The Art of Design: interviews to game designers #16 – Uwe Rosenberg
設計的藝術: 遊戲設計師專訪十六 - Uwe Rosenberg
Hi gamers – here I am with another interview after a long, long stop. This interview with Uwe took me a lot of time since I needed the great help of my 「colleague」 Patrick Korner to translate Uwe's answers from German to English. Of course Uwe is a designer that doesn't need any presentation with 2 games (Agricola and Le Havre) in the BGG top 10 and also the top seller Bohnanza. With his games (at least from Agricola) Uwe tells us stories, usually little stories of work and duties – the life of the common man. Also Uwe shows us how the mechanics of his games are being developed from game to game and took a lot of time for developing and testing.
嗨，各位玩家，暫停了很長很長的一段時間後，在此進行另一次訪談；這次的訪談花了我很長的時間，因為我需要同事來協助我翻譯 Uwe 的回答(德文→英文)，當然啦， Uwe 是不需要被介紹的設計師，因為他有兩個遊戲在 BGG的前十名(農家樂與港都)，另外還有很熱銷的遊戲種豆得豆。
Uwe 用他的遊戲說故事給我們聽，這些故事通常是關於工作與責任的小故事 - 普通人的生活，另外 Uwe 也展示了他的遊戲機制，是從遊戲到遊戲之間發展，而且花了很多時間發展與測試。
Uwe says: 「I try and design games as a thematic whole. Over my entire career, you could say that I am fascinated by hermetically sealed completeness.」 That really offers a great shot of Uwe's designing style.
這段話出示了對於 Uwe 設計風格相當不錯的描述。
[Liga] Dear Uwe, with this series of interviews I'm trying to explore the world of game designers with the idea that designing games is a form of art, no more or less than writing books or casting movies. What we try to do together is, looking through your production, to find your style, your special sign … common traits in your games.Of course Agricola is the game that brings Uwe Rosenberg and Lookout Games to the wide attention, being able to win IGA and DSP award and a special mention also from SDJ and climb the BGG ranks up to 1st place. Now Agricola is 4th and Le Havre 6th and you are the only designer to have 2 games in the BGG Top 10. According to BGG you got published more than 50 games (including expansions) in 20 years of career, starting from 1992 releases. Your most known title before the Agricola/Lookout Era were Bohnanza and Mamma Mia.Is there any game you are particularly proud of and why?
問: 親愛的 Uwe，在這一系列的訪問裡，我試著以設計遊戲(與寫作或是拍電影差不多)是藝術的一種形式的這個概念，去探究遊戲設計師的世界，我們要一起做的事情是逐一查看你的作品，找出你的風格，你特殊的設計符號、你遊戲裡的共同特徵。
當然，農家樂是一款讓 Uwe 跟 Lookout games 獲得廣大注意的遊戲，並且贏得 了IGA 和與 DSP 獎，還有來自 SDJ 的提名，在BGG的排名曾攀升至第一位，現在農家樂位於第四名，港都處於第六名，你是唯一一位設計師，能夠在 BGG 排行榜前十名擁有兩款遊戲，根據 BGG的資料，從1992起，你二十年的設計生涯裡，有超過五十款遊戲(包括擴充)被發行，在 Agricola農家樂之前，你最有名的遊戲是 Bohnanza種豆得豆跟 Mamma Mia媽媽咪呀，有哪一款遊戲是你特別自豪的? 為什麼?
[Uwe] I am proud when my games accomplish something. When teenagers suggest playing Agricola with their parents on a Sunday afternoon instead of sitting in front of the TV, for example. Or that my game Bohnanza has become THE game for the juggling scene. Those kinds of things make me proud. I'm naturally also happy about successes, since being successful with games means that people are enjoying themselves. I'd like to answer 「Times」 to your last question. It is until today one of the few tactical quiz games in existence. A game that lets you cleverly conceal that you don't now the answer to a question. (And a game that was published in Italian in 1994.)
