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Subject: Geek of the Week # 132: angiolillo (Andrea Angiolino) rss

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J C Lawrence
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The next geek of the week has a boundless and engaging enthusiasm for games that shows itself in every email, comment and picture he posts. The Wings of War mailing list so benefits from his attentions that it remains one of the most active game-specific mailing lists for a non-traditional game. His unchecked exuberance has won me over.

I give you:

Andrea Angiolino (angiolillo)

Andrea Angiolino wrote:
I was born in Rome, Italy, the 27th of April 1966. When I was a kid, boardgames were very popular. I got several as gifts and I was used to play them with my school friends, with my sister and with some of my many cousins. We also played cards, games with paper & pencil and many other more or less traditional games. Some of my cousins in Genoa were also relatives of the importer of Subbuteo: they bought quite a lot of teams from their uncle at the pure cost, so I could play that too quite often - even if I am not so much a fan of soccer.

I started also to try to design a few new boardgames, just for the fun of it: the typical game about traffic in a city, some rough wargames and other forgettable stuff. Luxury plastic toy soldiers by Airfix were imported in modelling shops and in the best toy stores, but they were pretty expensive: 450 liras for a 48 pieces box, HO/OO scale. In 1971 the Italian toy firm Atlantic began making a far cheaper range with all the Italian Alpini and Bersaglieri, paratroops and aviators. They were sold at 100 liras in every tobacconist, stationery shop and supermarket of the country. They were the trigger for me and my gamemates to develope a wargame system based on palms and fingers for movements and ranges, while we used head-and-tail on coins (one for rifles and pistols, three for hand machineguns, five for heavy machineguns...) to solve fire and melees. I guess that a good percentage of kids in the world did something like that; anyway for me it has been the largest involvement in game design of all my childhood. A lot of heated discussion between me and more conservative players arised when I proposed to pass to dice instead of coins and to centimeters instead of hand measures (being older and with larger hands, by the way, it seemed to me an act of justice to my opponents).

At that time I received a nice illustrated book about toy soldiers and miniatures. A picture of a large room with a game about the D-Day, done with 1:86 models and very curious templates for heavy gun hits scatters, gave me a glimpse on a far more professional version of my pastime. Around spring 1980 I met the Little Wars club in Rome and I discovered real miniature wargaming, the boxed simulation games by SPI and Avalon Hill, the first role-playing games. This thanks also to Gregory Alegi, who spent part of his life in the United States and could get all these wonders at the source. In Italy they were just starting to appear in a few shops, badly translated or not translated at all. I became very fond of all those. I was not a specialist: I preferred to play several games and wargame systems for the sake of the new, instead than becoming a champion in one of them. I went even to national championships of the ancient Wargame Research Group rule system (5th edition), using Atlantic plastic Egyptians instead of the great (and expensive) lead miniatures of my opponents... And I regularly lost, but it was a lot of fun.

I liked to experiment and I tried everything, from the easiest abstract games to the most complicated simulations. I loved Napoleon's Last Battles and Ace of aces, but also far heavier games. I still remember as an epic event of my life a game of 'The Campaign of North Africa' by SPI, the shortest scenario: Gregory, Aldo and me won with the Axis when a lousy unit of L.3 light tanks went across the El Qattara depression, leaving a trail of wrecks at their back... not because of enemy fire but just of harsh terrain. All among the laughs of our opponents, that did not even care to send somebody to stop them. The laughs became sour cries when the leftovers of the battalion reached the road to Alexandria, void of enemy troops. And the victory conditions were just to bring a German or Italian unit, no matter how badly reduced, to that city... Ah, great times they were!

I also started writing about games on fanzines. In 1982, when role-playing games were still a rare imported item in Italy (the first Italian products would come in 1984 and D&D would be translated in 1985) I got my first regular column together with Gregory on the only Italian game magazine, Pergioco: they asked us to write about this strange category of never ending, non competitive, open system games. When a check of 35.000 liras for my half of the first article arrived, I realized that I accessed the professional side of the world of games.

In 1985 I published my first amatorial boardgame, 'Cacciatori di viverne'. Other followed but I will not bother you with them... Their story has been already told in a geeklist: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/2063/

And my personal site is here for further curiosities: http://www.angiolino.info

But I also published other kind of games like role-playing games, and also books about games. In 1987 I published the first choose-your-adventure-gamebook made by an Italian
author.

