Xavier Lardy Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

We’re proud to induct Xavier Lardy into the Hall of Fame for getting his game Haunted into mass-production. Please join us in France as we talk to Xavier about his accomplishments and the future.

Tell us about yourself and how long you’ve been designing games.

Well, I’m 41 years old and I live in France near the french alps. I don’t have kids yet and work in the bioacoustics field (the study of the sounds of the living). As long as I remember, I use to design games when I was a kid, by merging existing games together. I was fascinated by the beauty of boards, box covers and not concerned at all by playability (my friends were very patient). I even worked in the videogame industry for a while. I really started to design board games when I was 33 years old, and it all started with a bet!

Please describe Haunted.

First I’d like to say that Haunted is the name of the game that was once published at deviantArt for print & play and TGC for POD ; and Phantom is the name of the game based on Haunted that is currently published by Ludonaute and distributed in France and other european countries by Asmodée. In a nutshell, Phantom is a two player card game, in which you haunt rooms and summon ghosts to scare the members of the family that lives in the house. It’s a duel between two vengeful spirits, one being an indian, the other one a settler. Usually, the game lasts about 30 minutes and has a great replay value.

Did you create a design journal for your game? If so, did you publish it anywhere?

At first, I didn’t created a design journal, but kept track of all the prototypes and rules. For the collector of Haunted I published a retrospective at deviantArt, in french and updated it for the Designer’s Diary at BGG, in a shortened version. The complete version is readable, in english, at deviantArt :  (Beware : there are 9 chapters, covering about 8 years of patient game design).

This table however retraces the evolution of all the different game components : monsters, characters, rooms, items and areas. I think it gives a good grasp on what game design really is.

Are there any caveats or tips you could share with other designers looking to make the same game in multiple languages like you did?

Before Haunted, I only had the experience of asking friends to translate as much as they could the rules of Barbecue for the print & play version at deviantArt. The game was translated in about 12 different languages, including Chinese and Russian! For Haunted, it was a rocky road (or I might say, a raging river). The first thing to know, is that I started from and original French version, and did a first translation of the (quite long) rules. I asked two friends fluent in English to spellcheck it, and I thought that was it. Que nenni! Before publishing the game at TGC, I asked the members of the forum if they could do the same. Here I moved from a simple translation, to rich formulation of game rules, with specific idioms, and actual attempts to understand how the game was played before committing to a specific name or term. Thankfully, at the end, both the cards and the rules were about 99% correct!

Congratulations on getting Haunted picked up by a publisher! What is the name of the publisher that picked up Haunted, and how did that come about? 

The publisher is Ludonaute, from France. They previously published games with alot of strategy depth like Offerings (Offrandes), Yggdrasil and Shitenno. Phantom is the second game of their new collection called Ludobook that features a novel in both French and English, and a card game. The Ludobooks explore the traditional popular genres in litterature. The first one, Crimebox on is about murder and investigation. Phantom is a about paranormal and ghosts. The publisher discovered the game at deviantArt, downloaded and played it. They loved it and we quite quickly discussed about a potential publishing.

Did publishing on The Game Crafter first help you get publisher interest? 

Indirectly, yes. I mostly use TGC for POD services in order to print several copies for collectors. I did it for Barbecue, for Haunted, and recently Galipotes. It was nice to give a good copy of the game to the publisher thanks to TGC!

When and where can people buy Haunted now?

Due to publishing contract, Haunted has been removed from both deviantArt and TGC. The game was released in France on september the 10th, during the Monde du Jeu (World of Gaming) in Paris. I know it’s distributed in both game stores and libraries. I expect the game to reach other European countries for Essen and maybe raise interest of a North-American publisher! Anyhow, it’s still possible to order the game directly from the publisher if you live in western Europe.

Have any publishers in North America shown any interest yet?

Not yet, but Essen is getting close, and the first sales are quite motivating! The game story takes place in the southern part of America, at the beginning of the previous century. It’s like Poltergeist or Amityville meets Gone With The Wind (in my eyes) so I think it’s a good fit for North America.

Do you have any expansions planned for Haunted?

Not exactly planned as a release, but many ideas were removed from the final game due to manufacturing constraints. Anyhow, Ludonaute came up with a nice idea for the launch of the two Ludobooks : Crimebox features an additional character card, Cymon Kraft the photographer, named after the designer of the game, and Phantom features three additional character cards, named after AnneC, the novelist, Denis, the illustrator, and me.

Has getting picked up by a publisher inspired you to design more games?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, no. I design game for my own pleasure, and the delight of players I meet at gaming tables. Also, some of my games were previously picked by publishers for test, and only Phantom made it to the shelves. So even if I’m happy to see a publishing project coming to fruition, I focus on having a successful collaboration with the publisher’s team. I know it takes time for me to have a good game, so I prefer to follow my path on my own, even I sometimes it’s a deadend. Nethertheless, I learned alot while working with publishers on previous publishing projects. It’s invaluable.

Could you describe any influence The Game Crafter had on your success as a game designer?

I think the first influence TGC had on my perception of game design was to discover that I was not alone! (Though we’re still not legion, and far less common that musicians or illustrators). It also expanded my view of the gaming culture, that became far larger than the one I was used to. It really helped me to have a collector edition of my games without bankrupting myself!

What’s next for you?

Like many other game designers, I’m spending alot of time on my other games. The ones that draw my attention these days are Galipotes, that I hope will be release at TGC in the coming month, and also Maswana, that is actually being vetted by a French publisher. Aside of this, I’m also professionnaly working on a videogame about species using echolocation (sonar) to navigate and hunt in the dark.

Any last words of encouragement or advice to all the designers reading this who would love to experience your success?

With great pleasure, I’ll try my best! Well, if you’re a beginner I’d recommend to carefully analyze the games you like, and understand how the theme, the mechanic and the component relates together. It’s also a good practise to test a game you don’t know, for general culture. Also, develop a skill to observe how the players play your prototypes for the first time, especially out of you circle of family and friends, and if they keep coming back. If you’re seasoned, you probably know all that so I’d suggest to think about your audience alot before you dive into testing. Sometimes you have to reposition your game because an unsuspected audience shows a tremendous interest in it, but it is actually too far from their usual gaming tastes. This could be done with shifting either the theme or the mechanic. Finally, find courage to overcome the difficulty of actually building the prototype, with time, you’ll probably start to like it!

Thanks alot JT for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with the members of TGC! You provide a tremendous service to the game designers community.

from The Game Crafter News http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tgcnews/~3/-EIkbvFNRK4/31910763833


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