W. Eric Martin
• Brothers Brian and Greg Powers are profiled in the Napa Valley Register upon the release of their first game: Pizza Theory from Gryphon Games. From the article:
The pizza theme was almost an afterthought, Greg Powers admitted. "We had all the rules to the game before it was pizza", he said. But because the game involves spinning a board, splitting sections into "slices", and adding game pieces to the divided sections, the "pizza" concept seemed a natural.
Now that's funny – Pizza Theory seems like it was built around the concept of turning competition for building the right pizza (something I'm familiar with from fighting with my brother) into a game, yet pizza wasn't even on their mind. If they hadn't said anything, I never would have guessed.
• Fréderic Moyersoen's Saboteur is now playable online in a beta version at Board Game Arena.
• Stronghold Games' mid-March 2012 newsletter mentions that company co-founder Kevin Nesbitt "has departed Stronghold Games to pursue other opportunities", but will continue to be the development lead for Article 27, Dan Baden's game about the UN Security Council that's due out in 2012.
• On MeepleTown, Christian Wilson interviews designer Michael Schacht, who says he picked up the game-designing bug after creating an expansion for Risk that added Antarctica to the game. There's hope for all of us! Interesting tidbits from the article:
-----–For Coney Island, "the original theme was Rome, located right after Nero had burned down the city."
-----– "There are so many extremely interesting complex games around; that's really great for us gamers. But dear designing colleagues, please don't forget about creating family games."
-----–And while answering which of his designs might not have received enough attention: "As there are so many releases nowadays, 99% of the games don't get the rewarded attention, and not only my games are meant. That leads to playing each game just once, which is really sad because some of the games need more than one play." Amen, brother.
• Speaking of Schacht, he has added both Mondo Sapiens (in a solo version) and Coloretto Amazonas (in a two-player-only version with modified rules) to his free online game site.
• If you're looking to throw your opinions onto the bonfire of a controversial subject, here's a post from BGG user tumorous relaying tweets from Reiner Knizia about implied claims by Fantasy Flight's Christian Petersen that David Sirlin copied Knizia's En Garde when releasing Flash Duel and the subsequent Flash Duel: Second Edition.
The main issue, for my point of view, is that Flash Duel appears to be a superset of En Garde – that is, apparently Flash Duel contains exactly everything you need to play En Garde (in addition to including other materials, such as characters with special powers), and that would make the original game obsolete, which would obviously be a problem for Knizia and the game's publishers. Reusing a game mechanism or repurposing it within a different context is one thing, but sandwiching new material around an existing game is something else. Thing is, though, Flash Duel does have a game board of different length from En Garde, and while the basic card decks contain the same cards, the games themselves (according to Sirlin and others) aren't exactly the same. (Kevin Tierney details similarities and differences in the two games in this BGG post.)
• Toyota has posted a bizarre, interactive series of videos touting its Prius, with The Game of Life serving as the thematic touchstone used by the opening narrator to convince you that he's not just some creep off the street trying to sell you something, but rather a creep who really does have the right car for you. (HT: Purple Pawn)