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Interview: Emanuele Ornella (Part 2)

Posted by Eisley on 5th January 2010

This is the second part of our interview with games designer Emanuele Ornella whose games include:  Assyria (2009), Martinique(2009), Byzanz (2008), Hermagor (2006), Il Principe (2005), Oltre Mare (2004), and Fantasy Pub (2003).

[This is a follow-on from the first part of our interview with Emanuele Ornella.]

What influenced you to design Assyria?  Did Assyria start with theme or mechanics?  How do you create a board with so many different icons and know it’s the best layout?
Ema: As I mentioned, Assyria started from Evo. In Evo you have a board with hexagons in different colors. These colors are the possible terrains where dinos can survive in a specific round. I started with a similar approach but tried to have separated hexagon tiles, as in Catan. That element was removed when I discovered that some combinations of hexagons (with similar symbols close to one another) would be too powerful, plus when I realized that the food cards added enough randomness. The best layout was one where symbols were equally distributed and where no two similar symbols were on adjacent hexagons. That came out after several playtests. Read the rest of this entry »

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Interview: Emanuele Ornella (Part 1)

Posted by Eisley on 4th January 2010

Today’s post is very special as it’s the first in what I hope to be an on-going set of occasional interviews with game designers.  I’m always intrigued by the game design process so these interviews will focus on the game design process and the game of designing.

Emanuele Ornella is an Italian game designer who has designed many games in recent years.  His games include:  Assyria (2009), Martinique(2009), Byzanz (2008), Hermagor (2006), Il Principe (2005), Oltre Mare (2004), and Fantasy Pub (2003).

Hi Emanuele. Thank you for talking to us about your design approach and experience. Seven game designs in seven years – that’s a very productive track record.  Where did it start for you?
Ema: Well I always had a passion for games in general. I started to design my first videogame with Commodore 64 in the mid-80s. Then I started to play Heroquest and Magic the Gathering. At the end of 90s, I found boardgames again. I attended Lucca Game contest in early 2000s and I won the first place two years in a row.  That make me to decide to try the way of Essen.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Assyria, Board Games, Interview | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Assyria

Posted by Eisley on 6th November 2009

Assyria[Below is my initial review of Assyria.  A two-part interview with the game’s designer is available too:  Part One – Part Two]

Ystari games usually contain careful planning and thinking, so when we were at the Rio Grande Games stand we decided to give it a try.   Players place huts on a landscape featuring two rivers, supply their huts with food and can perform other actions too.  The goal is to score as many points as possible from building ziggurats, hut placement and winning favour with dignitaries.

The game lasts eight turns split into three reigns (lasting 2 turns, 3 turns and 3 turns each).  In the first phase of a turn, players select food from the cards available.   There’s never enough food for what you really want and the food you select will determine player turn order too.  Next, players place their huts on the board’s hex spaces.   Placing huts on rivers earns camels (used to perform important empire expanding actions later) and huts placed elsewhere earn points. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Assyria, Board Games, Essen Spiel 09, Review | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »