Author Topic: Spiel Doch 2016 Article  (Read 490 times)

Offline OJH1997

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Spiel Doch 2016 Article
« on: April 19, 2022, 02:44:49 AM »
Hello All

First, apologies for my long absence but quite a bit has been going on for me, including a house move and multiple large MA deadlines so sadly playing Carcassonne and being pro-active on here have unfortunatly taken a backseat (Though I have treated myself to Zamek which I'll open once I've handed in these essays!).

It is actually because of one of my essay's I'm making this post. In short I'm discussing how we can study how modern board games are used and apply those principles onto how people used the gaming boards we have found from pre-history, and I'm using Carcassonne as an example. Primarly how Carcassonne is used extensively to teach maths and geography today, and so perhaps board games in the past where likewised used as teaching tools.

Whilst I have a good number of sources already, I own the 2016 edition of Spiel Doch that discusses Carcassonne, but I can't read German! I'm assuming there is some good things in there I may be able to use in my essay either as direct points about Carcassonne being used to teach concepts, or just as a general information about the game I can put in it's intro section of my essay. As such I'm wondering if anyone has gone to the trouble of translating this article already and would perhaps be happy to share this with me? Long shot but I thought I'd ask here. Equally if you have anything about Carcassonne you think I should mention, drop something here!

Thanks in advance

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=5887.0
What's the different between a Thief, a Fisherman and a Hiker?
Different editions of Carcassonne that's what...

Offline Willem

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Re: Spiel Doch 2016 Article
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2022, 02:54:01 AM »
I have the edition of Spiel Doch, but haven't translated the whole thing hahaha. I can have a look for some noteworthy points from it later though.
Perhaps Decar has an English version of the magazine?

Also, you might want to see this article which has a lot of nice information about the history of the game

And Decar's BGG Post with some amazing comparison of art throughout (with some help from yours truly :D )
Join me on the journey through the history and oddities of Carcassonne, on My Instagram

Offline wolnic

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Re: Spiel Doch 2016 Article
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2022, 02:56:41 AM »
I know that a game called "Railway Rivals" or "Dampfross" (German release) was originally created by the designer to teach school kids about the development of railways in Britain.
AutumnForest (C2), Catch Of The Day (C1/2/WD), Cliffs&W'falls (C1/2), Coast (C1/2), FishHuts (C2), Fluvium (C2), NewForest (C2), Harvest (C1/2), Stone Circles (C1/2), Wells (C2), Jordan River 2 (AotC), River I/II (GR)
Devt: Sakura (C2), WinterEdge (C1), WinterCoast (WD/WE) and others

Offline Scott

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Re: Spiel Doch 2016 Article
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2022, 11:23:18 AM »
The history of Carcassonne

The medieval fortress of the southern French city of Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Four million visitors come every year - but perhaps even more players? More than ten million copies of Carcassonne have now been sold, about half of them expansions. From Brazil to New Zealand and from Finland to Israel, Carcassonne is available in 43 countries and 26 languages. Martin Klein and Udo Bartsch follow in the footsteps of knights, monks, highwaymen and peasants.

The Author | Klaus-Jurgen Wrede: His Novel Had to Wait

The rural district of Hennef in North Rhine-Westphalia has only a few hundred inhabitants. One of them is known to the entire gaming world: Klaus-Jurgen Wrede sits in his fireplace-heated living room and tinkers with a draft. The square plates on the table give it away: There's no surprise, it's a variant of Caracassonne. - After 15 years, isn't he getting tired of the green squares? The author reacts happily: "No, not at all, and it doesn't seem like 15 years to me anyway.

We put the pieces away and do what the 52-year-old says he hasn't done in years: We play Carcassonne in its purest form. In other words, just the basic game, without any expansions. While the familiar landscape of branching paths and half-finished cities unfolds before us, Wrede tells his story. He still felt slightly overwhelmed by everything that had happened.

In October 2000, his exceptional game was published. Carcassonne was the Sauerlander's first publication ever. "However, that can only be said because I had bad luck once in the early 90s." Already in 1992 he was about to make his debut, Wrede revealed. His card game "Scippo" was already announced as a novelty, but then fell under the radar when the scandal-ridden Hexagames publishing house went bankrupt. He was in his late twenties, in the middle of his traineeship, and later worked as a music and religion teacher at a high school in Koln.