I could not belive that the game designer and game journalist could become a profession, at least in Italy, so I went to University to study Economics and Computers. In the meantime I earned some money as a translator, starting with fantasy novels and anthologies among which the famed "Thieves' World". Later on I started to translate or edit translations of RPGs, as the Italian supplements of Toon and all the Imperial Campaign for the Warhammer Role Playing Game that, after being discontinued in 1987 by GW, started a new era of success in Italy in the early '90s thanks to Nexus Editrice. In the end I even had the occasion to publish an Encyclopaedia Albionica about the Warhammer world and a boardgame set in it, that sold a few dozen of thousands copies in the Italian newspaper kiosks.

Just after starting university I begun working with a team of game authors, the Cooperativa Un Sacco Alternativa or C.UnS.A., inventing games for magazines, television, radio, events, advertising, companies... That was the real beginning of my job, a dream coming true. I also started regularly designing games for the game market, bringing games to libraries and schools and shows and so on. After a few years the Italian Schools Ministry proclaimed me 'Expert Game Designer', while in 2004 the jury of the Best of Show at the Lucca Comics and Games show gave for the first time a lifetime achievements prize, and I was the first person ever to receive it.

I am so happy I found BoardGameGeek at some point. I fount there a lot of expert players from which I received support, suggestions, criticism - and friendship. I also think that the success of 'Wings of War', designed with Pier Giorgio Paglia, come also from BGG: the English edition, published by FFG a couple of month after the Italian one appeared, was sold out after 12 days and the first reprint even before reaching the US: I think that the new spreading on Internet played a fundamental role in that, and that BGG deserves most of the merit.

Now I play less than I used to, at least for the pleasure of it. I play a lot to playtest, to demo my games, to be updated on new releases, to give suggestions to fellow designers asking me advice... Quite less just for the sake of playing. But I still enjoy games a lot!

For the rest, as hobbies I write (and sometime publish) short stories, especially fantasy ones - you can find one even on the 'Obscura Tempora' rulebook. I am in the jury of the RiLL prize for unpublished fantastic short stories, and I am fond that I managed to find a publisher for anthologies that feature both the winners and some famous Italian writers that are in the jury.

I also like to review restaurants for a Roman guide, a very serious one indeed. I am not so good at cooking, but I like it anyway.

I like a lot reading: among my favourite authors there are Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco. I don't listen too much to music but I am fond of several Italian singers as Bennato, Guccini and other 'cantautori'. I still remember as if it was yesterday the concert I attended in 1987 during the first Italian tour of Pink Floyds after more than 12 years of absence from our country. I like biking and being a tourist around the world, but I do both less often than I would like.

All the facts above are true, or so I firmly believe. Among the three down there, instead, one is false. In chronological order:

1. In 1992 I proposed a special cards game to a publisher who hoped to sell maybe 1.500 copies all over Italy, but he gave up since both the main Italian distributors said that a medieval/fantasy card game would never sell a single copy: "People enjoying Middle Ages and fantasy play Role Playing Games only and will never, never play a card game." Next year, the two had a fierce struggle to get the Italian rights of "Magic - The Gathering": one of them sold 120.000 base decks in the first few months, but was not so unhappy that his prophecy revealed itself utterly wrong.

2. When Atlantic failed, most of its toy soldiers moulds were smuggled to Iraq not withstanding the embargo since a local businessman wanted to produce them again there, and they got lost forever. But a bit more than 10 years ago I found some of the original moulds that had been forgot in Italy and I convinced Nexus Editrice to restart production again: the new Atlantic figures had an unexpected success both in Italy and abroad.

3. Last year I received a letter by Karl Eugen von Richthofen, who got a 'Wings of War' miniature of his famed grand-uncle's triplane as a gift. He got curious, looked for the game, tried it with his sons and quite liked it even if he lost the first game, to the point to contact our German publisher "Mad Man's Magic" to have my address.
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Robert Wesley
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GRATZ! and have you ever been able to make heads or tails of these "games" from their publisher? "International Games"
Have yourself a well deserved GREAT week then.
"ciao"!
cool
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Congratulations Andrea, great to see a designer as a Geek of the Week. It is great to see your passion and great responses to queries about your fantastic game.
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Wow, your three truths and a lie are the most audatious I have seen!

You invented MtG first, you restarted toy soldiers in Italy and you're a friend of the Red Baron! Did you turn down the Beatles and beat the Americans to the Moon as well?