[Liga] You catch me by surprise! I was unaware of Times (of course now I have to rush to buy it) and also you are one of the first designers to give an answer to this question! From outside it seems that the theme really has a lot of relevance in your design: is it true? How is the weight of theme and mechanics in your designs?
問: 你讓我驚喜，我還不知道有 Times 這個遊戲(當然現在我必須趕快去買)，你也是最先回答這個問題的設計師之一。(?)
從外部來看，主題的確跟你的設計有很多的關連性: 這是否為真? 在你的設計裡面，主題與機制的比重如何?
[Uwe] First, an idea for a mechanism comes to be, such as the production wheel with Ora et Labora, for example, which is a refinement of the round by round addition of resources in Agricola. Then I choose a theme. And then ensure that everything else that comes is fitted to the theme. Yes, theme plays a large role for me. And I favour smaller themes – manual labour instead of heavy industry. Living in poverty instead of swimming in luxury. In this respect, my work is similar to that of a book author. I have certain 「stories」 to tell. I am not interested in wars, power and glory. I'm also not interested in the life of a king; I'm interested in the life of the common man.
答: 首先，會先出現機制的構想，例如，Ora et Labora祈禱與工作 裡面的生產輪，是農家樂裡面每回合補料的改良。
[Liga] Really interesting perspective: I'll be back on this later in the interview. Can you please select one or more of your games and show us the design process: where the idea came from? How long does it take to play-test a game?
問: 相當有趣的觀點: 我會在稍後的訪談再回到這點。
請你選擇一個或是多個你的遊戲，呈現當中的設計過程給我們看: 構想是從哪裡來的? 花多久時間測試一個遊戲?
[Uwe] With respect to the development of a game, I'd like to suggest reading my reports on www.cliquenabend.de: Report on Agricola or Report on Le Havre.Mechanisms don't just get developed within a project, but also from game to game. They build on each other. Loyang, for example, had the Improvement mechanism for Agricola (I had developed Loyang 6 months before Agricola). For themes, I don't look too far into the future. I simply look at life in the past. I take a long time to develop games – I worked on Ora et Labora for three years. Testing a nearly-finished game I find more enjoyable than testing unrefined ideas. That might be the main reason why I allow myself such long development periods and playtesting lists.
答: 關於遊戲的發展過程，我會建議去看 www.cliquenabend.de 網站上的農家樂報告(英文)，與 Le Havre港都情濃報告(德文)。
機制不只在一個專案內發展，同時也在遊戲與遊戲之間發展，它們以彼此為基礎；例如，At the Gates of Loyang洛陽城外 給了農家樂改良機制( 在農家樂之前，我發展了洛陽城外六個月的時間)。
對於主題，我並不會看得太遠，我僅是看著過去的生活，我花很長時間發展遊戲 - 在祈禱與工作上工作了三年；測試一個接近完成的遊戲，比起測試未完善的構想讓我更享受，這可能是為什麼我給自己這麼長的發展時程與測試清單的主要原因。
[Liga] Great! A lot of designers are really challenged with the first part of games development but feel less gratified by the fine-tuning and play-test process needed to have a really balanced game, usually looking outside for testers groups. You have developed almost all your games alone: what do you think about team-working in designing games?
答: 很好! 遊戲發展初期的部份讓很多設計師感到挑戰，但他們又不滿意遊戲調整與測試(讓遊戲較為平衡的需求)，通常會對外找測試的玩家社團。
[Uwe] You asked about games I was proud of. In addition to Times I'd also choose Babel. The emigration mechanism is one of the nicest that I've ever come up with. And that came as a direct result of conversations with my friend Hagen Dorgathen. Teamwork is a wonderful thing when both sides provide ideas to the other. I'm certain that Hagen first led me to that idea. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to continuously change ideas during the early development process. That is something that I only reluctantly wish on others (including maybe Hagen).
