Spotlight on Games > Interviews
Remo Rehder Plays Board Games in Norway
This week we talk to Remo Rehder in Norway. Remo works in an industry which has some similarities that that of games: music publishing. We get some of impressions from this vantage point as well as find out about some of the unique game happenings in Norway. All links cited are repeated at the end of the interview for handy reference.
October 8, 2004

To get started I asked Remo to introduce himself, how he spends his time and how he got started in the games hobby.

My name is K. Remo Rehder (36) and I live in a town called Sandvika, about 15 kilometers from Oslo, Norway's capital. Norway is a good country to live in apart from the winter time, which I unfortunately strongly dislike. Apart from ice hockey, the only good thing about winter is that we spend a lot of time indoors. That gives me time to be sociable, bring out my games collection and introduce friends to my latest music findings. After finishing my masters degree in strategic management from the Aarhus School of Business in Denmark, I started my own music promotion company which later became a record company that I still run on a daily basis. So you may conclude that my two main interests are taken care of!

As with most Norwegian children my age, I got started at card games with the family, then board games like Jakten paa den forsvunnede diamant (Diamond Hunt), Pachisi, Chess, Checkers, Monopoly and so forth. I played Chess a lot when I was a kid, but switched to Mastermind and Othello when they hit Norway in the mid seventies. My uncle introduced me to them and we had some good times. Gaming slowed down a whole lot when I became a teenager. Between school, soccer and girls there was little time left to play games. I got into gaming again when I found Risk and the gang enthusiastiaclly embraced it. I guess I was 16 or so. From 18, five of my friends and I started playing Draker & Demoner, a Swedish counterpart to Dungeons & Dragons. Most RPG gamers consider this a rip-off game, but we did not know of D&D, and once on the way it is hard to go back. This game stayed with us for 3-4 years, until it phased out when everybody started spreading for different reasons. We naturally played other games as well (especially Avalon Hill games), but nothing as much as Draker & Demoner. Around the same time computer games set their mark on us as well.

head shot w/ many games in collection
I need to mention some of the other games that kind of stand out as games that drove me even further into this interest: Enemy in Sight, Mahjongg, Civilization, Canasta. I really enjoy heavier games, but they were harder to come by and even harder to find opponents for, so I they have not made the impact of the games mentioned above.

In 1993 I moved to Aarhus to study, and started playing Bridge and spent a lot of time in various cafes playing Backgammon and Darts. When I got back in the summer of 1995, a friend of mine had picked up Magic: the Gathering: Portal at some fair and it spread like wildfire amongst us. It quickly turned into Magic: the Gathering as a regular weeknight affair, but we played with a twist: everybody agaist each other - no duels! We had a blast, and one thing lead to another and suddenly we were a "large" group and other games started turning up.

Around 2000 I was getting fed up with never getting any information on new games and the very limited number of titles carried by the bookstores. From the mid eighties there was mainly one store in Oslo that carried imported games, so I presented the idea of promoting games to Kathrine, my girlfriend (now wife), and two other couples and we started BrettSpillGuiden in 2001. Our main goal is to be like a guide in the jungle of board games for the casual gamer more than the hardcore ones. Although we usually are considered the latter ...

Q2. What sorts of music do you manage? Do you find that your love of music and love of games are entirely separate parts of your personality or are they connected in some way? Is there a common thread running through both?
Artists on Remo's Label
My most successful band is Kaizers Orchestra which has a very Tom Waits-ian feel to them, but with much more of a rock attitude. They have so far sold double platinum of the debut record and platinum with the follow-up in Norway. It has been so successful that we have even been able to export them in relative large quantities to territories like Germany (15,000 units), Holland (10,000 units) and Denmark (20,000 units). This is actually quite an achievement since they sing in Norwegian! Apart from that I have a blues/alt rock guitarist called Bjoern Berge, who has been given the Spellemannspris (National Grammy) for his two latest releases and is doing very well in Norway, Denmark, Holland and Belgium. We have just started introduction in Germany and France, so we are optimistic. His unique technique and live showmanship (he always performs solo), make him stand out. I also have the American Tim Scott McConnell on my roster, who fronted the legendary Havalinas back in the early nineties. He has been a revelation since I have been a huge fan of his since the late 80s. Bruce Springsteen has not covered many other living artists, but he actually did "High Hopes" on the Bloodbrothers DVD, and that is the opening song on the Havalinas only album. Apart from these artists I have smaller local bands, where the main focus lies in a local version of singer/songwriters.

Ah, those are interesting questions ... Music has been my true life companion since I can remember. I had a childhood friend about 3 years older than me and he got records from his stepdad; Kiss, Queen, Sweet, Nazareth and the like. They laid the groundwork until I came across heavy rock/metal when I was about 12. AC/DC, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy and the Clash really made my head spin – I was hooked ...

Through a period with heavy rock and metal, I found blues and "roots music" and from there singer/songwriters which today is what I listen to the most. Naturally, I am still fond of weird stuff on the side. Artists who break all the rules and mixes, unlikely styles, or whatever.