I think #3 is the lie.

Grats Andrea! I have some questions.

When the Italians burst onto BGG, it was during a time of controversy about shills using BGG to boost their own games. The sudden arrival of a lot of Italian users at once (often on the same day), and the high ratings they gave to Italian games (Warangel was a good example) made people very suspicious. Where did they all come from? You said that boardgames were popular when you were a child? Do they remain popular today or is it a geeky habit only for Italian geeks? Are games in Italy only for children or for adults?

You mentioned newsagents selling games. Are there many outlets for modern Eurogames or is it only for specialist retailers? Would your friends find modern games in typical department stores or toyshops?

You explained your background was in wargames. From what I gather, wargaming is a very minority activity in Germany because of social changes after the war. Did that not happen in Italy? Do Italians have a different view of their history? Was there a withdrawal from military toys and games, or are people less bothered?

I get the impression that Italian game design is closer to older style UK/US game design, and not as close to German design. I mean that Italian games seem to be more outwardly aggressive and combative, maybe more luck driven or less balanced. Is that a fair criticism?

I am thinking about going to the game show in Mantua in May. Is it worth the trip? Will there be many games I would recognise, or is the focus only on the Italian scene (and is there enough to keep me occupied)?

Cheers,
Jon.
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Congratulations, Andrea!

Some questions, also concerning Ulysses, a bit later this week.

Great choice, J C !
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Congrats Andrea!
As a gamer and designer, what would you say have been your most influential games, as opposed to your favourites?
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    An excellent opportunity to mention just how good a game Wings of War is for kids. Let me throw you a meatball down the middle --

    Andrea, are you seeing Wings of War being played by kids? I'm particularly curious about the game with the seven-to-twelve age set.

             Sag.
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Just wanted to add my congratulations. Those who don't play Wings of War may not be fully aware of how generous Andrea is with his time and spirit on BGG and on the WoW Yahoo! group. He's always there to answer questions and offer insights into how the game works and was designed, and he's a good listener, too.

I have a harder time believing #2 than I do #3, actually.
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Congratulazione, Andrea!

I too, am interested to hear more about the attitude towards war games (and games in general) in post-WWII Europe. Why do you think the former is so different from what happened in Germany? In more modern terms, what do you see the creative kids of Italy playing today?

You really convey well the joy of gaming. In your shift from gaming for gaming's sake to gaming-as-playtest/demo, what is the change like for you? How does demo-ing a game feel different? What's more fun? Less fun?

What's the biggest challenge to those aspiring to translate books (assuming fluency is a given)?

Have you ever combined biking and world travel? What are your top 5 must-see travel destinations?

I hope number one is a lie, but I suspect it's sadly true. So I'll go with #2. You 'found' some moulds? Sounds fishy to me.
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Congrats on GotW Andrea!

I think #1 is the lie because the chronolgy seems off. If memory serves M:tg was translated into Italian, German and French in 1995. Your account puts M:tg in Italy in 1993. Given that 120,000 decks ( A Totaly plausable sales number for just a few months ) is 7.2 million cards suggests production runs that are closer in size to 3rd edition and 4th edition rather than Alpha/Beta or Unlimited which combine for about 32 million cards.

I really enjoy Wings of War: Burning DrachensThe solo scenarios are excellent. It seems that the range of the AA guns in the far corners of Into the Mud fall just short of the trench line. They don't seem to come into play very often. Am I measuring things properly? Should they actually cover the trench line rather than the area behind it?

Any plans for future Wings of War games with solo game play?
 
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Hello everybody!

Thanks a lot to clearclaw for giving me this opportunity and all of you for your kind comments!

First of all, forgive my English... A foreign language to me.

A general reply is that being present to BGG, the Yahoo Discussion Group founded by WoW players and other forums is both a way to thank people for their attention to my game and a good channel to get ideas, comments and such to make my game better. I think that WoW owes quite a lot to gamers on the web, and to BBG in particular, and to some of you.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
Wow, your three truths and a lie are the most audatious I have seen!

You invented MtG first, you restarted toy soldiers in Italy and you're a friend of the Red Baron! Did you turn down the Beatles and beat the Americans to the Moon as well?

Well, not so much! Let's see: if they are true...

