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Subject: Interview with Reiner Knizia @ KublaCon 2009 - Part 2 rss

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Part 2 of GeekSpeak 2.0 and Garrett's Games and Geekiness interview with Reiner Knizia at KublaCon 2009.

Thanks to Reiner Knizia, KublaCon, and Doug for setting up his equipment and and keeping us on track!



Subscribe to our podcasts at:
http://garrettsgames.com/podcasts-only/rss2.aspx
http://geekspeak.boardgamegeek.com/rss

Part One: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/410087
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James King
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While it's always a pleasure to listen to an interview with Reiner Knizia, I must say that I'm nonethless disappointed that in both Parts 1 & 2 of this interview, one question about what particular new board games Knizia was working on or preparing to release in the near future was repeatedly stepped on; that is, another questioner interjected another question to override and derail that question altogether. So, although I had held out hope that that question might eventually be re-asked to Knizia in Part 2, although one questioner did indeed make an effort to do so, I was dismayed when it again was derailed as in Part 1 and never answered.
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James,
You have a good point, but it seemed that Reiner did not really want to answer a 'new games' question that readily. Sorry we dropped the ball, though.
Doug
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Yeah, he dodged the question, "Is there a mathamatical formula you use when desigining a game?" when this question was put to him on an individual basis several years ago.

What do you expect from such a smart designer?

I still like him. Its also why I wrote a geeklist requesting mathamatical analysis of his games. It didn't get too much feedback, but I put a few things in it initially.

If anyone has any insights I would still love the input.


http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/27950

Matt
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James King
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dwgteach wrote:
James,
You have a good point, but it seemed that Reiner did not really want to answer a 'new games' question that readily. Sorry we dropped the ball, though.
Doug

Well, Reiner really wasn't given the opportunity to answer that question because another less compelling question interjected, stepping on that question and switching tracks on the direction the interview was going. Nonetheless, there are oblique ways of asking the same question with a more serreptitious spin to it.

For example, if any of you had managed to re-ask him direct what new game titles were forthcoming that hadn't yet been officially announced, and if he'd declined to respond, you might well have followed up by saying, "Would it be possible for us to have an exclusive Kubla Con mini announcement about possibly one of your upcoming games' titles that's not been prior announced?"

And if he seemed hesitant about that, you could break it down to something more accommodating to both his sense of humor and professional secrecy by saying, "Okay, Reiner, let's play 'Blind Men and the Elephant': Some of your most successful games' scoring systems emphasize balance. And yet, many of us game players sense an imbalance in the strategy-depth weight of your games of recent years which have leaned mostly to the lighter side of gaming. Would any of your upcoming games' mechanics be in the mid- to heavy-weight range?"

[If so, then you could continue playing "Blind Men & the Elephant" by asking Knizia questions in more general terms that would allow him to both ofuscate whatever he didn't want to elaborate about while at the same time enabling him to offer up some tantalizing though veiled tidbits of info about that upcoming game(s) to whet listeners' curiosity and interest. And if he indicated he had no heavier-weight strategy games coming down the pike anytime in the near future, then you might pose the question, "Are you currently working on such a heavier-weight game that you hope to eventually release as your magnum opus (greatest masterpiece)?"]

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Matt Drake
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That's great advice! Can we hear it in action? Can you link us to some of the interviews you've done? You must have interviewed some really big celebrities to be as knowledgeable as you are.
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
For example, if any of you had managed to re-ask him direct what new game titles were forthcoming that hadn't yet been officially announced, and if he'd declined to respond, you might well have followed up by saying, "Would it be possible for us to have an exclusive Kubla Con mini announcement about possibly one of your upcoming games' titles that's not been prior announced?"

And if he seemed hesitant about that, you could break it down to something more accommodating to both his sense of humor and professional secrecy by saying, "Okay, Reiner, let's play 'Blind Men and the Elephant': Some of your most successful games' scoring systems emphasize balance. And yet, many of us game players sense an imbalance in the strategy-depth weight of your games of recent years which have leaned mostly to the lighter side of gaming. Would any of your upcoming games' mechanics be in the mid- to heavy-weight range?"