答: 你剛問我自豪的遊戲是什麼，除了 Times 之外，我還想加入 Babel巴比倫塔，移民機制是我想出最好的構想之一，而那是跟我朋友 Hagen Dorgathen 聊天完的直接結果，當雙方提供給彼此想法，團隊合作則會是很棒的事情。我確信 Hagen 先導引我到那個構想。
很不巧的是，早期發展過程裡，我有持續修改構想的傾向，那是唯一我不願強加在別人身上的事 (?)。( 或許這是 Uwe 總是獨立工作的理由)
[Liga] I really liked Babel and I'm still playing it sometimes with my daughter. A really nice 2-players game. Do you think is there a common sign/mark recurrent in your game? Looking at your production it seems there is a pre-Agricola Uwe and a post-Agricola Uwe. Do you agree? What Agricola taught you and how has great success affected your design?
問: 我很喜歡 Babel，而且我有時還會跟我女兒一起玩，是一個很不錯的兩人遊戲。
你認為在你的遊戲裡面是否有一種常見的訊息或是特色經常發生? 看你的作品，似乎存在著「前農家樂時期 的Uwe」與「後農家樂時期 的Uwe」，你同意這點嗎? 農家樂教了你什麼? 而，巨大的成功如何影響你的設計?
[Uwe] Before Agricola, I only thought about mechanisms. After Agricola, I adjust mechanisms to suit farming. This has become a small universe for me, much the way that card games were at the end of the 1990′s. I'm always reading about the theme and try to make the games easier to handle while maintaining the same gaming and narrative depth. I try to tell grand stories. Partly because those are the kinds of games that I find the most fun, but also because I set myself apart from other authors. In the time before Agricola I experimented a lot and tried to invent all the kinds of games that game designers invent. I had a signature style back then too, but a different one. I tried to design card games that played as a single entity instead of having to be replayed over several rounds. Today, I try to design games as a thematic whole. Over my entire career, you could say that I am fascinated by hermetically sealed completeness. What Agatha Christie said about her books I'd like to claim for my games.
今日，我試著把遊戲設計為一個整體的主題，在我的全部設計生涯裡，可以說，我著迷於有如真空密封的完整性，這是 Agatha Christie* 對於她的書所說的話，我想要以這句話來為我的遊戲下註解。
* Agatha Christie 阿嘉莎‧克莉絲蒂，英國小說家
[Liga] I really like this self-picture of yourself! Another great cue for going deep in the design style matter later. How much do you think other people in the Lookout team affect this?
問: 我很喜歡這段自我描述，是另一個很棒的線索，可作為之後我們朝設計風格更深入的探討，你覺得其他在 Lookout 團隊裡的人影響你多少?
[Uwe] I tend to improve for the worse shortly before a game is released. Then I need people who keep me from doing it. As a father of (just recently) two children I find it is no longer possible to spend 5 to 7 evenings visiting gamers and showing them my latest effort, as with Le Havre – although I did enjoy it very much! I am thankful to a very strong gaming group in Duisburg which spent a long time testing my newest game, Ora et Labora, filing away the final issues. Since I am at home with family more and more, there are currently a lot of ideas in my drawer. In the future, I expect I will more and more work out the ideas and then send the games out for extended testing. As a result, I think that my/our team will get larger in the near future and will become ever more important to me.
我很感謝位在杜伊斯堡一個很有力的桌遊團，他們花很長的時間測試我最新的遊戲 - 祈禱與工作，並整理出最後的版本。
[Liga] Two times you made a strong parallelism between your work and writers work. First 「I have certain 『stories' to tell. I am not interested in wars, power and glory. I'm also not interested in the life of a king, I'm interested in the life of the common man」 and than, using Agatha Christie words 「I try to design games as a thematic whole. Over my entire career, you could say that I am fascinated by hermetically sealed completeness」. Do you think designing games is a form of art, like writing books or casting movies? Designing games do you feel like an artist creating a new work of art or more like an expert and skilled craftsman?
我有特定的『故事』要述說，我對戰爭、權力和榮耀沒興趣，我對國王的生活也沒興趣，我感興趣的是普通人的生活。 」接著是採用 Agatha Christie 的話「我試著把遊戲設計為一個整體的主題，在我的全部設計生涯裡，可以說，我著迷於有如真空密封的完整性。」
你是否認為設計遊戲是藝術的一種形式? 像是寫書或是拍電影? 設計遊戲對你來說，是否讓你感覺像是一個藝術家在創造一個新的藝術作品，或者更像是一個專家與工匠?