1. I did not invent MtG nor the collectible card games, alas. I just wrote that I proposed a card game with a Middle Ages - Fantasy setting with the aim of selling 1.500 copies and it was refused with a quite weird motivation by the same people that sold 120.000 basic decks of MtG (that is also, but not only, a card game with a fantasy setting) one year later. Of course my game could not sell a tenth of it, maybe even 1/50th of that. But maybe it could sell at least 1/80th... So the 1500 copies that the publisher and me wanted to! If 1. is true, it means that maybe Italy was not the best place for being game designers in early '90s and that distribution was a big problem.

2. I just restarted Atlantic toy soldiers, not plastic toy soldiers in general... if 2 is true!

3. Not exactly a friend of the Red Baron but just the recipient of a letter by his grand-nephew... if 3 is true!

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
When the Italians burst onto BGG, it was during a time of controversy about shills using BGG to boost their own games. The sudden arrival of a lot of Italian users at once (often on the same day), and the high ratings they gave to Italian games (Warangel was a good example) made people very suspicious.

I can not say anything about suspects of cheating on votes. And on this specific case so much has been written by people more informed than me, including the author, that it is pretty useless I add something now.

My main game on BGG, "Wings of War - Famous Aces", has an average from Italian votes very close to the global average - several countries from othe continents rated it pretty higher. By the way, I am relieved of that: my normal experience in Italy is that Italian gamers are not nationalists - they often prefer foreign products instead. Given the quality of some very low standard products in the '80s and '90s by very small Italian publishers (not surprisingly disappeared many years ago), I can also understand it.

The only case I really studied of "false" votes was on the opposite way: four people voting against an Italian game. Not mine, but I felt a bit hurted by that. I did a sarcastic GeekList:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/4639
It worked well.. The debate was very interesting and in the end the four "people" disappeared and War of the Ring came back to its deserved place between the Top Games.

Of course I think that false votes, if they are such, are both unfair and stupid: they both undermine the credibility of the system and the credibility of the votes about the involved games themselves. But I haven't so much more to say about that. I just add that the measure of the real success of a game on BGG is in my opinion not in the average votes but in the amount of comments, reviews, optional rules and materials, pictures and so on posted by people who liked the games: this is what makes a game alive and growing, and it is impossible to forge that by the way. I am very happy when this happens to games made by me and my friends.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
Where did they all come from?

Italian boardgaming had a kind of Renaissance a few years ago. Apart from some famous designers as Colovini, Donadoni, Albertarelli, Obert, very few Italians succeeded in publishing abroad in the last century. In the '90s I took part in the licensing of games as Quoridor and Hold Everything! and it needed a great effort. But game after game, author after author, publisher after publisher, the machine started moving. So games as Bang!, X-Bugs/Micro Mutants, The War of the Ring followed, and then many more:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/1625/
Some of these games sold hundreds of thousands of copies, with many foreign editions... From a marginal country with a small market, the medium and small Italian game industry started conquering the world. And gaming flourished again, with people playing Italian games, and the few translated into Italian, and the many that were not ad maybe were cheaper if bought on the Web than in an Italian shop. So people started looking around... And here they came too.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
You said that boardgames were popular when you were a child? Do they remain popular today or is it a geeky habit only for Italian geeks?

They were. Then games from TV shows and movies became majority, the quality went down, the videogame started to take away the attention of the youth... Just after, it has bveen a matter of fashion: Trivial and other party games made the boardgames popular again at the end of the '80s, with manuy pubs featuring them and people paying at home. Around 1993/1994 a crisis came, then probably Magic was popular to kids too and boardgames, RPGs and other pastimes lost public. Now I'd say that very traditional games and games inspired by TV are played by adults too, while "original" boardgames are more for kids and maybe not so popular anyway. But there is a good amount of Geeks playing both Eurogames and American games. And games made in Italy, that often are a bit different from both - I like to say that there is an Italian style too.

tommynomad wrote:
what do you see the creative kids of Italy playing today?

They can play a good mix of traditional card or paper & pencil games, boardgames, miniature games (collectible ones are popular among school kids as well as wWarhammer), computer games, Lone Wolf gamebooks... If we look to the more creative, not to the mass, maybe even role-playing games and such. So many sources of fun. But I am not so close to far youger people, I must say, so I can not be sure.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
You mentioned newsagents selling games.