As to what I do today, the music that I release is music that I like and it usually is a bit on the "awkward" side. I guess this reflects what I hold dear. Pop music has never interested me, but music that has some "realness" to it, preferably with some lyrical content that makes you understand or feel something does. My friends have always stated that I should be reading poetry instead of listening to music, but to me the whole point of good music is that when music supports or contrasts the lyrics "it makes three".

To me music, games, movies and books are very connected, although they may seem chaotic. My common thread in music, books and movies seems to be driven by drama/emotions. I'm a sucker for emotional roller coasters (although I may not necessarily like them). If this shows itself in games as well I do not know, but I have a tendency to enjoy either the thoughtfulness of real strategy or the lighthearted games. I think music and games share another important thing – people. The interest and joy of both music and games is very much a social experience, so a ridiculous game may become extremely funny with the right crowd. Or a very good one destroyed by the wrong people. I mean try playing Advanced Squad Leader with your neighbour or Würmeln with your Advanced Squad Leader buddies! I guess my fondness for abstract strategy is a bit like listening to melancholy music or watching a sad movie – but I love it!

If a shrink were to analyze me according to my collection of music, movies, books and games I would most surely be labeled with a multiple personality disorder. You will find Dvorak and Slayer, the Indian runner and Starship troopers, Knut Hamsun and Pretchett, Bluff and Advanced Squad Leader in my collections. Things for all eventualities, I guess ...

3 caveman rock stars

Q3. There have been a few games – Evergreen, Schrille Stille, Höhlengröhlen, Rock 'N' Roll -- on the music industry. Being in the industry yourself, what do you think of them? I'm also reminded of an ad a few years ago to the game designer's list from Lou Bega's management asking someone to design a promotional game about him. You haven't run into anything like that, have you?

Actually I've never heard of the games you mention, so I can't say anything about them. But, I will definitely check them out if I can find them. The only games I've tried which are for music fans are trivia games like Music Mania and Pop/Rock Geni (a local variant of Trivial Pursuit). Although my record collection is overwhelmingly American and my knowledge of American music is above average, Music Mania was just too hard. I guess that had to do with trying to make up questions for all music styles and through all ages. Jazz orchestral leaders of local fame in the midwest in the 20's is a bit out of my area of expertise. The latter is on the other hand too easy when you have music as a serious interest.

It is strange though that there aren't more games on the industry as such, when you think of how many people who are interested in it. I know of a couple of PC/Net based games, but they are not too interesting. There are a lot of possibilities for doing games on the industry: economic themes (start and run a record company), strategic themes (manage an artist), luck oriented (how to become a pop idol).

So far I've not come across any opportunities to make a promotional game for an artist or anything else, but an industry colleague and I have joked about making a game, the problem being he wants to make it a competitor or a variant of Monopoly. I am not a fan of economic games, and especially not Monopoly, so it kinda ended there. I would nevertheless be more than happy to be a sparring partner for anybody who wants to make a good game of the industry. Until then I guess being a part of the industry is a game in itself.

Q4. In a previous interview we learned that in Finland most game fans get their games in a few shops in the capital with some ordering directly from Germany and that most games are played "in English". Is it similar in Norway? Is there a database web site supporting translations into Norwegian?

Well, since the mid nineties there has been some growth in the area with stores like Avalon and Outland becoming chains with stores in the 5 largest cities in Norway. These stores combine comics, fantasy, miniatures, board and PC games. I guess board games account for the lesser part of these products. The bookstores have not yet made any attempt to take part in this obvious potential, but rather kept it to business as usual, prioritizing party and trivia games. Since 2001 the gamers of Norway have been blessed with two online stores – and which are good stores with wide ranges of games. They also keeps themselves up to date.

There are also a couple of Warhammer stores, but I guess they keep the same profile as the chain does throughout Europe.

Although most Norwegians are knowledgeable in English, non-translated games will naturally not be a regular part of the bookstores product lines. Almost every gamer in Norway is used to English rules and plays these games with no problems. The two online stores also host forums, databases of translated rules and such. Both of these stores also translate the rules of the games they sell in order to attract more people to gaming.

Midgaard, the main distributor of foreign games in Norway/Scandinavia, also recognized this problem last year and launched their own brand called Midgaard games. So far they have released 6 nimmt, Bohnanza, Carcassonne (with all expansions), Elfenland, Formula de, Lobo 77, Lost Cities Settlers, Solo and Space Beans. They have also translated most of the games from Fantasy Flight, apart from Battlemist and so on. All their games are translated into Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. So, they are definitely doing some ground work worth mentioning.

Q5. Where do you play your games? In homes? Are there public places to play? Conventions?

For most Norwegians, playing games is a social activity that one does in the comfort of the home. Norwegians are very home-loving people, which means we usually go out when we want to party. Naturally, board games are not included in such events.

game board and materials
Public places ... Well, there are cafes where you may borrow Backgammon or Chess boards, but in general you seldom see folks playing games in public places. Quiz games are huge in Norway, with both Cranium and a local game called Passport, have been the largest successes over the last couple of years. And this fascinating knowledge competition has wandered off into the nearest pubs for weekly Quizmaster events. From what I have seen on TV, it looks like it's a good social gathering where friends form teams and compete against the other teams. I even think there some kind of series going on, but this is not my scene...

