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Artikel vom 17.09.2008

Autor: Smuker

Kategorie: Autorensteckbriefe
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Autorensteckbrief - Andrea Angiolino

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My name is: Andrea Angiolino

I was born in: Rome (Italy)

I live in: Rome (Italy)

My Website/Blog is:

I am trained in: Wine tasting, salami & cheese tasting.

I studied: Economics

Title of diploma thesis: Electronic Publishing - History and technological & market prospects

My work career is as follows: Freelance game designer and game journalist since early ´80s. Internet designer for an interactive TV in early 2000 - responsible of the largest unofficial site for the Big Brother in the world. Internet designer for banking site in a large Italian bank for a few years. Noqw full tiome employee in a private company.

My hobbies are: Reviewing Roman restaurants for a local guide. Reading. Travelling. Movies.

If I want to sweat I: Try to cope with Italian bureaucracy. Biking under the Italian sun and cooking Italian and foreign food help too.

I read this book a lot of times: "Ficciones" by Jorge Luis Borges

My favorite literature genre is: Difficult to define... I´d say "fantastic fiction" as by Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco. But I read almost everything I can get.

I can watch these films a 1000 times: "Casablanca", "Blade Runner" and "The Wall"

My favorite movie genre is: Current affairs fiction

My favorite actor is: None in particular. I love to see movies with our Italian great actors like Mastroianni or Gassmann, but I think that there are great ones right now both in Italy and abroad. I tend more to choose movies on directors and theme than on actors, as I choose games by author or subject instead than on game materials.

The following electronic game is spezial: Sim City - the original one.

I like to hear the following music: Italian "cantautori" (singers writing songs by themselves from the ´60s/´80s: Bennato, Guccini, Vecchioni, De André, Conte...)

If I am going to a lost island I would take these three things with me:
A bag of books
A good selection of wine in case I meet anybody (I don´t like to drink alone)
A computer with Internet

My Idols are... The "cantautori" above.

Because... They are entertaining and at the same time they make you think, as great games do.

My favorite games are... Paper & pencil games and old style, hex-grid wargames.

Because... Paper & pencil games are simple and elegant. With just a very few rules they can be very deep in strategy and involvement. On the opposite, the hex-grid wargames of the late 20th century are a deep simulation of a real event, with complex rulebooks and a richness of details that reminds the imaginary 1:1 Empire map described by Borges... Unplayables in some cases, but I loved to play them and I still love to collect them.

I laugh, when... Intelligence and humor meet. This is not so rare: even a 3 years old kid is capable of mixing them together in an irresistible way.

My favorite game which I developed myself is... Wings of War.

Because... It took life of its own. The Yahoo Discussion group founded by fans has nearly 2.000 members from all over the world at the moment and it is just one of the many places where people exchanges optional rules, scenarios, additional gaming materials and such. Even being a wargame, there are many reports of children and female players enjoying it. Clubs fromn several countries engaged in the playful contest of doing "the largest Wings of War game ever" - current record is 47 players at the same table and it was reached at LeiriaCon 2008 in Portugal, where I enjoyed being guest of honor. All in all, a game that seems to produce involvement and enjoyement far beyond what I can do by person. And this makes me very happy.

I love games that... Gives you an alternative world where to live in for a while. No matter if it is an abstract world as Flatland, a very imaginative world as Middle Earth or an alternative historical setting of our own Earth.

I don’t like games that... Have a setting pasted on abstract mechanics. I like games where setting, game materials and rules are blended in a mix where everything fits with everything else in a natural way - here around we are wondering if there is an "Italyan Style" of games done that way. An abstract game with a mask on it is a bit too irritating, for my tastes

In my opinion it is very important that games... are fun to play. Not as obvious as it seems: I found too many boring ones. And being boring is the only really unforgivable sin for a game, in my opinion.

How I became a game author... When I was a kid I loved to change rules to boardgames and to design and build my own, but I never tought that it could become a job. I started on fanzines and with little products in the ´80s, at the same time in which I became a professional journalist writing about games. Then in late ´80s I met the C.UnS.A. group that did games for the state televison and radio, large magazines, big publishers in Italy and abroad, adveretising companies, big events... and even for the boardgame industry. I was haoppy to join them and that´s been the real, professional start.

If I want to get a new idea for a game I... Read books and comics, watch movies, listen to people talking.

The development time of my games takes... A few days for a working prototype. Up to a dozen of years for a published version... Italy does not give so many and so quick opportunities. But now the market becomes global and things are changing. Thanks to a careful work done by several operators in the second half of the ´90s by several operators to "open the path", from the start of this century many Italian authors are published and well known abroad, through their Italian publishing houses or working directly with foreign ones.

My target group is... Depends on the game. I like to make games for newbies and for game enthusiasts, for families and for grown-ups. But when I am asked for a game by someone needing it for his own purposes, as it often happens in my job as a professional designer, the target can be anything else depending on who calls me and why.

I am very proud of... The "Giochi del Duemila" collection of little game booklets, which I invented and edited: it gathered about 30 authors for 23 published titles. Among them there were both people already famous on the Italian scene and absolute beginners. I am also very proud of the GiocAreA game magazine that I directed together with Domenico Di Giorgio and Roberta Barletta: Domenico was a reader of the "I Giochi del Duemila", then he proposed a booklet and he was published. It was his start on the gaming scene. If you read the names on the "Giochi del Duemila" and on the pages of GiocAreA you see many more people that started from there and are now walking the international gaming scene. Among them, all the daVinci staff. I am glad that I started those two things, and a few more too, that helped people to test themselves in gaming, to show themselves, to start their careers or to grow a bit more than before.