This seldom happens. Sometime these games are attached to some other product, as my Warhammer game that was sold together with issues with stories and the Encyclopaedia about the world of Warhammer. Once they went with magazines too, and this still happens sometime in the summer. But boardgames in newspaperkiosks are very rare... There is just a "I Cesaroni" in these days, after a TV serial (I think a Spanish one by the way). That's a bit of a pity since the market seems top work - my Dragonball games in newspaperkiosks sold far more than the usual number of copies that Nexus Editrice used to sell at these times. But if you are not a huge publisher, it was and it is a tricky market anyway.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
Are there many outlets for modern Eurogames or is it only for specialist retailers? Would your friends find modern games in typical department stores or toyshops?


They are mostly in specialists shops, or in the best toy shops as the Città del Sole chain. Then there is a net of maybe 100/200 statonary shops, especially in little towns and vollages, or modellers shops, or other kind of sellers that have a specialized shelf. And some of the most popular Eurogames/Italian Style games as Settlers of Catan, War of the Ring, Bang, Wings of War go to the main bookshops too... at least when they are released and for the following months.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
You explained your background was in wargames. From what I gather, wargaming is a very minority activity in Germany because of social changes after the war. Did that not happen in Italy? Do Italians have a different view of their history? Was there a withdrawal from military toys and games, or are people less bothered?

I think people is far less bothered. No withdrawal, as the success of Risk! but also of the Atlantic toy soldiers in the '70s (among the rest) testified... With modern trooops and ancient ones, Western and World War II, and even a "Great Revolutions" range featuring Lenin and Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Mussolini!

tommynomad wrote:

I too, am interested to hear more about the attitude towards war games (and games in general) in post-WWII Europe. Why do you think the former is so different from what happened in Germany?

We see our own history in a different way, I'd say. We did not start the world wars, we joined them after some time. The first one is seen as the way in which we completed the unity of our country and there is not a huge sense of guilt about taking part to it. In the second world war, the general feeling in Italy (apart for a minority of Right hand nostalgics, of course) is that we were pushed into it by Mussolini in June 1940 who entered just for material interests convinced that it would last a few weeks. And in the end the war has been the occasion to get rid of him and of all the Fascist regime, plus the king that actually allowed these people to take power. The Civil war fought both by the Partisan in the North and co-belligerant troops in the South is the event from which our Republic and our Constitution come. Of course today Fascists think that, on the opposite, this was just a betrayal our original allies, but in the end even by them all of this complex problem is seen more from the point of views of the implications in Italy than with the sense of guilt of what we did abroad. So war is not a real taboo. Besides, people like Umberto Eco wrote grat pages about playing with war toys and games as a way to educate to peace.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
I get the impression that Italian game design is closer to older style UK/US game design, and not as close to German design. I mean that Italian games seem to be more outwardly aggressive and combative, maybe more luck driven or less balanced. Is that a fair criticism?

I think so too. In my opinion, there is a kind of Italian Style that is noth German/Euro nor American. Of course there are authors that are faithful to other styles - Colovini makes 100% German games, IMHO. But I see German games, and the Eurogames following their path, more as quite abstract systems with a setting pasted on them. You can take a Knizia game and quite easily change the setting from an ancient battle to cuisine or the circus... and remember Wongar, with the setting changed completely by the publisher at the last moment. You can not so easily change the setting to Bang!, or War of the Ring, or - to name something mine - Wings of War or Ulysses. The rules are built on the setting. This make them far closer to the US/UK games I played so much time ago. But at the same time there is quite an attention to simple, steamlined rule systems, that's pretty more German/Euro. There is a certain attention to graphics and illustratuion that's pretty Italian. For the reasons seen above, there is no problem in putting open conflict (as you say) in games, nor in having a war theme. Besides, in Italy there are 16 different kinds of traditional card decks... and the regular poker/bridge cards are sold at every tobacconist too. Lotto is an Italian invention, and the Game of Goose comes from Florence and it is still today one of the most popular children boardgames. So we are pretty used to luck elements in gaming: if yoy noticed this, it is probably pretty true and strictly linked to our cultural gaming background.

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
I am thinking about going to the game show in Mantua in May. Is it worth the trip?

Mantua, its streets and squares, its cuisine are all worth the trip. But I have never been to that game show. I am pretty busy with my games and books, so I go to quite a few shows - large or small, I prefer to never say "no" to the ones inviting me, in Italy or abroad, and this already requires several weekends. The only Italian show I always go to is Lucca Comics and Games, in late October - early November every year. I think there are around 100.000 attendances (sorry if I am wrong) between the games and the comics sections - and the games are more lively. Besides its streets and squares, its cuisine are all worth the trip!

