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Board Games on my Mind

[Board games on my Mind]

Adam Kwapinksi

Cosy Coven / Board & Dice

G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

In 2016, I met Adam Kwapinski for the very first time. It was SPIEL time in Essen, and I had an appointment at REBEL very early that morning to playtest a new prototype. A young man was waiting for me, at that time I think he was still a student, a little bit shy maybe, definitely not talkative, but keen and ingeniously analytical. He was the designer of the game I had came for, and the name of the prototype was Nemesis, we all know what great success followed after that.

Adam Kwapinski when I first met him with the prototype of Nemesis in 2016

Nobody could have foreseen this success in 2016, but I already felt that this game had great potential. Still, the meeting was a very strange one for me. Normally, my counterpart during SPIEL begins with an epic background story, explains some specials about the rules and the artwork and sometimes I also play a round of the game. Adam, however, began with an excuse, because the game was still a prototype. He didn’t tell me much about the story, instead he highlighted the mechanisms, especially the many choices the game did offer. And I … I was asked to play a solo game. He didn’t join me, but watched me, watched my moves, my decisions, all the things I pondered. Because he wanted to learn how people play the game, to learn what he had missed, what he still had to change for the final product. In the end, I was not sure whether he was presenting the game to me or if I was a guinea pig for making the game still greater…

So, why I am telling you this old story? Because Adam Kwapinski, designer of such great board games as Lord of Hellas, Nemesis, Origins and the new Terracotta Army has written a book. A book about his thoughts about the designing process of board games. I had the chance to read the first chapter and I can tell you that you are learning a lot about success in the board game industry while reading. No, you won't find an instruction for your creating your own board game. But you will learn what is really important to be successful.

Nearly philosophical, Adam begins his book with some definitions and explains us the difference between writing a story and designing a book. One of the biggest faults you can make is to concentrate on the story of the game forwardmost, he explains. And, like I already have been told at my very first meeting, choices are the clue to make the game big. “There are also games in which there are no choices. Fortunately, there’s only a few of them”.

[Board Games on my Mind]

Adam provides us deep insights into his thoughts. A great book it seems to be. But who should read it? I think it’s interesting for everybody with a strong passion for board games. You don’t have to be a designer yourself, you don’t even have to be a reviewer (although the book should be a required reading for this species). You only have to love board games and you should have an interest to learn more about the backgrounds of the designing process. Ignazy Trzewiczek’s Boardgames that tell stories already opened my eyes for some aspects of the designing process, but I think that Adam Kapinski’s Board Games on my Mind will much more explain what is important to succeed while designing a game. If, after reading the book, there will be more games like Nemesis, I will be more than happy.

Let’s end with a quotation of Adam about why he has written the book: “The most important reason for writing this book, which shall expose my extreme egoism to its fullest, is the fact that I’m a a board game player and I’ll probably remain one”.

Note: My opinion presented here is based on a small extract, because I had only the chance to read the very first chapter of the book. There will be a Gamefound campaign for crowdfunding the boolk in January 2023. The publisher will be a brand new one, COSY COVEN, a friendly company of BOARD AND DICE. You can find more information at Board Games on my Mind – landing page and you can also subscribe to a newsletter there to get updates about the campaign.

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