Six Degrees: The Second Edition

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 …

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Bruno Faidutti: Professor of Chaos

Knucklebones CoverThis 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.

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Three Collaborative Designers: Faidutti, Colovini & Schacht

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.)

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Schools of Game Design

Last week I talked about three game designers, classifying and categorizing their works. This week I want to move a step up the food chain, and instead talk about schools of game design — to once more try to categorize, classify, and index.

The central idea is that game designs can — as with most creative works — be grouped into schools of design, each with their own character and their own quirks. In the modern gaming world, I believe there are four broad schools of design — mainstream, Anglo-American, Euro, and hybrid — though each of those schools also has sub-schools within them, which I’ll be covering after my summary of each category.
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