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Het spel van...

Bordspellenbedenkers en -makers. Op het eerste gezicht mensen zoals jij en ik. Maar bedriegt de schijn? Wat drijft hen eigenlijk, hoe verzinnen ze het, en vooral; wat bezielt hen?
Daar proberen we in deze reeks interviews achter te komen. En ook in  hoeverre onze helden overeenkomsten hebben en waarin ze van elkaar verschillen. Deze keer zijn we in gesprek met...

... Michael Keller

keller2Hello Michael
Hi Dick, how are you?

Great. We are happy that you found time for this interview
No problem.

Most people know you as the designer of La Granja, which is a classic Eurogame. But you have done more stuff.
Yes, I have and I will be doing more and more!

Can you tell us something about yourself? For example, do you have a relationship, children, pets? How do you live? What do you do for a living? Do you have any other hobbies? Tell, tell, tell!
I live in Switzerland in the Valley of Emmental. There i have a Family with 3 Kids, 2 Cats, 2 Dogs and 2 Rabbits. We all live in a big House and there is (mostly) a lot going on. I work as a plaster and als as a caretaker for refugees. My other hobbys are varying from time to time and i also just like to spend time with my kids. Sometimes we even play games together.

The game we are going to talk about today, can you please introduce that to us?
It's a game in a solar punk world and a player will try to let grow different plants on giant platforms on top of threes.

What kind of game is it?
It's an eurogame like it has some similarities to former games of me and Ode.

Ode?
Andreas "ode." Odendahl

In what does your game differ from similar (same type) games?
It has a puzzle element and also a nice new way of building up your engine.

It was published by which publisher?
It will be published by the game builders.

Is it still for sale? What's the price?
It's not yet for sale, but it should be around 50 Euro.

Do you think that's a good price? Is it worth this?
Definetely a good price for a box full of fun :)

When did you come up with it and what exactly triggered that first ideas?
It's an old game i worked for it a very long time. It's formerly known as Loyang dice game and it went on from this point of development.

Can you tell us about the development process. How does something like this work for you?
The development process lasted over several years and with 3 designers and 3 different publishers. It went from the original Idea of Loyang dice game to a tile laying game in the manner of patchwork. Then it went on with a greenhouse theme, where you build up your greenhouse/garden. Then more and more stuff went into the game like playerpowers and scoring cards. Finaly over the last few month, we polished the different elements that it worked smooth and now in Essen 23 it should come to life.

planta nuboDid you get help from others, are there people you play the prototypes with?
Definitely there was a lot of people involved in the process of developing the game. Several friends of mine but also groups and gamer from Odes circle.

When you went searching for a publisher. Was this a hard road?
It was for a long time not clear, who wants to lay hands on this. So finaly ode himself took care and decided to publish it with the game builders (his company).

Then the publisher is going to produce it... do you still have contact or influence in that process on how it will look?
From a certain point, you have to let go and let the publisher do their work. This point was close to the very end, where the realisation allready took part.

Finally the game is ready and the boxes are in the shops. What is your role then?
I can be proud and happy to have another game brought to life!

In which countries (and languages) has your game been released?
In english and german for first; but more languages are planned.

Are you currently working on expansions, or busy with another game? Tell!
Oh many!

Are you now a full-time professional game developper?
No, maybe one day, i will have a big part of my income covered by game designing.

If you could start all over making your first game, what mistake would you not make again?
I will not try to put all the good ideas into 1 game.

Are there other game makers who you admire and why?
Uwe Rosenberg, Stefan Feld and also Ryan Laukat and some of the italian designers. They know what they do and want with a game. It's a profession and not a simple one.

And illustrators, are you a fan of any of them?
Michael Menzel, Ian O'Tool, and some i don't even know the name.

Do you want to say anything else. Did I forget to ask something?
Your questions were very complete. This covers most of  the aspects in game designing.

Did you enjoy this interview?
Yes, but I am a little late, since i'am pretty busy.

Do you maybe have pictures? At least one of your own. Photos from the development process, sketches, rejected versions? It would be nice to show these.
Yes, many. I will upload some for the show.

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