[Uwe] I feel different during the different phases of game development. The first ideas often come to me in the shower. The first attempts get made lying down, eyes closed, almost in darkness. I try to make sure I'm wide awake when I then bring ideas to paper – partly because I don't want to miss anything, but mostly because I don't want to have too many rules in the game. In those cases I feel more like an artist, more composer than interpreter. When playtesting by myself I'm more of a labourer but also mostly a gamer. I don't like it when a playtest gets corrupted with rules changes, which is why I start a new game with each change. With Agricola, for example, I didn't get further than four rounds for the entire first week. When writing the rules I'm a lawyer who is trying to make sure that no special case gets forgotten.
最先的嘗試是當在躺在床上，閉上眼睛，四周幾乎黑暗時，隨後把構想寫在紙上的時候，我會試著確定我很清醒 - 部份是因為我不想遺漏掉任何想法，但最主要理由是因為我不想要有太多規則在遊戲裡；在那些情況下，我感覺更像是藝術家，比起翻譯人員來說更像是作家。
[Liga] Artist-labourer-lawyer … from the stars down to the earth! I think something similar happens to composers and movie directors … from the initial creative part of the work down to the details. Reiner Knizia says 「I believe that there are many undiscovered games in the universe that are still waiting for me to design them.」 Friedemann Friese says 「The design process begins with this special moment of inspiration. These inspirations can be very different from each other,」 and Ignacy Trzewiczek says 「It takes a few months of gathering pictures, ideas and emotions.」 All these designers, with different approaches, consider the design process a creative moment. What is Uwe's perspective?
問: 藝術家-勞工-律師....從天馬行空到到具體實踐，我認為發生在作家與電影導演上有一些相似的東西，在最初創作部份到工作細節；Reiner Knizia 說「我相信宇宙裡還有很多沒被發現的遊戲，正等著我去將它們設計出來。」Friedemann Friese 說「設計過程始於靈感的特別時機，這些靈感彼此之間截然不同。」而，Ignacy Trzewiczek 說「設計花費好幾個月的收集圖片、構想與感動。」這些設計師以不同的設計方式，把設計過程視為是一段創造的歷程，你對於這點的看法是什麼呢?
[Uwe] I'd rather improve and add variety to mechanisms than come up with brand new ones. In the 1990』s I tested over 100 card games and realised that the mechanisms, while new, were mostly boring. For me, good ideas don't just fall from the sky; I create room for possibilities (referring to Robert Musil's book 「The Man Without Qualities」) in which new mechanisms can grow.
90年代的時候，我測試了超過一百個紙牌遊戲，領悟到新的機制絕大多數都很無聊，對我來說，好的構想不會從天上掉下來；我製造出新的遊戲機制能夠成長的可能性空間。( 參考自 Robert Musil「The Man Without Qualities」一書)
[Liga] Wow! You are talking-back to me quotes by quotes! Going back to what you are telling me in the beginning, I agree with you that games are really a great way to tell stories and nowadays it happens to me more often than before, reading rules and playing games, to have emotions really close to the ones I get reading novels. Now we enter the second part of this interview with some questions I'm used to asking of all the designers.Almost all artists are used to have a Master. Who is Uwe Rosenberg's master? The person that taught you most about game design?
問: 哇! 你用引言去回應我的引言! 回到前面你告訴我的，我同意遊戲是一個很棒的方式來說故事，而且現在遊戲對我說的故事比以前更多，像是讀規則書或是玩遊戲時，我所獲得的感動跟閱讀小說一樣相當接近。
現在我們要進到訪談的第二部份，一些我一直問設計師的問題是 - 幾乎所有的藝術家都有老師，誰是 Uwe Rosenberg的老師 ? 誰是教你最多關於遊戲設計的人?
