TEiriz - How you define Jerusalem?
Jerusalem is a game about power and control. Players struggle inside the Holy City to get majorities for Squires, Gold and Prestige. The aim of the game is to build the highest Tower of your Castle by the end of the game. In order to win, players have to balance their forces and round after round choose where to play their men. You must plan with attention your strategy but you must also adapt your style upon your opponents. There a lot of hard choices and you must keep an eye also on Events. The action is tense and I like a lot the atmosphere around the table during a game of Jerusalem. If you want to win, you can't make any errors!
TEiriz - What was the idea that led you to this project?
The first idea came up during 2003 and we developed it quite a lot. Together with a friend of mine we choosed to create a game for expert gamers with a lot of hard choices (no luck factor) but with a simple design. Since the start of the project the game was about majorities and revenues but elements such as Events, Action cards and special privileges were added after. After a long wait, during which I developed other two smaller games (Easy School and Lungarno), I take into my hands again the project and together with the publisher we worked very hard to complete the game, balance it and choose background, graphics and components.
TEiriz - Which is the target public for Jerusalem?
It's a medium-high target. People who like to play strategic games will enjoy Jerusalem but since rules are quite simple and you can learn how to play quickly, I think that also casual players will find the way to play it and become more expert players. Anyway the learning curve is very high so you have to play it quite a lot to understand what's behind it and win. On the box we printed 12+ but I also played it with younger boys and they had no problem to learn it and play it.
TEiriz - Have you a new project to edit that you can reavel us something?
I'm working on some new projects and also something new for Jerusalem itself. The most developped game is a children game. It's a cooperative game that I like very much. It's very different to develop a game for children because they have quite different targets. They need very simple rules with no exceptions at all. They need fast feedback and they dislike to lose... It's a very interesting quest! Also graphic and game materials are very important. I'm also working on a big expansion for Lungarno with boats and goods to ship.
TEiriz - Can you tell me the game you enjoy playing the most? Why?
To have fun playing a boardgame is a changeable statement. Control against randomness. Sometimes I like to play more random games, throw many dices and things like that. Sometimes I like to have the control over all resources and available actions. It's very difficult to tell you a title but obviously there are games I like more than others. By example I like all alea games because there are many kind of different games (Puerto Rico or Rhum and Pirates...). Also the graphic design is very important but I don't want miniatures in all games I play... I like economic themed games but also Agricola is a very funny game!
TEiriz - Can you tell me your favorite game? And your favorite type of game?
There's not only one game I can mention. There are a lot of favorite games. It's a matter of available time, people I'm about to play with, my personal mood and things like that. Anyway I like a lot Puerto Rico, Taj Mahal, Hansa, Traders of Genoa, Samurai, Oltremare, Tikal... New entries have been Pandemic, Kingsburg, Vasco da Gama and Agricola. I also like classic such as Catan and Carcassonne, but I also like to play Zombie themed games and fantasy like Talisman or the old glory HeroQuest!
TEiriz - Do you normally follow any particular game designer with especial attention?
Kramer and Schacht are my preferred designers. I like their quite clean style and I own all their games. Coloretto like games (such as Zooloretto), China, Tikal and Princes of Florence are their best work. Anyway I try many kind of different games because like an author of books that read many different things, I think that a game designer must play many different games.
TEiriz - Do you think that board games can be use for an education purpose?
Board games may teach a lot of things. I think that children who play boardgames (and not videogames!) grew better. They understand that planning a strategy is a key factor to win but they also learn they have to follow rules to have success. They learn to lose before win. Playing boardgames means also to stay together with other guys and this is very important too. So, in my opinion, boardgames may be used for educational purpose but not only to learn mathematic, geography and history, but to learn to live together with other people.
TEiriz - What you know about Portugal? Have you ever visited Portugal?
I never been in Portugal but this question comes at the right moment since next year I'll be at LeiriaCon (29-30 January) me and my wife Marina have been invited by the people who are arranging the event. That guys are very kind so I can't wait to come to discover your country and enjoy the gaming weekend!
TEiriz - Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, and we hope to see many more of your work in the future.