[If so, then you could continue playing "Blind Men & the Elephant" by asking Knizia questions in more general terms that would allow him to both ofuscate whatever he didn't elaborate about while at the same time enabling him to offer up some tantalizing though veiled tidbits of info about that upcoming game(s) to whet listeners' curiosity and interest. And if he indicated he had no heavier-weight strategy games coming down the pike anytime in the near future, then you might pose the question, "Are you currently working on such a heavier-weight game that you hope to eventually release as your magnum opus (greatest masterpiece)?"

Just so we're clear, is your complaint that they didn't ask Reiner a very, very specific question, in a very, very specific way, over and over until he quit dodging it? Maybe next time you should come to the con and ask him yourself!

I've noticed that RK tends to dodge a lot of questions in general, in both interviews and seminars at these cons. He gets asked a lot of questions a lot of times each, and it seems like he has sort of stock responses such that if a question is similar enough to one for which the stock response is appropriate, you get the stock response. This may or may not actually answer the question.

I'm not sure anything Doug, Derk, or Aldie could have said that would illicit the response you're looking for - for the reason espoused above, as well as for the reason that I just have never heard Reiner talk about upcoming games - he's very hush hush about them.
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VixenTorGames wrote:
That's great advice! Can we hear it in action? Can you link us to some of the interviews you've done? You must have interviewed some really big celebrities to be as knowledgeable as you are.

Well, if you'd email me your U.S. Mailing address, I'd be happy to mail ya some photocopies of some interviews I've conducted with actor Hal Holbrook, singer Clint Black, comedian Melanie Hutsell (of SNL fame), Dennis Miller (when he was a comedian), and other entertainment stories and interviews of mine that were printed in my college newspaper. (Unfortunately, this was back in 1991-93, right before the Internet had begun to catch on and long before the emergence of the World Wide Web.)

Nonetheless, interviewing skills aren't necessarily instinctual. Why, I myself picked up a good practical bit of advice from the publicist for the "Real Live Brady Bunch Stage Show" back in the summer of 1992 when the Chicago Annoyance Theater comedy troupe had taken their show on tour to Los Angeles. I was in L.A. at the time while visiting my sister when I learned about its playing there and had to see it. (I'd heard about it on a CNN entertainment story the year before and had been incredulous that such an unlikely undertaking could be so wildly successfully.)

So, while it was not an interview I'd contemplated before going out there, I managed to land a dual interview with both comedian Melanie Hutsell (of Saturday Night Live who'd returned during that summer to play middle child Jan Brady, the role which she'd originated that brought her notariety and which she sometimes had performed on SNL) and comedian Becky Thyre, the most surprising find of all since she hailed from Opelousas, Louisiana, giving me the perfect Louisiana angle for my story, and who through her improvisational impressions of both Jan and Marcia Brady squabbling had inspired the Soloway Sisters, the comedy troupe's producers, to undertake performing actual original "Brady Bunch" TV scripts on stage, only giving them a more satirical spin. (So, Becky Thyre had in essence inspired the whole show!)

When I mentioned to the show's publicist that I might like to interview them in character as Jan and Marsha at some point, she cautioned me that while that wouldn't be inappropriate, there was a certain way to go about it that would enable the actresses to momentarily go into character and yet not lose confidence that they, the actresses themselves (and not the characters they played), were the focus of the story. So after the publicist gave me an example, I tailored my question to pose to Becky Thyre (who played Marsha) as: "How do you think Marsha Brady would respond if she'd been asked whether she'd provided a much-too-perfect role model for her middle sister, Jan, to aspire to emulate?"

