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 …
Eurogames have gotten a lot more Italian in the last few years, and that’s formed the basis of a spotlight on Italian game design this week and last.
Last week I started things off with an analysis, talking about style of design and the connectivity of the designers. This week I’ve put together a reference, listing Italian game awards and Italian game companies … plus a fun geographical listing of Italian-themed games, whether they’re Italian-designed or not.
Again, thanks to Andrea Ligabue for comments. He gave me the most help in this part of the article, in the section on Italian game companies. Also, thanks to everyone who offered comments on the first article, especially Andrea Angiolino, Frank Branham, Bruno Faidutti, Paolo Mori, and Angelo Porazzi. You all helped to make this second part better researched and more comprehensive.
In the last few years we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of Italian games being produced and being made available in America. A lot of this is due to the hard work of Mayfair Games, Z-Man Games, Fantasy Flight Games, and to a lesser extent Rio Grande Games in getting Italian games to the American market, but I think we’re also seeing a new flood of Italian creativity, a renaissance if you would.
Over this week and next, I’m going to look at this Italian creativity, offering up my best outsider’s view of the Italian game design scene. First up I’m going to discuss some of the more analytical stuff, featuring a look at the character of Italian game design and the network of Italian game designers.
Thanks to Andrea Ligabue, who’s contributions to BoardGameNews gave me some insights for this article, and who was also kind enough to read early copies of these articles and to offer comments, clarifications, and additions.
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.)
“Reiner Knizia,” Eric said.
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.