Entrevista com os criadores de Kingsburg

Na sequência de um dos post que colocou à consideração de todos os abridores de jogo a orientação da entrevista a ser feita aos criadores de Kingsburg (Andrea Chiervasio e Luca Iennaco), surge agora o resultado dessas perguntas... as suas respostas, nas primeiras pessoas!


Antes de começar o blog JogoEu, gostaria de agradecer a vossa disponibilidade para responderem a algumas questões que vos queremos colocar e que estamos ansiosos por saber as respostas. Lembrar ainda que os utilizadores do site português de boardgames e RPG’s, abreojogo, tiveram um papel muito importante nas sugestões dadas para elaborar esta entrevista e ainda um agradecimento especial ao Vital Lacerta da Rede de Jogos, pelo seu entusiasmo e interesse. Esta entrevista é para todos vós. Disfrutem!


In the beginning, the JogoEu blog likes to thanks the disponibility of Andrea e Luca, the Kingsburg creators, for answer our questions. The portuguese board game fans are waiting with expectation this announced interview.

To know more about the game go here.


1 - JogoEu (JE) - O vosso objectivo foi sempre serem designers de jogos de tabuleiro?

1 – It was always your goal to create a boardgame?

Andrea: Both of us are addicted boardgame players. Luca thinks of himself more like just a gamer, while myself always had the dream of becoming a game designer, and already published an easy card game for kids Disney’s Quack Cards. Kingsburg prototype, however, was not born to be published, but just to create a nice game to play amongst us (too many dices and cubes to see it ever published, we thought!).

Luca: To create it, yes (but more in the sense of doing something because you feel that desire rather than to follow a project whose goal was that).
To see it published, no. In effect, I’ve been tinkering with the games I like (expanding and/or altering them with custom made rules, bits, etc.) since the early ‘90s. I do it to vent my fantasy and appeal my friends, not to create games for the market.

2 - JE – As vossas profissões estão relacionadas com o mundo dos jogos?

2 – Are your professions associated with the games world?


Andrea: I am been in the gaming world in the last 10 years. 5 years at Wizards of the Coast Italy, as Organized Play (tournaments and events) Manager first, Product Manager (for Magic:the Gathering & Star Wars TCG) later. Then I worked for Upper Deck (Yu-Gi-Oh!) and now I have a not gaming related job, but I also act as a freelance game designer and marketing consultant.

Luca: No. Games are my main hobby (and probably they benefit from being what I like to do and not what I have to do in order to get a salary. As long as they’re a passion, I’m pretty sure I’ll never get tired of them. Maybe it’d be the case even if they became my job... who knows!).

3 -– JE - Como surgiu a ideia inspiradora para Kingsburg?

3 - The Kingsburg game inspiration came from where?


Andrea: The basic idea and the first prototype was created by me about 2 years ago. I hate playing Settlers of Catan and losing because of really bad luck or because some other player is blocking all my ways to develop. And I don’t like early elimination and direct interaction in games. So I came out with this prototype and the main resource allocation dice based system. I showed it to Luca, and he improved it a lot by balancing the advisors, the buildings (adding new ones, too), the victory points, and introducing some nice little extra mechanics.

Luca: From Andrea. :)He had the idea of the game; I worked on it trying to remain faithful to that original concept.


4 - JE – A criação de Kingsburg demorou quanto tempo? Contem-nos brevemente como decorreu todo o processo criativo do jogo.

4 – How long did it take to create the Kingsburg? Can you tell us how was the creative process?


Andrea: I think the answer is in my previous reply. I am the creative mind, coming out with silly gaming ideas and mechanics (which seldom work). Then Luca is the problem solver and master of gaming balance, he finds the problems and the solutions and does all the maths. We play the revised game, and start discussing from there (if the game was not a total failure after this step).

Luca: I saw for the first time the prototype of the game that would have become Kingsburg on 3rd June 2006.

The creative process can be simplified saying that Andrea is the artistic side (having clever ideas) and I’m the scientific side (refining them into a balanced status), but of course it happens that I propose ideas and Andrea helps with the development.

When I tried the prototype, I liked its premises but wanted to improve it. Andrea asked me to work together on it and so we did. After each revision we playtested the game a number of times and then tried to identify (and solve!) anything unsatisfactory that we felt was still present. This could mean small changes (like removing a gold from the cost of a building), big ones (like adding a rule) or both. Then, we playtested the game some more times and repeated the process until we were satisfied (it took a number of interations!). However, all the major changes and additions (like the fifth row of buildings) happened in the first month or so; after that it was more a refining process than a creative one (even if at times we had to create something new in order to fix what we already had).

5 - JE - Como reagiu o público de ESSEN ’07 ao vosso jogo?

5 – How did the ESSEN’07 public react to Kingsburg?


Andrea: I was there all the time, and I was really pleased! I never expected to enter in the top positions in the Fairplay poll, or to see that many copies of our game around. Unfortunately, the only table where you could try the English version was the Stratelibri stand in booth 6 (very difficult to reach for many gamers). But seeing the German players having a lot of fun at the Truant and Ulysses booths was my best reward for the trip to Essen.

Luca: I followed the Fair via Internet and it seemed to me that Kingsburg was well received. Unfortunately, the high retail price for Essen standards (coupled with us being debutant designers on the Essen scene) discouraged someone to get it, but I hope that future positive feedback will make them reconsider their earlier decision. Above all, I’ll be satisfied if the people getting Kingsburg will enjoy playing it (and reports from Essen seem encouraging in this sense).

6 - JE – Que destacariam desta edição ESSEN ’07?

6 – What were, for you, the ESSEN’07 highlights?