That little tip made all the difference to me, and it made the interview all the more fun and memorable, because during the interview, it allowed both comediennes to improvisionally go back into their stage characters for a few minutes to answer a perfectly straightforward interview question with a comedically satirical Brady-like response while at the same time keeping the focus of the story on the actresses themselves. Besides, I'd never conducted a simultaneous dual interview before (where two interviewees sit together and respond to questioning) and I was proud in a satirical sense that a Louisianian had provided the inspirational spark for the "Real Live Brady Bunch Stage Show."

At the same time, though, I did withhold one little factoid that might have made the ending of my feature story about Becky Thyre all the sweeter and funnier: Back during that time, actor Barry Williams' book "Growing Up Brady" had recently been released. As a result, whenever Becky Thyre as Marsha cut her eyes at the actor playing Greg Brady on stage, the audience read a lot more into it than originally intended and tittered with snickers and laughter because Williams' "Growing Up Brady" book had spilled the beans about his teen romance with co-star Maureen McCormick (who played Marsha, his sister in the TV show). In either case, it gave the stage show another underlying satirical subtext to milk laughs from.

Nonetheless, I got a most unexpected real-life final laugh that night when on the way back to my car whom do I see Becky Thyre leaving with in his car (as if going out to dinner or a date) than the actor who played Greg Brady in the stage show!

(Becky Thyre later married Andy Richter, Conan O'Brien's former "Late Night" show's sidekick and his new "Tonight" show's announcer. Andy Richter had also originated from Chicago's Annoyance Theater and once starred in the "Real Live Brady Bunch Stage Show." And it was the popularity of the "Real Live Brady Bunch Stage Show" which inspired the "Brady Bunch" movies which faithfully captured a kindred spirit that infected the "Real Live Brady Bunch Stage Show" and made it so that even if you hated the original "Brady Bunch" TV show, you could learn how to love to hate them anew with a satirical twist that genuinely and unmercifully assaults one's funny bone in just the right way.)

On reflection, I only wished I'd asked actor Hal Holbrook an interview question that might have allowed him to improvisationally go back into character as Mark Twain. (He'd come to our university to perform his "Mark Twain Tonight" one-man stage show.) On the other hand, I did conduct an entire simultaneous interview of an entire cast of university stage actors who remained in character as the characters they played in the murder mystery play they were performing. I did this to enliven the preview for the show I was writing because I thought it would not only take the readers into the heart of the mystery but also whet their curiosity because while not giving away any surprises, I played it in essence that I was a crime reporter who'd showed up at the scene of the recently-committed crime (even before the police or detectives arrived) and was interviewing the suspects. (And since I myself hadn't yet seen the play, the actors in character certainly wanted to leave me in the dark about certain things. And so, I myself was in essence playing a game of "Blind Man & The Elephants" with them, too.
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I was actually pleased that at the very end, Derk challenged Reiner to design another "Tigris-weighted" game. The way Reiner answered the request both confirmed that he does not have a game of that type in progress yet, and acknowledged that it was something that he was interested in doing in the near future.

For me that satisfied my desire and curiousity to know whether Reiner was ever going to design another heavy depth game again.

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sedjtroll wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
For example, if any of you had managed to re-ask him direct what new game titles were forthcoming that hadn't yet been officially announced, and if he'd declined to respond, you might well have followed up by saying, "Would it be possible for us to have an exclusive Kubla Con mini announcement about possibly one of your upcoming games' titles that's not been prior announced?"

And if he seemed hesitant about that, you could break it down to something more accommodating to both his sense of humor and professional secrecy by saying, "Okay, Reiner, let's play 'Blind Men and the Elephant': Some of your most successful games' scoring systems emphasize balance. And yet, many of us game players sense an imbalance in the strategy-depth weight of your games of recent years which have leaned mostly to the lighter side of gaming. Would any of your upcoming games' mechanics be in the mid- to heavy-weight range?"

