Thundergryph Games Journal – March 2020

Gonzalo Aguirre BisiJournal

Dear Journal readers,

I hope you are all doing well and that you are safe. We sympathize to all of you that are directly or indirectly being affected by the corona-virus. This is definitely a difficult chapter of our times, mostly for the vulnerable ones, we send our thoughts to all of you.

20 minutes to yourself

Back in November, when we introduced the concept of the Matchbox Collection quoting Roald Dahl by saying that “life is more fun if you play games”, and that no matter how frantic life can be, we always carve out at least some minutes for ourselves.

One week ago we launched our Kickstarter campaign and we are extremely happy that the concept of this line resonated with you. Thanks for being the foundation of our imagination.

02 matchbox collection newsletter

The Eureka moment

Generally, the ideas behind a board game really start from scratch and need a good amount of imagination, like any other creative process. We have dedicated this month to our Matchbox Collection and we thought it could be interesting to share a few lines regarding how each of these games was born. We asked all of our game designers to think back about that moment in which this game became reality. We hope you will enjoy the reading!

Francesco Testini – 15 days, Golems

15 Days is the first game I have ever created, even before Xi’an and Tang Garden. At that time I used to play Knizia’s “Keltis the card game” every day, and that really influenced 15 Days’ design a lot, which at the time was called “Oriental Art”. My intentions were to create a traditional-like set collection card game, with a modern twist to create interaction. I still recall the first time I played the prototype in Turin, during the 2016 IdeaG convention. A family sat at the table and played the game. Right after the end of the game, they asked me in a very simple way: where can I buy this game? I cherish that memory as my very first happy moment as a game designer.

Golems’engine had been in my mind for two years. It was one of those ideas that designers unconsciously keep in a remote corner of their brain, waiting for the right moment to bring them to life. Finally, one day that moment came. The main idea was to have a strategic game, where each action directly influences the opponent’s strategy by adopting the principle of action-reaction, and where I could use my favorite mechanic: the multi-purpose cards. I remember the first time I played it with Gonzalo. It was a night in which he was extremely tired after working hard for Tang Garden, he was so exhausted that he didn’t understand the game at all. It was the only time that I won against him.

Andrea Sbragia – Eiyo

The ‘Eureka!’ moment in Eiyo sparked on a rainy day while playing the old (but gold) ‘Sword of the Samurai’ from Microprose. I was there, surrounded by enemies, feet on the rice paddy, with two samurai near me, an ashigarut behind me wielding a naginata. I was prepared to survive or to die, only in the name of honor. I really felt the tension, and what I wanted was to portrait that kind of tension in a card game. Looking back and trying to point out my feelings regarding this game, I feel love for both the initial rough prototype and the subsequent development. Thundergryph’s team was present, diligent, smart to help me enhancing parts of the game while sticking to the theme and main project idea. Making Eiyo was really an experience that could fit the sentence: “See first with your mind, then with your eyes, and finally with your body” (Yagyu Munemori).

Gaetano Cavallaro – Rebis

Here in Sicily, we have a community of designers full of amazing people. To keep the flame alive we decided to organize internal design challenges: one of these was based on the theme of creating something around a song of your choice. I was there, trying to find inspiration unsuccessfully, tapping on the cards of ‘The Game’, while thinking of a dear friend of mine that really can’t stand interaction. ‘How can interaction be less painful?’. I immediately grabbed the cards that I had in hand, and started to create an interaction system that could be advantageous! That’s how Rebis (initially called ‘Thirteen’) came to live, from a Johnny Cash song!

Simona Greco and Marco Rava – Space Lunch

Simona loves games with grids. One evening she exclaimed: “We should create a game with a 3×3 grid!” In just a few hours, we created the first sushi-themed Space Lunch prototype, which back then was called ‘All you can eat’. We love Japan and sushi, just like Simona’s beloved Dad to whom we dedicated the game. It is absolutely amazing to see our first game come true in such a beautiful way, we are thrilled and incredibly grateful!

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