors: France.
Bruno Cathala (Shadows over Camelot), Serge Laget (Mare Nostrum), and Christophe Boelinger (Dungeon Twister) are just a few of the notable French designers whose games are now being published in the United States, thanks primarily to Days of Wonder and Asmodee Editions. However, the vanguard of French game design is Bruno Faidutti, with some 30 gaming titles to his name.
Back in December I wrote an article on three game designers, and I’ll cop to lining up the usual suspects: Knizia, Kramer, and Teuber. They were easy to write about because I’ve played a slew of their games and I’ve played them many times.
I always intended that article to be the start of a series, however, and I was even more excited about writing about designers who weren’t quite as well known as the big three, because they’ve been less written about, and thus there’s more opportunity to be clever, insightful, and original.
This week I’ve decided to write about three collaborative designers, who also happen to come from three different countries: Bruno Faidutti (France), Leo Colovini (Italy), and Michael Schacht (Germany). They also all appear pretty centrally on my Six Degrees of Collaboration chart, with Colovini & Faidutti being two of the larger foci in the chart. (Writing this article was actually what got me started on that chart, which then took on a life of its own.)
We were at DunDraCon, working our way through a yearly alcoholic binge, and at the same time playing the newest geek-game, Six Degrees of Bruno Faidutti. I knew Eric thought he had me stumped, and not just because of the quirky smirk on his face. He knew — hell, we all knew — that Reiner Knizia had clearly and publicly stated that he didn’t do collaborations. He appreciated the heck out of his playtesters, but his core designs were his and his alone.
But I had something in my back pocket — a pair of serial collaborations that were easily overlooked. I’d been hoarding them all night waiting for just this opportunity.