The Art of Design: interviews to game designers #25 – Paolo Mori

PaoloMoriHere I’m again after a long stop. Organizing PLAY: The Games Festival becomes years after years more time demanding and dry up all my free time.

I hope to be able to start post again with regularity on Opinionated Gamers. Here my interview to Paolo Mori, a friend and on of the most interesting Italian designers. Paolo ha designed more than 10 games starting with UR in 2006. The three best rated Mori’s games are Vasco da Gama, Libertalia and Augustus, that got a nomination in the 2013 Spiele de Jahres.

Paolo is an Italian designer colleccting ispiration both from German and American designing school. I’m not sure hot to collocate Paolo, he told me “while a great mechanic can stand and live without a good theme, the opposite is not true” but also “there are several themes I really like, so as soon as I have a mechanic in mind, I try to match it with one of these themes I would love to dive into“.

Here my interview to discover Paolo Mori’s designing style!
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Driving home from the Gathering

It’s Tuesday, and we’re taking turns driving.

Here is the list of games that I played this week. I am about 85 percent sure that I have accurately recorded the games that I played.

Dale’s 2014 GoF games

Gib gas
Flizz & miez
Flash 10 x 2
Ted’s party game proto
Flizz & miez

Start frei
Qwixx the card game
Geister Geister Schatzsuchmeister

7 wonders Babel
Flizz & miez
Gib gas
Start frei
Time Stories x 4
Black Fleet
Leg los
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Good night gathering

Last post from Niagara. 

After the low fat lunch, back for more games. Took another group through Start Frei.  The two lap beginning track is taking about 45 minutes now which is just right for me given the weight of the game. 

After that more Splendor. Still fun and easy. I have started to reserve more tiles. It’s a powerful strategy.
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Monday morning. Last full day!

Started off with a new game, Baseball Highlights 2045.


It’s an interesting card game where each player is playing both offense and defense at the same time. 

It’s a cute 2 player game that captures the flavor of baseball with a nice bit of deck building thrown in.

The box says 4p but that seems to just be two simultaneous 2p games in a “tournament”…
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Sunday night.

Istanbul might be one of my favorites of the new games thus far (well at least among the games that I’m not involved with) . Played it twice, and want to play it more…

We played the second time with a random setup and it plays much more interestingly than the first time setup recommended for your first play in the rules. 

Admittedly. I’ve played it twice with awesome groups both times, and that certainly colors how I might like a game.

Now, another try at abluxxen. Eric Martin has become the local GoF cheerleader for the game. I have already had this at home once (bought it in Essen) and we were nonplussed by it.


I was worried that I had played by the wrong rules given that many other people here love it. However, were able to read the translation correctly and the game isn’t any different. 

It is still mostly harmless. But I don’t see the reason for the love.  Nothing here to make me want to kick something else out of the oversized card game drawer.
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Sunday afternoon

I realized that I didn’t actually show you the sub…


16″ steak and cheese sub.
Probably about 400 calories

After lunch, a potential Essen 14 release, Spike from R&R games and Stephen Glenn.

Here is a picture of the board. Can you figure out what we’re doing?

It’s a quick game, about 45 minutes long for 4p. Lots of competition on the map while you try to build your network.


It’s really good and I had an interesting conversation with the designer about the way the game works.  This already goes on my Anticipated at Essen list.
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Sunday morning

Knock down barns was the first game played Sunday (I stayed up pretty late)

A game I’m happy that Adam owns but that I got to play here. You build a wood tower and then try to knock it down with foam marshmallows. 
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Ok. Saturday nightcap

I lied. I’m not done writing for today.

More on Time Stories first. I still can’t talk about it. Once the game is more finalized, I’ll leave it to the space Cowboys to decide how much info they want to release about it.

Current goal is January 2015, but as we all know, there are lots of things that could delay it. The game has been in development for at least three years, and I have been play testing in (with the same intrepid group of time travelers) over two years and two continents.

What I can say is that this is my all time favorite coop game.

After the epic win, another Space Cowboys proto, Black Fleet.


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Saturday lunch

More on the chocolate.

“extreme “
Foil wrapped surprise
White chocolate coated lumpy thing


The rest of the morning was spent teaching my new Carrera games to some gamers.

Then lunch – back to Ted’s for more hot dogs and then Anderson’s for frozen custard. 
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Saturday morning

As you would expect, not a lot of activity early on Saturday morning.

Why am I down here this early? Well, as I am only here for 5 days this trip, it will be a lot easier for me to just stay on my usual sleep schedule. Also, I’ve found that the new, new games are more likely to be free in the morning while everyone else is asleep. 

Anyways with 3 people in my room this year, it’s actually a bit nice that we wake up at slightly different times as this prevents a logjam for the bathroom ;)
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