[If so, then you could continue playing "Blind Men & the Elephant" by asking Knizia questions in more general terms that would allow him to both ofuscate whatever he didn't elaborate about while at the same time enabling him to offer up some tantalizing though veiled tidbits of info about that upcoming game(s) to whet listeners' curiosity and interest. And if he indicated he had no heavier-weight strategy games coming down the pike anytime in the near future, then you might pose the question, "Are you currently working on such a heavier-weight game that you hope to eventually release as your magnum opus (greatest masterpiece)?"

Just so we're clear, is your complaint that they didn't ask Reiner a very, very specific question, in a very, very specific way, over and over until he quit dodging it?

Nope, my complaint was that the "future games" question had been asked *twice* during the interview but another questioner invariably overrode it (i.e. stepped on the previously-asked question) and in essence re-routed the interview away from it. It was no fault of Dr. Knizia.


sedjtroll wrote:
Maybe next time you should come to the con and ask him yourself!

False issue. Since the question not only had been asked *twice* but also had been stepped on *twice*, the question-askers themselves should have deferred to the questioner who'd first asked the "future games" question instead of ignoring it and plowing ahead with their own questions.

*However,* if you're willing to put your money where your mouth is, I'll glady accept an expenses-paid trip to the next Kubla Con.


sedjtroll wrote:
I've noticed that RK tends to dodge a lot of questions in general, in both interviews and seminars at these cons. He gets asked a lot of questions a lot of times each, and it seems like he has sort of stock responses such that if a question is similar enough to one for which the stock response is appropriate, you get the stock response. This may or may not actually answer the question.

Then, if I myself had detected that sort of obfuscation, I would nonetheless have delved more subtly and serreptitiously into areas where Knizia might have felt more at ease in commenting and perhaps even dropping teaser hints about upcoming titles and maybe even what he was working on. Although such veiled hints might not have spelled out everything we'd wanted to know to our complete satisfaction, at least they're something of minor substance to ponder about and anticipate in the meantime.

sedjtroll wrote:
I'm not sure anything Doug, Derk, or Aldie could have said that would illicit the response you're looking for - for the reason espoused above, as well as for the reason that I just have never heard Reiner talk about upcoming games - he's very hush hush about them.

Again, the questioner who posed the "future games" question had his question quashed by another questioner, the latter of whom plowed ahead with his own question. If that latter questioner hadn't stepped on the former's question, then even if Knizia had stalled or given a non-commital response, the original questioner would have had the opportunity to probe the matter more subtly and serreptitiously with any follow-up questions that normally would have resulted once the original question was asked.
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Matt Drake
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So, no links?
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dshortdesign wrote:
I was actually pleased that at the very end, Derk challenged Reiner to design another "Tigris-weighted" game. The way Reiner answered the request both confirmed that he does not have a game of that type in progress yet, and acknowledged that it was something that he was interested in doing in the near future.

For me that satisfied my desire and curiousity to know whether Reiner was ever going to design another heavy depth game again.


While that vague response only satisfied my curiosity but a smidgen, I might have played the Devil's Advocate and thrown Reiner a real curve ball by asking him about his Perseopolis project. And if/when he expressed befuddlement about the existence of any such project, I would have followed up by asking, "Wait -- isn't 'Perseopolis' your much-rumored-about next heavy-weight game that's supposed to rival, if not surpass, 'Tigris & Eurphrates'?"

This would naturally have prompted Reiner to deny such was the case, which would have given me the roundabout follow-up question, "Okay, well, if not Perseopolis, then what can you tell us at Kubla Con about this heavy-weight game you're working on or about to release? And how close to release would you speculate it to be at this time?"

And if indeed he were working on such a heavy-weight game, you could probably have ascertained it from his responses as we engaged in a bit of the "Blind Men & The Elephant" game.
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VixenTorGames wrote:
So, no links?

As far as I can tell tell, there are no existing or current links to pre-Internet/WWW articles of the former Northleast Louisana Univeristy (NLU) newspaper, "The Pow Wow," from 1991-93. Indeed, the college name, mascot and possibly even its newspaper have undergone a name change.

