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Background: Adiós Calavera!

Posted by admin on August 22nd, 2017


Part 1: President Gauck, Martin Luther and „Adios Calavera!“
Part 2: Helping Fidel, Jesus and Evita – from „Zócalo“ to „Adios Calavera!“
Part 3: Interview on Game Development – „Adios Calavera!“ – from the idea to the game
Part 4: „Adios Calavera!“, the Game
Part 5: The Parasite and the Social One

Part 1: President Gauck, Martin Luther and „Adios Calavera!“

Joachim Gauck, German Federal President from 2012 to 2017, has a lot to do with Martin Luther. After all, he was himself an evangelical pastor in Rostock on the Baltic Sea. And Martin Luther was the great reformer, who in 1517, with his 95 theses, attacked ecclesiastical and secular authority and unintentionally initiated the division of the church into Catholic and Protestant. Martin Luther provided for the formation of the protestant church.

Even after his time as a pastor Joachim Gauck had to do with Martin Luther, e.g. With “Luther – Das Spiel”, which appeared in 2016. It pleased him so much, that he invited the two authors, Erika and Martin Schlegel, to Berlin to the castle Bellevue. It was a great honor and a premiere, because never before was a game author because of a game to the Federal President.

But what does the former president have to do with “Adios Calavera!”?

The answer is simple: Martin Schlegel, who had created “Luther – Das Spiel” with his wife, is the author of this game, which will be released in autumn by Mücke games. And it could be that “Adios Calavera!” is also the favorite of the German Federal President, because it is a 2-person game with quite a few rules, in which the player who uses their head has an advantage.

In the near future you will learn more about the tactical and tricky “Adios Calavera!”, The game that has the Mexican “Dia de los Muertos” as its theme. Calaveras play an important role on that day. They are skeletons made of papier-mâché, which are intended to symbolize the deceased, and can even be a skull of sugar.

Part 2: Helping Fidel, Jesus and Evita
From “Zócalo” to “Adios Calavera!”

“Adios Calavera!” is the name of a game that will be released in autumn by Mücke games. Martin Schlegel developed it. After Atacama and Takamatsu it is his third work at Mücke games. Originally, the author provided a different theme and title. It was called Zócalo because it all took place on the huge square in the center of Mexico City, which is called Zócalo. Girls would form the one team, boys the other team, each headed by a player. Both groups stroll across the square and strive towards the opposite side. There are friendly, but also less friendly encounters with the opposite sex.

While the game itself was well received, the theme was not convincing. So we looked for another one with Mexico as the place of action. The game play was also to be stay the same, because it was fully developed and gave both players 30 exciting and exciting minutes of fun.

The experienced graphical artist Christian Opperer suggested using the “Dia de los Muertos”, an annual celebration in Mexico. The first reaction to the idea to incorporate a memorial day for the dead into a game was horror and shock. A gloomy theme with dead skulls? This is not suitable for a game. However, as usual, whenever you learn more about a subject it changes your opinion. The day of the dead in Mexico is not a mourning event, but a colorful folk festival in honor of the dead.

According to the old folk belief, the souls of the deceased return to their families in early November. Everywhere the memory of them is in the foreground. The streets are decorated with flowers, symbols of death and transience. Pastry shops produce the Calaveras de Dulce, skulls of sugar, chocolate or marzipan. The Pan de Muerto, the dead bread, is another popular treat during these days. And on parades, calaveras, these oversized skeletons made of paper mache, are carried through the streets.

After the souls of the deceased have been received in the homes on the night of November 2, the farewell to them takes place in the cemeteries. There food that is brought along is eaten, there is drinking, music and dancing. At midnight the time has come to say good-bye. The festival is over until the dead return next year.

At this point, “Adios Calavera!” sets in: Living and deceased take leave, separate for a year. You want to quickly reach the other side, but also prevent others from leaving the farewell meeting first. This is ensured by the living people. The dancer Maria-Elena, as well as Diego, the magnet, and the nimble Ximena. On the other hand, Jesus, Fidel and Evita have their special tasks and help the deceased.

Part 3: Interview on Game Development
“Adios Calavera!” – From the Idea to the Game

Channing Jones, an American who has lived in Germany since childhood, is himself a game author and has published “Babylon Tower Builders” at Mücke Spiele this year. He interviewed Martin Schlegel on “Adios Calavera!” on his approach to developing games. Some interesting facts come to light and many insights behind the scenes of game inventing.

Channing Jones (CJ): For how many years have you been developing games?

Martin Schlegel (MS): I started sometime by slightly changed existing games – e.g. from a game for 4 people to one for 5 – then more and more. Later on, I developed an entirely new one.

CJ: Could you go more into details?

MS: Yes, myfirst prototype, that never found a publisher, was “Die rettende Ecke” in 1990.

CJ: Very long ago.

MS: Exactly. It was, is and remains a beautiful hobby. Until a publisher produced a prototype of mine as a game, that lasted until 1996.

CJ: A long apprenticeship, one might say. Your first game in a publishing house was “With Moses through the Desert!”.

MS: Yes, my wife and I did it together. I’m not so strong on theme and it was about the story of Moses. So my wife took over the theme page. By the way, the game is still running today.

CJ: What do you usually do when you develop a game?

MS: There are 2 large groups within the game authors. One I call the storytellers. They begin with a theme, shape it as precisely as possible, which takes a while, and then the actual game comes to it. The story remains a key element. The other group I call the mechanics. They start with the game mechanism, work with an often horribly abstract plan and match the individual elements piece by piece. There, pawns are beings moved without knowing whether these will later become persons, ships or anything else.