EYE of NiGHT wrote:
Will there be many games I would recognise, or is the focus only on the Italian scene (and is there enough to keep me occupied)?

I guess that you'd find quite a lot of Eurogames and US games, if it feels like Lucca. And of course a lot of Italian games, many of which are worth all your attention!

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Andrea Angiolino
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GROGnads wrote:
GRATZ! and have you ever been able to make heads or tails of these "games" from their publisher? "International Games"
Have yourself a well deserved GREAT week then.
"ciao"!
cool

Thanks a lot... No, sorry, never had the occasion to know these games. But I played many titles by International Team instead...
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congratulations Andrea

comin'out from the italian dark-gaming world late 80'es and becoming a worldwide famous game-designer...i am italian i can imagine what kind of battles you won ...
all the best

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Thanks a lot... and thanks also for your great picture post about it! It has been great to read/watch it!
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/291899
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Hi again Andrea

i was wondering ... would it be difficult for you to design a boardgame based on IL PALIO DI SIENA* ?
* unusual historical crazy horse race
 
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ibn_ul_khattab wrote:
Congrats Andrea!
As a gamer and designer, what would you say have been your most influential games, as opposed to your favourites?

Uh, so many... From the traditional paper & pencil games, so elegant in their simple rules but effective tactics, to the simulations - especially the SPI ones, and the simplier again. Ace of Aces has been a great model for simplicity linked to chrome. Wargames with miniatures have been maybe a short season, but I played RPGs quite a lot oand of course Dungeons & Dragons has been a great school. Sorry, I have no secrets to reveal to you... I can not say any special title. But I would dare to say that even if I appreciated quite a lot of games from mid '80s onward, the influence of earlier ones has been far greater.
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Andrea Angiolino
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Hello nello!

Yes, I think that it has not been so easy to start from Italy...

nello wrote:
i was wondering ... it would be difficult for you to design a boardgame based on IL PALIO DI SIENA?

Well I don't think so... apart that there are a couple already. My job has been also designing games by commission: a game about the international car market against Italian support to local industries, asked by the union of car importers. A game to tell kids that plastic is recycleable, back in the '90s when this was a new concept. The games about Dragonball, a catrtoon and comic character I never watched/read before. A game about fair trade and cotton... I am a mercenary after all! And a game about a race is a very natural thing to do.

But at the moment I have other projects in mind!



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tommynomad wrote:
Congratulazione, Andrea!

Grazie!

I answered a couple of your questions together with EYE of NiGHT's ones... they seemed to fit well.

tommynomad wrote:
You really convey well the joy of gaming. In your shift from gaming for gaming's sake to gaming-as-playtest/demo, what is the change like for you? How does demo-ing a game feel different? What's more fun? Less fun?

Demoing my games is always a thrill. Even when they are games I already played a lot, I always fear that I could disappoint somebody. Not too different from when I cook and I stare at the faces of people at the table hoping that they do not dislike the meal... In the end I often make people play, but I tend not to play myself so to be free to explain and help and make people glad of playing. Then I am of course very happy if people have a nice experience. It is a bit like when we played RPGs and I often ended being the Master instead than playing with a character, after all.

With playtesting, thiongs are more relsaxed - usually we are among close friends, and if there is a prototype arounds they take into account that a game session can be not so succesful after all.

So maybe in the end demoing is very satisfying when all goes well enough... but playtesting is more fun!

tommynomad wrote:
What's the biggest challenge to those aspiring to translate books (assuming fluency is a given)?

I'd say that maybe the hunor is the most difficult thing to translate. There were some jokes in the Warhammer adventures in the Imperial Campaign that were based on word punbs, or on British culture references... Building other jokes in Italian that could be as fun as these, and equally well set into the adventure, has been one of the most difficult tasks I had to face. In Toon it was even more hard. I remember an adventure set in the Dreamlands, that players had to reach. Sleeping, of course, but they were not sleepy. So they had to take "sleeping pills", but they were not effective until they were waken up... In Italian, "sleeping pills" are not called "sleeping" at all, but on the joke a substantial part of the adventure was based...

tommynomad wrote:
Have you ever combined biking and world travel?

