A seguir apresenta-se uma pequena entrevista com Klaus Ottmaier, um dos gerentes da Argentum Verlag. Nela Klaus conta-nos, com pormenor, os novos jogos que a sua editora apresentará em Essen este ano e dá palpites em relação ao vencedor do Spiel des Jahres. De momento só foi possível apresentar a entrevista em inglês, esperamos traduzi-la em breve…
1 – Could you tell us about the Argentum Verlag history? As and when it was born, objectives, best projects…
Argentum was founded in 2004 by Roman Mathar and two friends. Since 2005 Roman Mathar alone managed Argentum. At the end of 2008 Nadine Pick and I began to support Roman. And another very important person is Dennis Lohausen, the illustrator of the last four games who meanwhile also illustrates games for Amigo, Adlung, Schmidt and Pegasus.Till now 8 games were published: UFOs! Fritten aus dem All (Petra
Brandenburger, 2004), Metallurgie (Maik Hennebach, 2004), Gartenzwerge e.V. (Roman Mathar, 2004), Seenot im Rettungsboot/Lifeboats (Ronald Wettering, 2006), Top oder Flop (Martin Schlegel, 2006), Jagd nach dem Gral (Eric Solomon, 2007), 1001 Karawane (Roman Mathar, 2007), Wind River (Dirk Liekens, 2008).
The games with the biggest success were Gartenzwerge e.V. and Seenot im Rettungsboot.
2 – Have you new games to present Essen 2009?
Yes, if everything is going well we publish 2 new games, one small card game that even families can play and one big game for players and advanced family game players.
3 – Could you tell us more about the prototyps presented in the Herne?
We showed and tested our prototypes in Herne. Some details:
The card game:
The title will be Santa Timea. It is the name of the ship that sunk in “Seenot im Rettungsboot”. So it is a joke for insiders.
We wanted to publish a small card game which could be placed thematically near our big successful game Seenot. The author is Dirk Liekens who is also the author of our last game Wind River. It is his third published game (The second was Sumeria published by Reiver Games). The illustrator of course is Dennis Lohausen.
It belongs to the trick-taking game family. Every round a card showing a more or less sinking ship with a definite wind direction is shown (as two more such cards are shown in order to know what the next wind direction will be). The players have cards with members of the crew. Important information on the card is the wind direction and the value ranging from 1 to 14. If you play the same wind as shown on the ship card the value on the card is taken. If you play a card with a wind that is turned 90° (e.g. the ship card shows north wind and you play the east or west wind) then just the half of the shown value of the card is taken. If you play the wind of the opposite direction (e.g. north wind shown and you play a south wind card) then the value of your card is reduced to 0.
The player with the lowest value gets the ship card; the player with the highest is the next starting player. If two players have the lowest value the ship card passes on to the player with the next lowest value. After 12 tricks the game is over.
Important: On the ship cards there are numbers from 1 to 3 and these are penalty points. The player with the most penalty points gets the least scoring points, the player with the least penalty points the most victory points. So you try not to get any ship cards. But if you get ship cards of the same wind direction you can reduce your penalty points or even win extra scoring points. But do not get to many ship cards because for a set of 4 you get a minus scoring point.
So it is a small fun and nasty game because the players always try to get some good ship card combinations and try to give the rest of the ship cards the other players…
The big game:
To my mind it is very good game with a lot of really interesting options of interaction between the players. It can be played in 60-75 minutes, there is no luck in the game, the players have a tremendous variety of options how to be successful but nevertheless the 5 different action options are easy to learn.
1) You can place a merchant on a trade route between two cities (On each trade route there are 2 to 4 places for merchants.). Very interesting: You have 26 merchants and 4 bigger merchants with special abilities but just a small number of those merchants is available at the beginning.
2) You can take new merchants from the stock (because just the merchants in front of you can be placed on the board)
3) You can install a trade route. Therefore you must occupy every place of the trade route. Then you can take one merchant and place it in a bordering city as an office. Or you can improve your properties. See below. All the used merchants go into the stock from where you have to collect them with another action.
4) You can relocate some of your merchants on the board
5) You can displace a merchant of another player. This is an important rule because if you want to install a trade route you have to be alone on that route. So if there is a merchant of another player you first have to displace him. This is good for your opponent because he can replace this merchant in addition with one more merchant from the stock on a bordering trade route but you have to put one of your merchants into the stock.
These are the 5 different actions a player can make. At the beginning he just has two actions. But improving ones properties means that you can increase your actions up to 5. You can also improve the number of merchants you can get from the stock in action 2. Or the number of merchants you can relocate on the board (action 4).
The game can end in two (perhaps 3, we are working on that) different ways. And then the players count their victory points. During the game you can collect victory points in six different categories (according to the improvement of your properties, cities you’re occupying, city-network, number of collected bonusmarker). You see there are a lot of different options for the players how to be successful beside a lot of interaction.
It is difficult to summarize the game in few words and especially to make clear what a full range of decisions the players can make. You must try the game to understand. But perhaps then it is too late and you will try again and again a new way to win the game.
4 – Who will be the winner of the Spiel this year?
You want to know which game will be the best in Essen 2009 or my tip for the winner of the “Spiel des Jahres” prize in Germany?
Well I really do not know. There will definitely be some really good games for us players in Essen as last year. You should not miss the new games by Uwe Rosenberg, Marc Gerdts, Martin Wallace, Ystari, Hans im Glück, Pegasus or Asmodee. And I can tell you the name of one game that will surely be very high in the ratings: Our “Wettstreit der Händler” (which will get another multilingual name).
If you want to know my “Spiel des Jahres” I say Fits. Everybody and every family with childern of 7 and older can play this nice game. On Monday we will know.
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