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David Turczi Interview

David Turczi Interview - Dice Settlers

David Turczi is a busy man, yet he still took time to answer these ponderers. And what answers he gave! I'm a Dice Settlers backer so I'm super interested to see what he has in store for that as well as all his other projects!

Your games tend to have under used themes, is this deliberate or a more organic thing?

Haha I'm happy to take credit for many many things. but the awesome themes I often get to work with have absolutely nothing to do with me....

  • Anachrony was always a time machine building game, but the crazy post-apocalyptic world and the exosuits (and most of the impact) was all thought of by the team at Mindclash.
  • Petrichor's theme was the starting stone for the lead designer David Chircop, when I came on board the game was 70%+ done.
  • Days of Ire was requested by a friend of mine to be done for the 60th anniversary of the revolution, and its sequel Nights of Fire was inspired when I virtually met Brian Train (a Canadian war game designer, and expert of the subject).
The only theme I can take credit for is the cooking in Kitchen Rush, and food is not exactly the uniquest theme, it just fit the real time worker placement mechanism very well.

Trickerion is back on Kickstarter, what made you want to return to it?

Let me first dispel some misconceptions: I was not the designer of Trickerion. I met the guys a month before they launched the game on Kickstarter (I'm in fact an original backer) and I ran to them when I saw how awesome they were doing and pitched them the game that eventually evolved into Anachrony. That said, Trickerion is one of my all time favourite games. And since the release of Anachrony, Viktor and Richard (designers of Trickerion) have been off-the-charts busy working on Cerebria  - which turned out to be a much bigger work than originally estimated (but boy it was worth it).
So while they were working on Cerebria and I was freshly over-playing Anachrony a billion times, I went back to Trickerion and tried my hand at continuing it. Initially they were sceptical: does Trickerion need an expansion? Probably not. Is it cool to have another designer continue your baby? Probably not. I managed to change their minds on the latter when Vlaada Chvatil agreed to have my expansion for Tash-Kalar released - if I'm good enough to meddle there, they might as well give it a try!
Then they played the expansion once - by this time I already eliminated most of the hurdles to the expansion, namely that due to the complex interconnections of Trickerion's economy, the number of things you CAN do, and the number of things you WANT to do had to grow at an equal pace otherwise something seriously gets missed out.
So I got lucky; they loved it and in fact, other than a few notes, they barely changed anything! (which after the 40% redesign we've faced together on Anachrony was extremely refreshing!). So now I'm also part of the "design team" behind Trickerion, but let's always remember that it was Viktor Peter and Richard Amann whose brainchild started it all.

What is your favourite game of yours?

Game I like to play most? Kitchen Rush. The game I'm most proud of as something unique I designed? Nights of Fire. I hope many people will maybe give it a chance despite it's super niche theme.
And of course there are the aforementioned expansions I've made for games I already loved (Tash-Kalar and Trickerion) so play-testing those always seemed a bit more fun than working on my own 🙂

What about other designers?

Other favourite games of mine include Glory to Rome (most fun), Concordia (biggest depth to rules ratio ever), Omega Centauri (best 4x ever!!), Roll for the Galaxy (most gleeful win), and my number one: Mage Knight (oh my it's full of ... immersion.).

Trickerion rates quite highly on the BGG complexity rating (4+), how do you go about making complexity accessible?

Trickerion's genius is that all that complexity is loaded into a simultaneous planning phase that happens seven times in the game. And the number of sensible combinations is actually not that high, so you just pick from your available options while running through your head to make sure that you'll have enough AP and money to do all you want to do. Keeping it in your head is difficult, and there is a lot of it, but none of it is fiddly, none of it involves downtime, and it's infinitely strategic and re-playable.
You just basically asked me why I like Trickerion right? I love complex games, but I can't handle TOO many things to pay attention to. I can *remember*  rules by the millions, but strategically considering all of them are hard, especially if multiplayer player-generated chaos is involved. So nothing more complex than Dominant Species on that front, but Trickerion doesn't FEEL that complex once you know all the cogwheels once. That's the trick I think. As long as all your wheels are easy to turn, the machine can be as complex as you can handle.

Can you give us any clues about your next project?

Hahhahhaha. Yes! Let's see.....

  • With Mindclash, after Trickerion the next big thing is Perseverance. It's a dice drafting, dice placement game, with an area control element (you get to place anybody's dice, but the end of the round we score whose workers control which area!), an exploration (giant hex map and adventure cards) and of course Dinosaurs. Are you in?
  • With Mighty Boards, we're wrapping up on Nights of Fire as it goes to the manufacturer, and we're focusing our efforts on the upcoming expansion for Petrichor, called Honeybees. After that, I'm hoping we get to publish the first game I co-designed with my fiancee, but we need to slightly adjust the theme on that before we go ahead (the "fairy tale-parody-meets-horse-betting at the royal ascot" might be a bit too weird theme for your average Kickstarter backer!!).
  • With NSKN, I've started making notes for an expansion for Dice Settlers, I'll do more work once I have the base game in my hands in a few months. Besides that, I co-designed a game with Andrei Novac (NSKN's founder), that's my first foray into the pick up and deliver genre, but a very me twist on engine building. It's currently themed around Venice, but that's subject to approval. Besides that I'm working for them as a developer, just finished work on Daniele Tascini's Teotihuacan, and now I'm diving into (and LOVING) Nigel Buckle's Imperium. (FYI, Nigel is the designer of Omega Centauri, my favourite "game that nobody knows about.").
  • With Plastic Soldier Company, I'm working on an epic four-player asymmetric war game, currently titled Defense of Procyon 3. It's completely unlike anything either my fans or classic war gamers have seen. I showed it to some old school war gamers, and their reaction was "boy, this ain't Napoleonics" 🙂
  • With Ludicreations, I'm breathlessly anticipating the long delayed third expansion to [redacted], the game that started it all. Plus I pitched them a game that's halfway between Stratego (or Knizia's Confrontation) and a two-player [redacted], and I'm hoping that will climb onto the release schedule soon. I'm also working with Scott Almes to develop one of his fun little games, but I'll let him talk about that.
  • With Alley Cat Games I'm designing a 1880's steampunkish, robot dystopia-based semi-tower defence game. Yes, it has big metal walking things in a vaguely turn of the century setting on a map with giant hexes, but let me reassure you it plays NOTHING like Scythe. I'm also doing development work for them, mostly for the second edition of Welcome to Dinoworld, winner of last year's GenCant roll-and-write competition!
  • And I'm flying to Macedonia in a few weeks to start up some work with Final Frontier Games too... but I can't talk about that yet 😛 oops.
Oh and I'm actually self publishing a tiny card game in a few weeks for a special occasion, currently titled Pocket Dragon. I'll tell you more when the time comes!