„We do almost everything together“

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Asger Harding Granerud on designing games with his co-author, his latest debuts at SPIEL 19 and his favorite board game café in Copenhagen.

Game designer Asger Harding Granerud (Photo: private)
Game designer Asger Harding Granerud (Photo: private)

Q: Queen Games, the publishers of Copenhagen, liked your gaming prototype from the very first moment. What attracted them most after testing it?

Asger: My guess is that Queen Games liked fast flow of the game, that still manages to provide an interesting puzzle. 

Q: From prototype to the final “Copenhagen” it must have been a long and sometimes hard road.

Asger: Yes and no. Together with co-author Daniel, we had worked on variants for a game, for quite some time, but when we actually started on what became Copenhagen, it didn’t take more than a handful of weeks. 

Q: You are developing all games with Daniel Skjold Pedersen. How do you divide your work?

Asger: There is no division, we do almost everything together. There might be stuff that is split 60/40, but rarely more than that. 

Asger Harding Granerud

Game designer (*1982) from Copenhagen, Denmark. Games published so far: 13 Days, Flamme Rouge, Copenhagen, Deep Blue etc. Does not have a single favorite game, but „if you force me to pick, I would probably choose Chess or Klask“. At SPIEL 19, find Asger at booth 5F106 (Sidekick Games). Twitter: @asgergranerud

Q: At SPIEL 19, you will introduce “Copenhagen Roll & Write”. The gameplay is similar but with players now finishing the facade of their building thanks to the colors shown on rolled dice, not drafted and played cards. Why should I buy “Roll & Write” when I already own the board game?

Asger: If you own and like the boardgame, you will probably also enjoy the Roll & Write. It has a different feel with much more combo potential, but you will already know a lot of the rules. For me, the tactile nature of the boardgame will always separate the two. 

Q: From your personal point of view: What is key to a successful new game that people like to play again and again?

Asger: If you have a game that can’t be solved, but still provides an interesting puzzle every time, then you get close to an evergreen candidate. Often achieved because a key element of the puzzle, comes down to player interaction. Fighting for resources or access. This holds true for Catan, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic and even Flamme Rouge and Copenhagen. 

Q: You’ve created games with historical content or games that go with ceratin places. Do you tend to invent games that follow your personal interests?

Asger: I try to make great games, but of course I end up looking for inspiration in my own interests. I would love to make a game about the fall of apartheid in South Africa, or the independence movement in Mozambique (where I grew up), but they are difficult subjects and I am no expert. Nor have I had the right idea yet. 

Copenhagen, Nyhavn (Photo: Stern, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Copenhagen, Nyhavn (Photo: Stern, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Q: After selling games with other publishers, you have just started Sidekick Games that specializes in making family friendly, highly accessible games. Tell us about the premiere board game.

Asger: I am very excited for our own first release with Bloom Town. It is a building game where each player builds their own city. As in Kingdomino, Azul or a number of other games, players draft their building tiles from a common market, so you always have to watch out for what you want, and not let your opponents get too much of what they want!
It is spiced up with a number of bonus actions, and the variable scoring combined with the tile drafting ensures it is a puzzle you can never fully solve. A family+ style game for 2-4 players, aged 8+ that lasts 20-30 minutes. Bloom Town is releasing in the USA first and will only be available in Europe through our booth at the SPIEL 19 in Essen.

Q: Your favorite board game café is The Bastard in the city of Copenhagen. What makes it so special to you?

Asger: It helps that I know the owner from before it started, and a lot of the people there. But almost everyone that visits The Bastard seems to agree. On the weekends they have 300+ seats, and are still completely packed! The atmosphere is just fantastic: laid back and everyone having fun with games and beers.