[Uwe] I didn't have a master for inventing, but certainly for marketing. Peter Gehrmann taught me a lot in the 1990』s. He got me interested in trading card game mechanisms, for example, which led to games like 「Bohnanza.」 My masters in game design were the games themselves. Some of them were Racko, Civilization, 1830, Freight Train, Lowenherz, Antiquity, and Caylus.
答: 我沒有教我發明的老師，但是有人教我行銷，Peter Gehrmann 在90年代教我很多，他使我對交易卡牌機制的遊戲感到興趣，這將我導引到 種豆得豆 這樣的遊戲上。
我在遊戲設計上的老師則是遊戲本身，其中一些遊戲像是Rack-o, Civilization文明帝國，1830鐵道與強盜大亨, Freight Train火車快跑, Lowenherz獅子心, Antiquity古代 與 Caylus凱呂斯。
[Liga] And, do you think Uwe could be someone else master? Do you think this approach to design is (or could be) followed by other designers?
問: 另外，你是否覺得你可能是某個人的啟蒙老師? 你認為你的設計方法(可能)會被其它設計師所仿傚嗎?
[Uwe] As a composer working in the darkness certainly nobody will follow me. But as a labourer I could certainly be something that others could call a master. I prefer games that elicit positive emotions and also talk a lot about (mostly my) feelings while playing. Many of my gaming friends now also discuss and critique games in terms of feelings.
[Liga] Great, really the idea of a 「school.」 In this final part of the interview, some questions I'm used to asking of all designers. Is there a game from another designer you would have really liked to design?
問: 棒! 很學院派的想法，訪問最後，我常問的問題是，有哪一款別的設計師設計的遊戲，你會很想去設計?
[Uwe] Treshams' Civilization and 1830 are for me the best games of all time. I'd have been proud to invent Puerto Rico or Power Grid, but also Vegas Showdown and Homesteaders.
答: Treshams 的文明帝國與1830，對我而言是史上最佳遊戲，我會驕傲於創作出波多黎各跟電力公司，還有 Vegas Showdown賭城爭霸 和 Homesteaders衝向大西部。
[Liga] Some old classics but also something not so 「classic.」 If you have to describe Uwe Rosenberg with just 3 Uwe games: which and why?
如果你必須要用剛好三個你的遊戲去描述自己: 會是哪三個? 為什麼?
[Uwe] I probably can't avoid 「Bohnanza」 and 「Agricola」. Those two games make the life I lead today possible. Both are also games that many of my more recent games build upon. To give the 「Researching」 part of my career some credit, I'd like to list 「Times」 as the third game. I hope that my database can get used again someday. I would be happiest seeing Times reissued in a version for up to 8 players.
答: 我不能不選種豆得豆跟農家樂，這兩個遊戲讓我有今日的生活，它們也是建立在許多我近期遊戲之上，能代表我設計生涯中「研究」的一部份，我想要把「Times」列為我第三個遊戲，我希望我的資料庫某天可以再使用，我會樂於見到 Times 發行最多可以八人遊戲的版本。
[Liga] Why did you start designing games and why are you still designing?
[Uwe] I started when I was 12 years old with a soccer game but only imitated what a neighbouring boy had done. Without thinking about it myself. And the game was probably not that great because of it. But it was long. I always had perseverance and liked nothing better than coming up with and doing the final tweaking of games. The part in the middle, the playtesting, I still have issues with. I ask myself how can I avoid the frustration.
我一直都很有毅力，喜歡想新的東西和作遊戲最後的調整；在設計中段的部份 - 遊戲測試，我仍然有一些問題，自問該如何去避免挫折感。
[Liga] Is there something you would like to tell to new designers approaching this work?
[Uwe] Play as often as you can, just by yourself. Try everything. Learn to understand why something doesn't work. This learning is more important than the game. Come up with up to five ideas for a single game. The rule is: Always come up with something new! Only start the endless playtesting once you've tried everything and are truly convinced. You won't learn anything about game design during playtesting.
[Liga] Thank you Uwe for this great interview and I'm trilled about 「playing」 your next story!