Our game is slowly picking up speed. I draw many penalties, Wrede starts building a rough city and tells about the beginnings. The idea for Carcassonne came completely unplanned. In 1999, the author traveled to the south of France to write a novel about the Ghent Altar. For research, he walked in the footsteps of the Templar Crusade against the Cathars. However, his impressions on site inspired him to create something completely different: a game of tile-laying, in which the typical landscape of the region was to be recreated stucco by stucco.

Back home, the then mid-three-year-old immediately set to work on the development. As a fan of more complex games, he sometimes had to muzzle himself: "The game was much more complicated at the beginning, I broke it down to a few intuitive rules. Wrede offered his design to three game companies, Hans im Gluck-Verlag agreed immediately and published the game at the International Game Days in Essen that same year.

"Oh, we forgot the road scoring here..." That's right, we talk too much and are careless. A good excuse with which I can justify my later defeat. Back to Essen: The reaction of the audience was overwhelming. Carcassonne was sold out in a very short time. Wrede - at first just happy that it had worked out with a game publication at all - was flabbergasted. He did not realize for a long time what a milestone he had created. For him, Carcassonne was a good game, but he thought that his design for Mesopotamia, which was created at the same time, was better. But at some point, even Wrede had to realize it: Carcassonne was the ultimate hit with the public, and in 2001 it won the title Spiel Des Jahres (Game of the Year) and the Deutscher Spielepreis (German Game Prize) almost without competition.

Wrede became a man in demand and has since published several other games, none of which have been nearly as successful as his first. The author doesn't seem to be bothered by this: "Carcassonne was a fluke, you can't plan or repeat something like that... Oops, now I have to be careful that my city doesn't get too big here."

Around the originally simple game has grown a whole universe of expansions, spin-offs and special platters. When asked about this, Wrede has to smile. At first, he didn't think expansions were necessary: "I liked the game the way it was. Why change anything?" But the publisher received a number of requests from fans, and Wrede recalled his own experiences as a gamer: hadn't he also wanted additional material for The Settlers of Catan?

Today, the author prefers to play Carcassonne with a maximum of two expansions at the same time: "Otherwise it gets too long for me, so I'd rather play a second round with other expansions right after that." In our game, Wrede has just completed his large city. My attempt to join in from the side is blocked coldly. The result is such a huge chunk of points that Wrede laps me. From this moment on, he no longer needs to worry about winning.

Speaking of which, thanks to Carcassonne, Wrede naturally has no worries in other respects either. His million-seller makes him financially independent. However, this success has hardly had any influence on the way he lives his life. Wrede tends to enjoy luxury on a small scale. "The fact that I didn't use the money to buy a big car surprised my school students in particular. But things like that weren't important to me before, and they still aren't." The author remained true to his teaching profession for years, until he had to give it up in 2009 for health reasons.

In the meantime, Wrede is a full-time games - and recently also a book author. He has finally finished his old project, which had to wait so long because of the hype surrounding Carcassonne. With Das Geheimnis des Genter Altars (The Secret of the Ghent Altar), the novel that Wrede had wanted to write back in 1999 was published in 2015.

So if you want, a game of Carcassonne can certainly be interpreted as a metaphor for Wrede's life path: Some cities take a very, very long time to build, and in the end it's not necessarily a straight path that yields the most points. In our game, while the draw pile runs out and Wrede finally defeats me, his personal draw pile seems to be far from exhausted. In the past years it was a bit quieter because of the novel research, but the future - Wrede tells me at the farewell - shall not only bring further Carcassonne titles, but after a long break also other games. One can be curious.

The Publisher| Hans im Gluck: It doesn't get more successful than this

The puzzle: perhaps a primal instinct of man. As soon as you give him green cards with meadows, paths and cities, he constructs a landscape out of them. Bernd Brunnhofer immediately noticed this building instinct after a young author sent two game prototypes to his Hans im Gluck publishing house. One of these two had that special something. Carcassonne turns the puzzle into a tactical game in an ingeniously simple way: You lay out tiles and - the very decisive trick! - you place pieces on them to win points.

But Hans im Gluck would not have been Hans im Gluck if it had been left at that. The Munich team has a reputation for testing and optimizing games intensively. Fundamental revision has been a publishing principle since the very beginning. It all started with a revision in the first place. Bernd Brunnhofer and Karl-Heinz Schmiel met at the chess club and discovered their shared passion for board games. Particularly popular in the protagonists' shared environment was The Godfather, a now largely forgotten game from the early 1970s, whose cult status was probably based primarily on its packaging in the form of a violin case.