In the mid-90s, NLU became ULM (University of Monroe at Monroe). Later, they changed the mascot from the Indians to the War Hawks. And it now appears that their college newspaper may have been changed from The Pow Wow to The HawkEye.

But maybe this would be the best route for you to undertake anyway to independently confirm and verify what I've been saying. After all, they should have on premises somewhere some rather large leatherbound portfolio books containing each past year's editions of both The Pow Wow and The Hawk Eye. Just follow the link below and contact the editor asking him to send you photocopies or pdf copies (if available) of several issues or enterainment stories of mine from the Fall 1992 through Spring 1993 semesters, namely interviews with singer Clint Black, Melanie Hutsell, Hal Holbrook, Becky Thyre and others.

Suggested link: http://www.ulmhawkeye.com/home/
 
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I see. So you haven't actually done anything interesting since the Internet was invented?

You might be surprised how many people have that same problem. It's common. Internet porn has limited productivity in a lot of people.
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I enjoy Derk and Aldie's interviews but Woodward and Bernstein they are not, nor should you expect them to be. Neither of them are journalists or aspiring journalists. They are just two guys who enjoy games and interview people involved in the gaming industry. The interviews are casual friendly with the occasional hint of alcohol. I've never listened to an episode of geekspeak and thought to myself "why aren't they asking the tough questions?".

Derk is going to step on Aldie's questions, or on Doug's in this case. They will go off on tangents and never return. This isn't your journalism class this is just entertainment.
 
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VixenTorGames wrote:
I see. So you haven't actually done anything interesting since the Internet was invented?

You might be surprised how many people have that same problem. It's common. Internet porn has limited productivity in a lot of people.

If I ever doubted that you had a shred of Common Decency about you, those two paragraphs pretty much have eliminated all my doubts. So I need not harangue you about that lack of Common Decency when it's such a moot question now.

You can be sure that any game (present or future) bearing the imprimature of your Vixen Tor Games will henceforth be out of my consideration for any potential purchase, review or playing.

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quartersmostly wrote:
I enjoy Derk and Aldie's interviews but Woodward and Bernstein they are not, nor should you expect them to be.

Well, that doesn't prevent them from aspiring to be a bit more like free-wheeling entertainment reporters Michael Musto and Ted Cassablanca just the same.

quartersmostly wrote:
Neither of them are journalists or aspiring journalists. They are just two guys who enjoy games and interview people involved in the gaming industry.[/i]

While I enjoyed their verbal jousting and playful sparring with Reiner Knizia, in my opinion, they should also have solicited questions from us here on BGG to submit to Reiner Knizia.


quartersmostly wrote:
The interviews are casual friendly with the occasional hint of alcohol.

Well, that's all the better if it makes Reiner Knizia a bit more predisposed to drop even teaser hints about his forthcoming games.


quartersmostly wrote:
I've never listened to an episode of geekspeak and thought to myself "why aren't they asking the tough questions?"

I listened to their Knizia episode of several years ago and though they had their fun, they also asked a lot more substantial questions. (Mind you, I said *substantial questions,* NOT tough ones.)


quartersmostly wrote:
Derk is going to step on Aldie's questions, or on Doug's in this case. They will go off on tangents and never return. This isn't your journalism class this is just entertainment.

Then I'd nonethelesss appreciate a more informative mix in their free-for-all interviews because unlike themselves, all of us aren't there to have, experience and see all the fun times there. So, information about Knizia's upcoming games are among the most substantive crumbs we can hope drop off of the table into our view (rather, *ears*).
 
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
VixenTorGames wrote:
I see. So you haven't actually done anything interesting since the Internet was invented?

You might be surprised how many people have that same problem. It's common. Internet porn has limited productivity in a lot of people.

If I ever doubted that you had a shred of Common Decency about you, those two paragraphs pretty much have eliminated all my doubts. So I need not harangue you about that lack of Common Decency when it's such a moot question now.

