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A talk with Alex Randolph
... on the development of his own games

Hol's der Geier is an example of a mechanism which already existed. In som papers - even in der Pöppel-revue - could you read that it was like Destino. That really annoyed me. Because Destino came out the same year as my Top Secret which also used the same mechanism. It is a very old game principle. I met it first during the war, in the 5th Indian division.
 
Then it was a very strange game played for money. They were allowed to play it because it wasn't a game of chance. You played with colored notes with printed numbers. You used a different color for each set. You had to buy the notes. And then they were torn apart like stamps. The game didn't interest me at the time because it was unnecessarily complicated. It was also unfair as the bank had a dreadful advantage. Not only did it sell the notes, but it also took the money in the case of a tie. Maybe I didn't understand it correctly as it wasn't played in English.
 
But the game princip was the same as with Hol's der Geier. You will meet this principle again and again as I will continue to use it, because it is very good.
 
Hol's der Geier, which features this game mechanic in the purest form, was a huge success. There is even a Finnish edition. Soon it will also be available in Italy, but with other animals: the vulture will be replaced by a hairy, hungry wolf, and the mice are replaced by pink piglets.
 
Another example is Generalowsky. Many has said that the forerunner Känguruh was a better game. I completely agree with that. Generalowsky has a very long history. At one point was it even an action game. I will almost certainly return to Känguruh again, but maybe with completely different theme. The Känguruh had a terrible mistake: it was not anything for small children because you had to be able to count, and that excluded children. But it had a theme aimed at children and that was completely wrong. I originally called the game Top Dog: The dog that dominates everything will win. And that was naturally correct as you would get ahead if you followed the layout of the Top Dog. I would like to make it a game for adults with a completely different topic.
 
There are also other games with related mechanisms. Spy vs. Spy for example, which I am glad to have as I enjoy reading MAD magazine very much, have a mechanism for moving forward: there is a series of cards and in the beginning it is pure luck which card you draw next. The cards are only shuffled once and used cards are placed at the bottom so after a time will they become familiar. And it stops being a game of chance, especially as you may take either the first, the second or the third card, so luck plays no longer a role. The same happends again in Twiddeldum, which I made together with Johann Rüttinger. And this will most certainly not be the last time. I will use the principle again because it is very good and great fun. Why not? Dice are not new either! I don't see why you shouldn't be able to use a good mechanic again.
on the life in gameson his first game

From Knut-Michael Wolf's interview in the special issue of Die Pöppel-Revue 1988
with kind permission from Friedhelm Merz Verlag and spielbox.de

© Mik Svellov 1997-2004editor@brettboard.dk03. maj 2004