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Mini-interview with Walter Obert (Strada Romana)



Strada Romana, by Walter Obert (Star – system), was awarded the Boulogne Billancout in 2008. He sought a publisher and “found him”, not one but several. Giochix, Gheno Games and Blackrock Editions teamed up to produce this game in Italian, German, English, French and Spanish. Rio Grande Games is the distributor for USA.

Strada Romana has its action in Rome early in the second century BC . The city is in the middle of the Empire, open to the more profitable trades. Hundreds of wagons go the “via”, from Rome to Ostia, linking the Portus to the Urbe.

In each round, each player moves until ten cars, they departure of Rome or Ostia, and performs contracts in the provinces through which passes. Of course, this cross  routes lead to gridlock that only the best dealers will benefit from.

Be higher merchant of the time is the players goal.

Game for 2 to 5 players with realease date planned for September 2009 and official presentation at the Essen fair 2009.

The JE was talking with the author – Walter Obert …

Strada Romana, de Walter Obert (Star – system), foi premiado no concurso de criação Boulogne Billancourt em 2008. O autor procurava um editor e “achou-o”, não um mas vários. Giochix, Ghenos Games, Rio Grande Games e GamesInitaly associaram-se para produzir este jogo em italiano, alemão, inglês, francês e espanhol.

Strada Romana situa a sua acção em Roma no início do segundo século A.C. A cidade está no meio do  Império, aberta às trocas comerciais mais lucrativas. Centenas de vagões frequentam as vias, de Roma a Ostia, ligando o Portus à Urbe.

Em cada turno, cada jogador desloca as seus dez carroças, à partida de Roma ou de Ostia, e realiza contratos nas províncias por onde passa. Evidentemente, este cruzadex de rotas conduzirá a engarrafamentos que só os melhores comerciantes saberão tirar proveitos.

Ser maior mercador da época é aquilo  que se pede aos jogadores.

Jogo para 2 a 5 jogadores com saída prevista para  Setembro de 2009 e com apresentação oficial assegurada na feira Essen 2009.

O JE esteve à conversa com o autor – Walter Obert…

1 – You will present Strada Romana in Essen? How you define your game?

WO – Yes, finally the game will be published for the next Essen fair. Hmmm… It’s ever a surprise, for me, to see how many different results can be obtained starting from the same, usual elements. In this case I take 10 wagons, 5 for side, running between Rome and harbour of Ostia. No one owns any wagon, but the player can move each of them on his turn. On the narrow road, you can pick some kind of goods and requests to make contracts, secretly bidding for the best runner, and trying to cut out the other players from the best routes and contracts. A strange mix of different mechanics, well integrated between them.

2 – Winning the Boulogne Billancourt in 2008 make the find-a-editor a easier task? Who firstly had the interest to publish Strada Romana?

WO – Usually the winners of BB award has a great chance to be published, because the jury makes a really good work to show the game to many publishers and have it played by them, not only French ones. And the prize itself is a great promoter for the winners. I like to remember the second place at the Archimede award, in the same year, too.After usual submissions and “compliments-but-we-are-full-for-the next-year”, the publisher of the game named “Strada Romana” must to be italian: Gameinitaly, a new publisher. We have a lot of requests for different countries. A roman road must travel a lot! 🙂

3 – How do you “get” the idea for the game basis?

WO – This is fun. Sometime I try to have new ideas crossing very different things: it’s one kind of creative thinking. I found the basic idea reading an Asterix comic, viewing some picture of traffic jam with wagons and chariots blocked in the roads of Rome. The theme was amazing, and worked well with a kind of “homage” to a great game, Heimlich & Co. from Wolfgang Kramer. I even thought that it was possible to make a more complex game starting from that mechanic. Crossing Roman road jam with moving secret identities, that’s the mission. The first result was really flat, bur after some tests at IDEAG (Italian meeting of game designers) I found the solution.

4 – What are the strongest arguments of your game?

WO – There are 3 different ways to obtain winning points, all tied together, and simple rules to achieve them. Simple to learn, difficult to play smartly.

5 – What do you think about this year SdJ winner?

WO – Every year I read a lot of discussion about them, often similar each other. The real stuff is the winning criteria itself. I think that the prize has become so important to influence the guidelines of the producers. Therefore is fundamental to not fix its criteria, always keeping open the possibility to win for any good game. If one of the main objectives of the SDJ is to give to German families a good and wide range of interesting titles, Dominion represents a meaningful choice in terms of innovation and originality. It has opened a new category, like Shadows over Camelot some year ago. Without SoC today we would not have Pandemic, and the SDJ some years ago rewarded SoC, therefore the jury had seen right.

6 – This year, will you participate in the Boulogne Billancourt?

WO – No, I don’t have the next game ready. But I want to partecipate in the next round and I hope go to Paris again!

7 – Tell us about your best dreams in the game area.

WO – This is difficult. For myself, I want to have more time to try different games and to publish one good game for year. For my country, I want to promote gaming in different areas of society, starting from children, classrooms and families.

2 comentários leave one →
  1. 2009/07/14 14:56

    Only a precisation: official publicers are Ghenos Games (Italy), (Italy) and Blackrock Editions (France). Gamesinitaly is a common trademark by and Ghenos Games.

    Rio Grande is the distributor for USA.

  2. abruk permalink
    2009/07/14 15:51

    Thank you for the correction!

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