Interview with Ignacy Trzewiczek

Nelly Steiner Publisher Spotlight

Ignacy Trzewiczek is one of the most famous game designers and publishers from Poland. As owner of Portal Games he is responsible for some of our favorite board games that we have at Mox Boarding House including Imperial Settlers and Tides of Time. We were incredibly excited to be able to get an interview with him.

(Mox) Hi Ignacy, it’s so nice to meet you. How did you get involved in game design?

(Ignacy) In the late 90’s I was a writer for RPG magazine in Poland. I wrote articles and scenarios for the Warhammer RPG. After some time I decided that I wanted to do this full time. I founded Portal Games and for a couple of years, I was writing and publishing RPGs. Then I discovered board games and made the transition.

(Mox) What makes Portal Games unique in the Industry?

(Ignacy) Our motto is Board Games That Tell Stories and I believe that we stay very true to that. All we do is somehow dedicated to the spirit of stories and games. Not only did our games Robinson Crusoe and Detective win dozens of awards worldwide for being the most thematic games, but we are also actively talking about and discussing games and stories. I run a blog called Board Games That Tell Stories blog that is very popular. Furthermore, I published two books about designing games (third in the works!), and we have a weekly vlog on YouTube where we discuss how we design and develop games. We are truly passionate about games and we share this passion with the world.

(Mox) What title was the most fun to work on, and why?

(Ignacy) I must disappoint, but my Slavic soul cannot answer this question. All games that I have designed left only memories of hard work, failures, playtesting, and starting over and over again until finally, the game worked. Designing games doesn’t have much to do with fun. At least, from my experience! 🙂

(Mox) You have released (on average) 1 game every year since 2009. Do you intend to keep this pace with your releases?

(Ignacy) We release two games on average, one big release for Gen Con and one big release for Essen. This has been our long time strategy for many years and we don’t plan to change it. We are happy with the results and the feedback from our fans.

(Mox) What does the process of designing a new game look like for you?

(Ignacy) A bunch of research – I read a lot of books and watch movies based on the topic/theme. It takes a few months of preparation. Then, when I feel confident with the theme, I start noting down ideas for rules and build first prototype. After that, for many many months, I develop, change, improve, and slowly move towards the finish line!

(Mox) With technology and games blending more and more do you see Portal doing more with digital integration?

(Ignacy) We did! First Martians has an app (iOS/Android), our award-winning Detective uses a dedicated website, and we are about to release supporting app for Robinson Crusoe. I strongly believe that technology, if used well and smoothly, may improve some game experiences. So yes, once a while we will release a game with e-component, I am not afraid of experimenting with player experience.

(Mox) What is your favorite game mechanic, and why?

(Ignacy) I love worker placement games, they are smooth, easy to understand, easy to teach, they are my favorite type. Most games I have designed use this mechanism and I am not looking for anything else. I am fine designing games over and over using this brilliant engine.

(Mox) What is your favorite food to eat while playing games?

 It’s obviously cookies and hot tea. With such support I can play any game, even a game from a genre I am not a fan of, and can still have a great time! Cookies for the win!

(Mox) We couldn’t agree more.

Our PubSpot this month is Portal Games, for the whole month we are highlighting their awesome game titles. Be sure to check it out in-store for game demos and 10% off any Portal Games titles.

-Meet you at Mox