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Links: SdJ Offers Scholarship, Fraga on Egg Sales & Alexander Pfister Calls Me Out

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Lazy Sunday reading:

• The Spiel des Jahres committee is taking applications for its 16th annual Spieleautoren-Stipendium (game designer scholarship). The winner receives internships at both a large- and small-scale publisher in Germany, an internship at the personal studio of designer Jens-Peter Schliemann, €3,000 to pay for expenses while traveling to these internships, and other benefits. Previous recepients of the Stipendium include Sébastien Pauchon, Matthias Prinz, and Ulrich Blum. Applications must be received by May 16, 2011, and applicants must attend the game designer conference in Göttingen (to be held June 4-5) and display at least two games.

• Designer Roberto Fraga shares sales figures for Eiertanz, aka Dancing Eggs, with Spanish site Jugamos Tod@s. Nearly a quarter-million copies sold since its debut in 2003, with France being the best market and Germany not far behind. Of interest for those in the U.S. and other English-speaking locations, the article notes that Fraga has regained rights to sell the game in the North American market from HABA and is searching for a new publisher. Who wants to handle the eggy-weggs?

• Christian Wilson interviews designer Richard Launius at Meepletown, touching on his design philosphy and what you might see from him on game store shelves in the next twelve months.

• On Tric Trac, Cédrick Caumont from Repos Production gives an early look at the Ghost Stories iPad app in development.

• Tom Gurganus interviews Chris Cieslik from Asmadi Games about the founding and evolution of his company. Interesting quote from Cieslik: "I was a member of GAMA for a year. It provided me with exactly zero value, and so I am no longer a GAMA member."

• On Opinionated Gamers, Jonathan Degann has a juicy post on the "Frustration Factor" – the mirror image of the "Fun Factor" that so many reviewers feel compelled to reference/create/postulate about when they review a game. An excerpt:

Being bogged down in a game is always frustrating – whether it was caused by poor play, bad luck, or other circumstance. Still, a situation always seems worse when it was caused by circumstances out of our control. So many Eurogames involve elements of luck, and yet sometimes the luck is really bothersome and sometimes we accept it. When does luck seem to be acceptable in a game?

My belief is that the distinction is between "luck" and "risk". "Luck" is part of the environment of the game which you don't control but which you must put up with. It imposes itself on you. "Risk" is luck that you accept as part of your game decision.

• Old news, but something I missed earlier: Founding Fathers is coming to both Vassal and online gaming site, according to publisher Jim Dietz.

• A March 22 news item on ICv2 lists game publishers which are owed more than $100,000, a list that includes Flying Frog and Hasbro.

Michael Schacht's Shanghaien is now available in beta version on online gaming site Yucata.

• In a March 18 BGG News post, I mentioned a two- and three-player variant for The Mines of Zavandor from designer Alexander Pfister, but the post was in German and some commenters were left in the dark. Well, Pfister has now posted that variant in English and perhaps to get my attention he titled the post – wait for it – "W. Eric Martin". Mission accomplished!
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