I am also pretty proud of having my Orlando Furioso role playing game published by the City Council of Rome in a period when RPGs were attacked by Italian press and media. This edition was freely distributed to teachers and librarians, demonstrating with facts that role-playing games are a great pastime and not the big danger for the youth that some malicious person desribed with the help of superficial and naive journalists.

My greatest game achievement is... The first Lifetime Achievement Best of Show Prize that I was awarded by the Lucca Games show in 2004.

The reason for that is probably... I got several Best of Show prizes for specific games, in the years, but there has been not a Lifetime Achievement category in the Best of Show prize before mine and the cathegory has been added for me. Probably not because of a specific game, even if it was the moment in which Wings of War was launched in the first countries. I think that it has been an aknowledgement of a life spent for gaming and fellow gamers after quite many years of boardgames, gamebooks, computer and internet games, tv and radio games, games for teaching and advertising, books and articles about games... And bringing games to schools, libraries, events. I don´t know if it was really deserved, but it was anyway a nice way to tell me that all the time that I dedicated to games was not utterly lost as tears in the rain.

If there is the perfect game, then it... would probably appeal only to perfect players, not to the great bulk of playing people - including myself. I see game design a bit like cooking: there are better recipes and better cooks, as well as great traditions and many good tricks, but there is a great veriety of dishes because there are different tastes, different appetites, different situations for them.

The following person in the boardgame community is very important for me... Giampaolo Dossena

Because... he is the main Italian game journalist and teached us and our colleagues a style, linking gaming to history, culture and thought. With more than a hint of humor too... Because gaming is a serious thing, but taking it too seriously is so sad and boring.

If I could go back in time, I’d love to meet the following person... Ettore Maiorana.

Because... He would be a most interesting person to talk with. A genius and a man with many interests. He was discovering the destructive potential of the atomic bomb in Italy in 1938 and he suddenly disappeared: by choice, probably, and if it has been a chice it was a strong ethical one. Among the public persons that I´d like to meet there is him.
Out of public persons, several people from my family. Both who I knew and who alas I never meet.

I would love to meet the following person... Ravensburger´s boss.

Because... I have a couple of things to show him personally... Ok, just kidding!
Actually I invented some interview columns on magazines, ages ago, to meet my idols from music, comics, cinema, and I am pretty happy of whom I met. If now I´d win a "dine with whoever you want" lottery I´d ask a while to think about it. I am already pretty happy of the new and old people I am meeting nowadays...

I am lost without these three things...
Some friendly and beloved people around
Something interesting to read on printed paper
A computer with Internet

My next targets and plans are... I am working a lot on new products for Wings of War: new boxes, new accessiories, new miniatures. For the moment I am still concentrating on air war in the first and second world war, but I really hope to be able to apply the system to different settings soon. I am working for a children guide to a science museum with games in it to make it more fun and long-lasting after the visit - I already did one about minerals for the same museum a couple of years ago, now I am dealing with insects instead. I will go on working for a few magazines of games and puzzles, some more traditional and others more innovative. I am also launching a children version of a book of mine about paper & pencil games tha had a few foreign editions in the past - this children book will for the moment be in Italian only, alas. I am also working on a larger book about games in general that I want to finish soon. Then I would like to bring on a couple of expansions for other already published games of mine - they are almost ready. I also want to look a round for publishers for a few more prototypes still waiting to be released by somebody...
Nothing special, as you may see, but a pretty intense activity anyway.

A funny anecdote of my gamelive is... Once upon a time, in the early ´90s, I was the director of an Italian magazine for students. At the same time I was part of the Cooperativa Un Sacco Alternativa, in short C.UnS.A., a group of Italian game designers: pretty a rare job in Italy, one that still today people don´t expect to exist. I convinced both the magazine and the group to share the same flat as an office, so I cound just change room to switch from a working team to the other: the meetings of the editorial staff in one, the brainstorm and long sessions of playtesting in another. We were working pretty hard on a few boardgames for several publishers.
After some time, the editor in chief took me apart with a very worried face.
"Is your group doing so badly in these days?" she asked me.
"Not at all", I said. "We have plenty of work."
"Sorry if I asked", she answered. "But I saw that you just waste all your time playing..."

If I would be a gamepiece I love to be... A standard pawn.

Because... Maybe a puppet in somebody´s hand, but always going around and seeing places. Possibly in several different games and not always in the same!

It’s a pity that the following idea was never done like I planned... That the GiocAreA monthly magazine did not last in newspaperkiosks forever, but went soon online. "A community needs a newspaper", said Ghandi, and the Italian gaming community does not have one since the times of Pergioco, the monthly magazine of the early ´80s where I had my first regular column.

Gameplaying is for me... Living for a short while in an alternative world where laws are (almost) clear and fair. A funny alternative and a good training to the real one

If I could undo something I would... Rearrange the social and economic organization of our little planet.

My motto is... "Change your motto every now and then: it makes your life more varied."

My Games (ordered after years upwards):
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