You can be sure that any game (present or future) bearing the imprimature of your Vixen Tor Games will henceforth be out of my consideration for any potential purchase, review or playing.


Oh, no, you're right. I have virtually no Decency, Common or otherwise. I also have limited patience with people who contribute little but tell those who do produce all about what they're doing wrong.

And that's a relief on the game thing - saves me having to listen to you tell me what I did wrong. I appreciate your restraint.
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VixenTorGames wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
VixenTorGames wrote:
I see. So you haven't actually done anything interesting since the Internet was invented?

You might be surprised how many people have that same problem. It's common. Internet porn has limited productivity in a lot of people.

If I ever doubted that you had a shred of Common Decency about you, those two paragraphs pretty much have eliminated all my doubts. So I need not harangue you about that lack of Common Decency when it's such a moot question now.

You can be sure that any game (present or future) bearing the imprimature of your Vixen Tor Games will henceforth be out of my consideration for any potential purchase, review or playing.

Oh, no, you're right. I have virtually no Decency, Common or otherwise. I also have limited patience with people who contribute little but tell those who do produce all about what they're doing wrong.

False issue. What you'd accused me of above had absolutely no bearing on OR relevancy to anything whatsoever to do with either the content of my character or my previous work. Indeed, your venal comments revealed a great deal of ignorance in your knowledge about me. In fact, you didn't even venture to even objectively ask me anything about my subsequent writings or works I'd done since college. You simply launched into that vile personal attack. And yet, as an unwarranted and egregious personal attack, it was also apparently an indirect admission on your part that you have nothing of credible substance to offer.

Finally, you failed to demonstrate how my criticism in this thread was not constructive toward making future endeavors of this sort more productive and rewarding to gaming listeners. Moreover, you failed to even note the positive points that I commented about as well.

Therefore, I stand by my having recused myself from reviewing, purchasing or participating in any game(s) that your Vixen Tor Games venture has produced or might produce in the future.
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While I appreciate the feedback on interview techniques, Derk and I do this for a lark.

We emphasize fun over professionalism. Our formula is to have a good time talking with a designer/publisher... come what may. If they have an agenda they want to push, then they will, we don't need to draw it out of them. Reiner has a boatload of games, and rather than getting the flavor of the month, we had a list of general topics that we wanted to get his thoughts on.
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Aldie wrote:
While I appreciate the feedback on interview techniques, Derk and I do this for a lark.

We emphasize fun over professionalism. Our formula is to have a good time talking with a designer/publisher... come what may.

Well, you both sound rather professional to me. Yours and Derk's banter is quite evocative of that of a local late-afternoon sports radio show done by two brothers who are professional radio guys.

All I'd hoped to learn was something new about Knizia's upcoming games. And since the new-games question was asked and stepped on in both Parts 1 and 2 of the interview, I didn't hear anything of similar-weight newsworthy interest in the rest of the interview that was as rewarding as the long-form interview you both did several years ago with Knizia.

Who knows, maybe you and Dirk could have motivated Reiner to better cooperate with ya by warning him that unless he was forthcoming with some juicy tidbits about at least one of his forthcoming games, then you and Dirk would put on those G-strings alluded to in the interview and perform a strip tease right there on the interview table in order to tease it out of him.


Aldie wrote:
If they have an agenda they want to push, then they will, we don't need to draw it out of them. Reiner has a boatload of games, and rather than getting the flavor of the month, we had a list of general topics that we wanted to get his thoughts on.

Regardless of what agenda or project any artist, author or designer might wanna push, there are nonetheless roundabout workable ways to engage them in playing "Blind Men & The Elephant" in order to prompt them to volunteer teaser info about works in progress or upcoming works that they might not otherwise have volunteered.