Because of the unclear rules, Brunnhofer and Schmiel not only repeatedly got into each other's hair; they also began to change the game. On and on. Until something completely unique was created: Dodge City. The proud young publishers were able to sell their first edition of 150 copies, illustrated and printed by themselves, at the International Game Days in Essen in 1983. Encouraged by the success, more games followed, but in 1987, the company split up. Schmiel wanted to stay in his profession as an educator and saw the publishing house only as a hobby. Brunnhofer, unemployed as a sociologist, wanted to produce more professionally and generate profits.

"I'm sure it was blue-eyed, too!" he laughs today. "But I had the good feeling: I'm in full possession of my powers, this suits me, I can do it! I've always been someone who likes to take risks." Since sociologists were not in hot demand on the job market anyway, Brunnhofer opted for what promised him greater motivation. And the good feeling was not deceiving. The one-man business Hans im Gluck quickly rose to become a respected address, was the first small publisher to win the title Spiel Des Jahres (Game of the Year) in 1991 with Drunter & Druber, repeated the success in 1994 with Manhattan, repeated the success in 1996 with El Grande, repeated the success in 2001 with Carcassonne.

Hans im Gluck managed the balancing act like hardly any other publishing house: popular with fans for sophisticated products, successful on the market with products suitable for the general public. "When developing a game, you have to decide in which direction it should go," says Brunnhofer. And with Carcassonne, it was immediately clear: suitable for the masses! Accordingly, the submitted design was still being polished. Wrede's original game was more confrontational. Figures could be placed without restriction in already occupied areas. A race was often the result. Brunnhofer changed this: "Fighting games play themselves dead faster and often bring negative effects with them. Two players join against the third, or one unintentionally makes the next one the winner. Such frustration factors have to go." Since then, Carcassonne can be played in two ways. If you like it peaceful, you build beautiful landscapes. If you like it nasty, you have to be subtle.
Even for Hans im Gluck-Verlag, who was used to success (oh yes: with Thurn & Taxis and Dominion, the games of the year number five and six were added later), Carcassonne reached a new dimension. "We live off it!" says Brunnhofer. Plain and simple. Carcassonne alone covers around 85 percent of publishing costs. And in order to be able to continue to live from Carcassonne, the publishing house has meanwhile changed and modernized somewhat. More attention is being paid to product maintenance and foreign markets.

But Hans im Gluck should also remain a top address for the die-hard game connoisseur. "The expectations for our new products are high," says Bern Brunnhofer's 31-year-old son Moritz, who now manages the company. "we have earned a good reputation, and we want to maintain it." Which is obviously succeeding. The German Games Prize, based on an annual vote of some 2,000 games fans, went to... in 2014 and 2015. Surprise: Hans im Gluck again. But the air at the top has become darker. The market for more complex games is now more hotly contested than ever, and the quality level has risen enormously.

Unlike father Bernd, who liked to plunge into the next project after each one was completed and was absorbed in working on rule details with veterans of the Munich game scene for hours on end, son Moritz liked to focus more. "All the new stuff consumes a lot of resources," he says. "The ratio between effort and new benefits is better if you build on existing products." In other words, good news for fans: as long as demand continues, there will always be more games in the Carcassonne family.

Like almost everything else at Hans im Gluck, the generation change has worked out well. Even if it was late. "Who does the same as their parents? That was inconceivable to me," Moritz Brunnhofer looks back. He only joined the publishing house in 2008, having previously tried his hand at event management and a degree in physical engineering. Nor does he hide his former time-consuming activities in Munich's nightlife. Now, within just a few years, Moritz Brunnhofer has stepped out of his father's shadow and matured into a universally respected publishing personality.

Bernd Brunnhofer, now 69, will soon retire from the business. Certainly, he had been able to gild his pension with the sale of the Carcassonne brand. But he already owns a finca in Mallorca; why a second one? More important to him was the continued existence of his creative forge. Moritz is the guarantor that it will go on for many years with the hopefully always great games from the publishing house, which carries the lucky pig in the company logo.