Andrea: I had less time to play that I hoped, unfortunately. I managed to try Alea’s In the Year of the Dragon and I really liked the game. Cuba has excellent graphics and bits, and it’s a well balanced game. I also tried Hamburgum, probably the best roundel game (but I am not a fan of too much predictable and computational games). And I had great, great fun with Galaxy Trucker! I was not able to play Agricola (too much German on the cards), but there was really a lot of buzz about it, so I hope there is also a good game there. On the last day, I also bought League of Six and tried it at home: nothing really new, but this game is put together very nicely and works pretty well.

Luca: It is too early to say it, since I’ve yet to try so many titles! At the moment, the only one I feel to recommend is In the Year of the Dragon (by Feld / Alea). But I’ve expectations about several games, like Amyitis (by Damegd / Ystari) and Agricola (by Rosenberg / Lookout); when it’ll be released in a language I can understand).

7 - JE – De todos os designers, qual ou quais, aquele(s) por quem têm maior admiração? Porquê?

7 – From the entire game board designer’s world, who do you admire the most?


Andrea: wow, this is a though question! I have a great feeling with all Stefan Feld’s games, we probably share the same view on what we like in games. Almost the same about Dirk Henn, and also Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler are designers I really admire. Amongst Italian designers, I have to say that the (Di Meglio / Moggi / Nepitello) team always gives me games I fall in love with (War of the Ring, Marvel Heroes), and I admire the versatility of my friend Walter Obert (Chang Cheng, Star System, Kragmortha, HistoryCoach and many others) and the cleanness of my other friend Paolo Mori gaming mechanics (UR).

But, really, there a lot of other games I really love and so many good designers out there, that a full answer to this question would require a lot of time and space from my side!

Luca: Wolfgang Kramer (especially when coupled with Richard Ulrich). However, since my favourite games are from a lot of different people (my current Top 10 showcases 9 different designers), I admire greatly each of them even only for conceiving that single game, but if I start to list them all this answer would lose some meaning, wouldn’t it?

8 - JE – Já têm novos projectos? Podem desvendar algum pormenor?

8 – Do you have new projects in hands? Could you reveal something?


Andrea: Since I think to myself more as a freelance artisan than a game author, I work mostly on project I am hired to develop. I just finished to design a Trading Card Game called Wizards of Mickey under Disney’s license for an Italian company named New Media. It’s a big, very ambitious project, which somehow is going to slow down my boardgames development at the current stage. But we’re working together with Luca to a couple of other things, so new things to come, yes!

Luca: Of course I’ve new projects. I just do not have them for the sake of publication (remember answer #1 - I do it to vent my fantasy and appeal my friends, not to create games for the market.). Well, a few of them COULD see publication (like those done in partnership with Andrea) one day or another. Time will tell. (It is too early to reveal anything, but if you’ll still want to hear more in the future, I’ll remember of you... ;).

9 – JE – Pensam criar expansões para o jogo?

9 – Will you create expansions to the game?

Andrea: It’s difficult to add something to the game without touching its balance. We’ll release variant rules any soon, yes. And Luca already did a lot of development for an extended version of the game, not really an expansion, instead a deeper and wider game on the same theme and with the same basic mechanics. If the basic game will be successful, who knows? :)

Luca: I don’t think so. Kingsburg doesn’t lend itself too well to expansions (and for sure there are none in development right now). But some projects related to Kingsburg are currently being elaborated (Extended Kingsburg is the one I’ve devoted most of my time to).

10 - JE – Como é a realidade do hobby (jogos de tabuleiro) em Itália?

10 – How is the board game panorama in Italy?


Andrea: Italian people really love games, but they are more inclined to card games (Italy is like the 3rd / 4th market in the world for Trading Card Games). In the boardgames industry, Italy has been penalized for a long time by a deep fracture between the mass market companies (the ones making and selling games like Risk! or Trivial Pursuit) and the hobby market ones. Due to this, great gateway games like Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride were never able to reach a wider audience, wasting a lot of potential. And this makes the hobby market really small if compared to countries like France or England (not to mention Germany, of course). Now we are finally seeing the first small signals that this wall could be brought down (mass market companies starting to publish games from designers like Knizia or Teuber), so what more do I have to say? The future can only be brilliant, since there is a lot of room for improvement!

On the positive side, I also must notice that the Italian creative soul is spawning many good Italian game designers those days, sometimes you could think we have more designers than gamers (or maybe every Italian player is a potential designer in his heart?).

Luca: Desolating, but improving. Boardgames are still a niche hobby many persons simply aren’t aware of. There are signals of improvement, so there’s hope (but nowadays the average Italian thinks of the boardgames as during the ‘80s. The whole German renaissance generated by Catan in the ‘90s and the more recent American renaissance are still unknown by the people here.).

11 - JE – Que conselheiro(s) gostariam de deixar à comunidade portuguesa de boardgamer’s?

11 – What message do you like to send to the portuguese community of board games?


Andrea: First of all, thanks a lot for caring about Kingsburg, which I really would love to see in a Portuguese version. Then enjoy playing! And bring down walls between games! Players of Risk!, miniature games, wargames, role playing games, party games, Settlers of Catan, chess, backgammon or Caylus and Puerto Rico, we all share the same passion and the same hobby! Promote the hobby, create new gamers, don’t waste time in fanatical religious wars trying to attest your kind of games are the best ones, but try to spread the fun we all feel when we play! (ok I have to admit this sounds a lot like players of the world, unite!, but I am very passionate about promoting the hobby!)

Luca: It doesn’t matter what you play, but HOW you play it. Enjoy your time!

Thank you very much for you consideration and kindness and see you soon! Good luck for sales!