As to the Fun Factor, why, I always tried to make my interviews as fun and offbeat as possible because I reallized that the people whom I'd interviewed had already been asked certain questions times without number and would likely be more apt to speak more candidly when engaged with questions that they possibly hadn't been asked before (or possibly as much before). Besides, making the interview conversational was also another way for me to be able to relax, concentrate and better prevent myself from becoming as starstruck as the late comedian Chris Farley did in his mock interview show on Saturday Night Live.

Based on the way he's talked in both his previous and current interviews with you and Dirk, I would infer that Reiner Knizia is only grudgingly receptive to light war games but wouldn't ever consider designing a mid- to heavy-weight genine war game himself. And yet, to the best of my knowledge, I don't think anybody's ever delved into or asked him what was his underlying philosophy about or objection to war games. (Whenever the topic strays into the realm of anything more than light war games, Knizia seems to ever so nonchalantly shy away from the topic.) So, unless he's actually designing one on the sly and is just being coy and evasive in the meantime, I'd be interested in learning whether he'll ever consider designing a genuine mid- to heavy-weight war game.

 
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I think it was pretty clear in this interview that he isn't going to design a mid-to-heavy weight WAR game. Especially not how "we" would define a wargame (2+ sides battling each other for some objective). It is pretty clear that he doesn't like the idea of people playing games that "glorify war" (his words). He is a product of his nation and generation, and I respect that.

I LOVE wargames, but I can understand why others with different backgrounds would not like the idea of "playing war" (my words).


Thanks Doug, Aldie, and Derk for getting this out. I agree that keeping the interviews you do "fun" lends itself to better listening, even IF Derk is being a total A** to the interviewer!! (oops, did I say that???)

No, really, I appreciate what y'all do, and dig the raw format of the Geekspeak 2.0 feed. I enjoy the Derk and Aldie's contrasting personalities, that is what keeps life fun!!

And Doug, your podcast is great as well, your wife is hilarious!

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I had the fortune to go to dinner with Dr. Knizia after the Orccon/Strategicon interview recorded for Boardgame Babylon, and I think I can answer a couple of the questions raised.

First, Dr. K is 100% a professional game designer. He's very controlled. The idea that he's going to announce a game that he wasn't specifically authorized to announce--it just is not going to happen. If he was supposed to announce a game, he would have mentioned it at the beginning of the interview. (Like FITS, the Keltis card game. and the Keltis follow-on game, then Poison and Knights of Charlemagne for the iPhone early in the first part of the interview.) So the question is a complete waste of time, and was understandably stepped on. (It's kind of like asking a police officer if you can play with his gun: the answer is always no, and all you accomplish is annoying the policeman.)

Second, does he use math to design games? Not consciously, though obvious math things appear in his games, like triangular numbers (1,3,6,10...). I don't know whether he answered this on- or off-mike at Strategicon, but he was very definite that he doesn't. His math background undoubtedly affects his intuitive designs, but he messes with a game until it feels right--often in an off and on manner--then has his private playtesters go at it. He may then play test at cons, but I think he produces too many games to test them all at cons. And then the publishers often changes it completely, such as Lost Cities: the Board Game turned into Keltis.

This really surprised me. I had expected, using Ra as an example, that he had allocated an exact balance of points to each scoring mechanism, then playtested to see where people would over-value or under-value things. He may do so unconsciously (and probably has the math background to do it without thought), but he doesn't do it consciously. He's quite definite on this point.
 
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Regardless of what agenda or project any artist, author or designer might wanna push, there are nonetheless roundabout workable ways to engage them in playing "Blind Men & The Elephant" in order to prompt them to volunteer teaser info about works in progress or upcoming works that they might not otherwise have volunteered.

You've mentioned The Blind Man & The Elephant 3 or 4 times now - I can't find it anywhere on the geek. The way you rave about it I imagine it would be ranked pretty high, Do you have a copy for trade?
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I enjoyed the interviews. It's obvious Reiner isn't going to tell us anything he's not ready to tell us about. I love the way he pauses, then deflects uncomfortable questions with the ease of a well schooled politician. And I may have to by a DS to play his Keltis game!
 
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