How the master plays

Sebastian Trunz (33), a computer scientist from Bonn, is a Carcassonne giant. He won the German Carcassone Championship in 2007, 2008 and 2015. In 2007, he was even world champion. For Spiel Doch! he opens up his bag of tricks:

1. Know all the pieces! As a Carcassonne professional, it is an absolute must to know all the pieces and their number. During the game, just put the overview map next to the board and take a look at it from time to time. This way you'll know the pieces automatically over time.

2. Make life difficult for your opponent! Place a piece in such a way that a gap is created for which there is no matching piece. Conversely, you should protect yourself from being blocked in this way.

3. Where does the music play? Always pay attention to what is important at the moment. Is there only one piece missing for a ten-point city? Can one piece take out two characters at once? These important battlefields have priority!

4. Little things make a mess! Try to build as many small cities as possible rather than one big one. You are sure to get points from small cities, while with a big city you always run the risk of it being blocked or attacked.

5. There are no bad parts! How often in Carcassonne do you hear the phrase "I'm just drawing crap!"? This may be true sometimes, but you should always try to find the best possible move! A straight line or a curve is often a great way to prepare for an obstruction or an attack.

The Meeple Cult | I'm the most awesome character in the world!

Hello, I am the Meeple! The word is English, and it is pronounced "Miepel." But I'm sure you know that yourselves. Because I am the most famous character in the game. Everybody loves me! Especially the Americans. They also gave me my name. "Meeple" is a combination of "my" and "people," so it means "my people. This is the most common explanation; there are other theories as well. In my early years, my name was  follower." Imagine that! No one can pronounce "follower" on an international level. My inventor Bernd Brunnhofer really should have thought about that beforehand.

But he didn't know that one day I would become so popular. Bernd just wanted to create a character for Carcassonne that could stand and lie down. We meeples have to be able to do both perfectly: As a knight, highwayman or monk, we stand; as a peasant, we lie down. Normal cones were not up to the task. They roll away. So Bernd made a pattern, showed it to the wood manufacturer, and they both nodded and said, "Yay!”

And then Carcassonne became Game of the Year. All of Germany played Carcassonne, and I was always there. And when Carcassonne spread all over the world, I was there again. And soon I even appeared in other games. It just happened. Every game designer had a Carcassonne at home, of course, and when he was making a new game and thought "Hmm, what figures do I use for this?", the Meeple immediately came to mind. And the publishers would get game prototypes with meeples and be like, "Yay!”

Peter Eggert from Eggertspiele was one of the first in 2005. For the Antike game, he needed a lot of figures, and because it costs a lot of money to have a new die made, he asked Hans im Gluck if he could just use Meeples. He was allowed to. Peter was pleased, because he thinks Meeples look good and are easy to grip. In Cacao from Abacusspiele, we also use Meeples. As figures and printed on plates. Originally, they were supposed to be hats. But then editor Matthias Wagner found that players can identify much better with Meeples: "Meeples are tried-and-tested sympathy carriers," he says. "No other character can match that." And for what it's worth, yay!

In the meantime, we Meeples are not only found in games for a long time. There are ties made of Meeples and Meeples shirts, Meeples earrings and Meeples keychains, Meeples dishes and Meeples baking dishes, Meeples Christmas tree ornaments and Meeples made of Plusch. And much, much more! Quite a few game clubs and game cafes around the world have the Meeple in their name. It's a true Meeple-mania! The people of Hans im Gluck are happy about this, because the Meeple stands for Carcassonne and Carcassonne in turn stands for Hans im Gluck. But they are not always happy. Some people who use the Meeple to make money don't even ask if it's okay. And that's really not okay.

I am not protected. Hans in Gluck tried it later, but it did not work. I am too human; the form cannot be protected. And even if I could... If someone changed me even a little bit, made me a little bit fatter or something, the lawyers would say: This is not the Meeple anymore! But any child can see that it is me. I have lain lazily on the meadow as a farmer for too long, so what?

Dice or chess pieces represent the board game of earlier times. We Meeples have become the distinguishing mark of modern author games. Pictures instead of text are becoming more and more important today for the exchange of information. As a visual sign, my likeness is ideal. I possess symbolic power. If someone wears a shirt with the imprint "I heart Meeple", like-minded people immediately recognize: A gamer! Yay!

Offline OJH1997

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Re: Spiel Doch 2016 Article
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2022, 02:33:40 AM »
Thanks so much! Really appreciate that :D


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