Terra Mystica(TM) is one of the most renowned games in the world, ranking 4 on the overall and strategic Top 100’s on BGG. Helge Ostertag, one of its authors, kindly answered our questions about co-designing games, his future plans, and the reason for the world-wide success of Terra Mystica.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do in “real life”, that is besides designing board games?
My profession is Art Therapist, I work in a psychosomatic hospital in Frankfurt, Germany.
In my daily work I meet a lot of different people which is quite interesting and diversified. Since March I am learning to play Cajon (“wood box drum”).
How did you meet with Jens [the other author behind TM] and decide to make a game together? How do you think, is it easier to design a game single-handedly or in collaboration?
Uwe Rosenberg introduced Jens to me as a play tester. After a lot of tesing session together Jens suggested to join me as my co-designer.
The advantage of designing a game together is, that you look from different angles towards the game and its mechanics and how it feels to play it and the feedback and the conclusions you draw from each testing sessions are multiplied.
So you have at least two persons willing to test the game, which is very useful when you are in an early state of game development, where a lot of changes happen. You don’t want to to weary your test players.
The Gallerist by Vital Lacerda was just recently added to Tabletopia and we’re excited to bring you an exclusive interview with Vital himself, who has kindly agreed to talk about his new games, the challenges of The Gallerist, the future of board gaming, and what he thinks about Tabletopia.
Hi Vital! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. So our first question is, When and why did you start designing your own games?
I made a couple of games when I was a kid, and I usually create house rules to the games. I even have a Monopoly set of rules that does not use any dice. I never thought someday I could do this. I not even knew that this could be some kind of profession. Many do not know yet 🙂
I don’t know why I design games, probably because just love do it, probably because of the challenge of creation and maybe I just love to see people playing them.
What was the first game you ever made?
The first real game I made was Vinhos and the reason was because I just wanted to place Portugal on the map of this industry. Wine is Portuguese biggest industry, so, at that time, it sounded the best way to do it.
Top 100 games on BoardGameGeek. Every gamer knows that those games are the cream of the crop, the best of the best board games out there. They are paraised by players and critics alike, they are awarded prestigious prizes.
Let’s take a look on some of those eminent games that you can play on Tabletopia now, with anyone!
Lewis & Clark is a board game in which the players manage an expedition intended to cross the North American continent. Their goal is to be the first to reach the Pacific and discover the rich terra incognita.
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Did you know that with Tabletopia you can be one of the first to try new exclusive games? Check out these fresh May arrivals that are not yet available in print but can be already played on Tabletopia.
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This publication covers our recent development progress and should be helpful, both for experienced, and new Tabletopia users.
Please note that some of what we will describe below is not currently accessible in our browser version, but we will soon merge the features for both browser and Steam versions. Just as a reminder to our existing users – you can get access to the Steam version anytime for free – just follow these instructions.
So let’s begin
New design of the game catalog and game description pages
We have made it more compact and interactive. When you mouse over any of the games, you can choose appropriate actions – such as finding out more about the game, or opening a new table for it.
We are proud to announce that today, we open Early Access on Steam. The Steam version (with downloadable game client) will work alongside the current browser version of Tabletopia.
All our current users will automatically get an invite code to join Steam for free, just follow these instructions. In addition to the possibility to play games with the client version of Tabletopia, the Steam-version has a new interface for the game catalog, invitations and player-matching sections, in-game rules and some other new features. Try them out! Your feedback is very important to us.
Also, we kindly ask you to help us to promote Tabletopia on Steam. The more users we have, the more opportunities for you to find new friends and good opponents.
We are glad to announce that we are nearing the finish line for our launch on Steam, and you can join our page in the Steam Store! Early Access will have some very important new features like player-matching, etc. We also now have more than 200 games in our catalog and have run the first prototype of Tabletopia on iPad… Initially, we had planned to open Early Access at the end of February, but decided to delay it by one month so that we could add some new and very important features, such as invitations and player-matching, in-game rules, etc.
You will be able to use the “Find & Play” section in our platform to find worthy opponents online.
Since we got the Greenlight on Steam, we have been working hard to make a downloadable game client. It will work alongside the existing browser version of Tabletopia, but besides a new interface, some very important features will be added – like invitations and players matching section, in-game rules etc.
At this current point in time, we have more than 200 top board games in our catalog to play, with more being added each week.