CJ: You belong to the mechanics?

MS: Yes, but in two of my games, the theme was already there at the beginning. But this was a big exception. My other well over 40 games I did as usual. First the mechanics, then the theme.

CJ: Und what about the authors that begin with the materials, like me?

MS: Those are only a small group.

CJ: When do you add the theme now?

MS: Once the basic gameplay is fixed and thus a series of central elements, I turn my attention to the theme. I think for a while what might match the game. Often, I can use many of the testers’ comments. Normally the game is then also adapted to the theme.

CJ: A long way. How was it with “Adios Calavera!”?

MS: The same. Even though “Adios Calavera!” has only a few rules, I worked on that a long time. To begin with, there were a lot more rules. I then reduced them in many iterations, as an author, you only separate yourself reluctantly from own ideas. The plan has also continually changed. It was bigger originally and at times had a completely different form. The same happened with the figures. First I worked without any special abilities. Then they came step by step into the prototypes. Many test rounds were necessary to figure out what 8 special abilities the characters should have.

CJ: Testing obviously plays important role to you.

MS: Yes, clearly. Even the best ideas have to be intensively tested. Especially with the special abilities at “Adios Calavera!” We tried a lot. The testers enjoyed it.

CJ: When all this was accomplished, the present board arose?

MS: When the game was accepted by Mücke games, the theme still changed.

CJ: We already reported on this.

MS: After that the graphical work was starts. But that is not for me. The graphical artist, who sees a prototype from me, sees that I have not taken any work from him. My drawings are simply amateurish, not usable. But Christian Opperer was a great graphical artist. He not only works quietly in his room, but also lets the author participate. I was able to get feedback from testers during his work and we do have a different view of boards than a graphical artist.

CJ: Thanks. I wish “Adios Calavera!” all the best.

MS: Me too?

CJ: Of course.

Part 4: „Adios Calavera!“, the Game

Game author Channing Jones once again interviewed Martin Schlegel, whose game “Adios Calavera!” has just appeared with Mücke games. Now it’s about the game itself, about the individual pieces and their abilities …

Channing Jones (CJ): After talking about the development of games, we are now looking into the actual game. After all, the rule book contains 16 pages.

Martin Schlegel (MS): This does not have to be intimidating because the pages are small. Also note that he rules are available in 4 languages. Only 4 small pages per language.

CJ: And there is plenty of room with all the variants from beginners to decision-makers, so there is something for everyone. In addition, there is information about the Dia de los Muertos.

MS: The rule itself is quite short. It is like your exciting “Babylon Tower Builders“. This is also explained quickly, but then thinking is required. Will there be any of these games in Essen?

CJ: We will have a few copies there. But back to “Adios Calvera!”. How does the game work? Can you explain it in a few words?

MS: Two players, whose 8 pieces proceed at a right angle to the other team, want to quickly reach the other side. The maximum amount of you can move corresponds to the number of pieces which are at a right angle to your main direction of travel. But obstacles stand in the way. One of these is the center of the board. And then you have all the other pieces, which you cannot skip. You have to run around them. In addition, 4 of the 8 pieces have special abilities.

CJ: These special abilties play an important role, right?

MS: Yes, they are already require many decisions even before the first move. I first pick a side: either living or deceased. Each piece has its own special ability, the living being the same as the deceased. But before the game starts I have to decide: For which 4 pieces will I take the special ability and for which will I leave it with the normal ability.

CJ: I think the individual preferences play a role in the selection. One might play aggressively, the other more restrained. What are 8 special abilities now?

MS: There are leaders everywhere, so also here. He can partly transfer the power he has, that is, his movement points, to another piece. The strong one is also powerful. He manages to push another piece away before him. The magnet acts quite differently. He can attract other pieces. I would not want to forget the unclean: his own team can hold it out beside him. Those from the other team avoid his proximity.

CJ: These are the 4 men. What characterizes the women?

MS: They move differently. Pieces are an obstacle, you have to walk around them. But not the dancer, she’s elegant. Also the diva has a good solution in the crowd. She moves diagonally, which saves energy and allows her to help out in the front or the rear. The quick one solves the problem in different way. She can go 2 spaces more, thus has 2 more movement points. The exuberant one is different: she can force the neighboring piece to exchange positions with her.

CJ: Some pieces help yourself, the others can disrupt the other team. This makes it difficult even for me to choose.

MS: No problem, because in the variant “for complexity freaks” all 8 pieces have their special abilities.

CJ: If you choose a team, which do you choose, the living or the dead?

MS: So far, I leave the choice to the other player. They usually like to choose the dead, because then they have Evita, Fidel and Jesus in the team. In games at the stand of Mücke games in Essen (stand no. 3-K104) I will also do it like this: The other player gets to choose.

Part 5: The Parasite and the Social One

Yes, that too. But now for something exciting. For the parasite and the social one interfere powerfully. So powerfully that they immediately lose their ability and then shrink to normal. So the question comes up: wait or use it? A question that is hard to answer. But another question can already be answered: the one according to the nature of the special ability.

The parasite benefits from the others! Each piece of the opposing player in his row counts double. He can quickly speed into the his goal thereby.

The social one is different: She does good! If she goes X steps, a fellow piece of hers may go that far, too.

Now many an Adios Calavera owner might say: “I do not know these pieces at all. They are not mentioned in the rulebook.” And that is correct. Because these super-extra pieces will not be ready until the Essen game fair, if it works out. Tip: simply ask at the stand in hall 3 – K104.

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