Not yet. There were plans for that, but in the end I usually ended up using my car to travel around Europe. It is easier to carry back books, games, wine bottles, hams...

tommynomad wrote:
What are your top 5 must-see travel destinations?

I did not travel so much in the end. I have seen all the Western Europe several times, and I have been to the USA a couple of times. But I still miss... let's say Egypt, India, Mexico, central Africa and... Argentina? Quite obvious places to go. Soon, I hope.





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Congratulations! meeple
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Congrats Andrea!
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Sagrilarus wrote:
Andrea, are you seeing Wings of War being played by kids? I'm particularly curious about the game with the seven-to-twelve age set.

Well, I have seen it played by several kids of that age range. In public demos, sometimes with their mothers at the same table... and it has been fun!

We even have a couple of official playtesters, Jim Junior from USA and Mathilda from belgium, that both started at the age of six...

I am very glad that the game is fun for kids of both sexes, and to women too. I quite hoped that... When we choosed Ellwood's Camel for the Famous Aces box, with the hearts on the top wing, we had no particular reason apart that hoping some day that some girl would be attracted by that plane and by the game in general. Now it seems to happen, and this makes me very happy! So air game enthusiasts can share their hobby with their families. In the Squadron Packs released this week there is even a pink Spitfire dedicated to a Canadian little girl liking pink planes and playing WoW with father and brother...

Anyway one of the greatest proofs that the game can work with kids is your report here:
http://www.wingsofwar.it/read.asp?id=3129
A really great one!
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matthewjhoskins wrote:
I think #1 is the lie because the chronolgy seems off. If memory serves M:tg was translated into Italian, German and French in 1995. Your account puts M:tg in Italy in 1993.

Sorry if I have been unclear, but I meant that in 1993 the two struggled to get the rights. There were offers and counter-offers, letters and declarations, and in the end Stratelibri got the rights (or maybe, as I have been told later, Giovanni Ingellis in person - not his firm). Then the game came out, later on, the year after, and it sold 120.000 decks (another thing I have been told) from the release date to the rest of that same year, if I understood well. But in Italy the game came in 1994: in November 1994 it was already a great success and it won the Best of Show prize as the best Translated Game at the Lucca Comics and Games Show:
http://www.luccacomicsandgames.com/page.php?page=35&langId=1
Garfield was there, guest of honor of Stratelibri together with some other people by WotC.

matthewjhoskins wrote:
Given that 120,000 decks ( A Totaly plausable sales number for just a few months ) is 7.2 million cards suggests production runs that are closer in size to 3rd edition and 4th edition rather than Alpha/Beta or Unlimited which combine for about 32 million cards.

True! The editions in the US have been Alpha and Betha with black edge, then Unlimited, the so-called Revised (was it the 3rd edition?) and the 4th edition with a white one. The first Italian edition was akin to the Revised, but with a black edge. The second Italian edition was identical but with a white edge.

matthewjhoskins wrote:
I really enjoy Wings of War: Burning DrachensThe solo scenarios are excellent. It seems that the range of the AA guns in the far corners of Into the Mud fall just short of the trench line. They don't seem to come into play very often. Am I measuring things properly? Should they actually cover the trench line rather than the area behind it?

Well no, they should be at their back and sides. Just to keep the maneuvre area of the attacker very narrow. If you go longer... Then you risk a deadly hit. This was the idea.

matthewjhoskins wrote:
Any plans for future Wings of War games with solo game play?

Not at the moment. Maybe soon with WWII, when we will introduce AA guns...
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Congrats Andrea, well deserved. See ya at TrincaCon next April
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fs1973 wrote:
Congrats Andrea, well deserved. See ya at TrincaCon next April

See you there! And if anybody wants to join... please come!

For those still not knowing it: TrincaCon is a game convention in a beautiful resort in Abrantes, Portugal. And no, the fact that "Trinca" and "drink" are very close words is not a coincidence...
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Congrats Andrea! This is a very deserved prize. You've done a lot for boardgames and also for those people who want to have fun and learn something from them. I salute you for that.

Now a question:

You've been in Portugal (LeiriaCon) last January. You are going to be here again for TrincaCon next month and maybe next year's LeiriaCon again (I have to insist on this ). Do you allow us to consider you a Portuguese from Italy?

Looking forward to be with you again and congrats once again.

I will post some more questions later.

Paulo
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