So I, personally, play games at home or at friends' houses. Since the mid nineties we have been able to, more or less, keep a good gaming group of approximately 25 friends together. It has not always been too regular, but from 2000 up to now we have had a fortnightly gathering where usually 8-16 friends show up. Being Friday evenings, we make it a social happening with some wine and light food and snacks kinda thing.

There is actually a convention in Oslo called Arcon, but I have never attended. It takes place at the University, and is very much student driven. The main focus there are still Avalon Hill games and RPG's, so it is keeping the flame of serious games alive. In addition to Arcon, there are a couple of regional games happenings like Spilluka i Arendal and Bergen Spillfestival. The guys behind Spillskrinet also started up a gathering this year: Spillorama. Apart from that there are of course the inevitably Magic: the Gathering tournaments. Rummikub, Monopoly and Othello all have Norwegian Championships. Even Settlers of Catan got its Championship last year! This all sounds like we are crazy up here, but I don't expect them to have too many attendees unfortunately. They are basically run by gamers who have a special interest in a given game.

Q6. Can you tell us more about Passport? Any particular reason that quiz games have become so popular?

Passport was developed by Kristin Ekeberg og Sven Erik Rise. It was released by one of Norway's leading book publisher, Aschehoug, which was unusual. Not many book publishers release games anymore and I believe the last game Aschehoug released was Sokrates, about 10 years ago.

We had a leading book/games publisher called Damm until it was bought by the Swedish Egmont conglomerate. They keep the Damm brand in Norway, but normally release translated American party games or games developed by a Swedish company called Användbart Litet Foretag AB. Besides them there is Christian Olsen-Mittet, but they have become more of a wholesaler, even though they have a Ravensburger license.

Passport was nevertheless an overwhelming success, which even led Aschehoug to consider putting up a games division. That has yet to materialize. So we'll just have to wait and see. The game itself is very nicely designed -- everything is kept in a suitcase. As a variation on the quiz theme Passport focuses on the knowledge of other countries and cultures. With a wide range of questions including economics, wild life, religion, politics, language, food etc. Each player receives a passport and must visit and correctly answer questions from each of the 5 continents. When the passport is full, you head for the grand finale - which in this game means you are allowed to buy your plane ticket. [Hmm, this reminds me of the American game Travel Buff. –editor]

Passport is a strong and well designed game, although questions from one's local area seem too easy compared to questions from the island cultures of the Pacific. Naturally, you might say, but my gaming group argued that it must be possible to make the questions of the local area harder so they don't become obvious and henceforth unimportant.

Why quiz games have become so popular is harder to explain. I have not seen any study of this, so this must be my very personal analysis. I think Norwegians like to compete socially, but the church in Norway more or less banned gaming for ages. A natural way of competing then became knowledge. No game parts, no boards, no cards. Until the late 50's when the status of the church started declining, all the newspapers, magazines and lets' not forget TV had weekend quiz competitions. It even evolved into quiz books to bring on your holiday to the mountain cabins. I remember having lots of such books as a child, even Disney-themed ones. On TV the Scandinavian countries even had the highlight of the week with a classical music quiz where teams from each country competed! In addition to this most Norwegians attend university and are therefore highly educated. I guess, an academic mind wants to show off! Only joking, but there seems to be a link between my educated friends and their fondness for quiz games.

In the stores now we may choose from the following quiz games: Passport, Passport Junior, Trivial Pursuit Genus, Trivial Pursuit Jubilee, Trivial Pursuit Junior, Trivial Pursuit Globetrotter, Trivial Pursuit Family, Cranium, Norge Quiz, Norge rundt, Norges spillet, Alle tiders spill, Det Store Norske Kunnskapsspillet, Kunnskapsspillet Jackpot, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Jeopardy and Verdens Underverker! Unbelievable for a population of 4.5 million ...

Q7. Do you have any idea how many people in your country are playing new strategy games and what the demographics are like? What’s the overlap with RPG, CCG, war games, computer games, video games, comic books, anime? Are there any special reasons why gaming is popular or not there?

You surely know how to ask questions! Like I stated in the previous question, I have not seen any study of this, so anything I now answer is a personal "feel" or attempt at such. I had a chat with the founders of and a short while ago regarding the same issue, and we came up with around 10,000 gamers. Of these we think the strategy gamers/casual board gamers consists of may be 5,000. Of the 5,000 there are between 500-1000 hard core gamers that are up to date on what's happening. Demographics wise, the vast majority is male students up to around 25 years. Some of the students, like myself, keep the hobby, but we are not that many. There are also still a couple of die hard Avalon Hill gaming groups which are organize Advanced Squad Leader and Diplomacy tournaments, but I don't think they are recruiting too many new gamers. I am unsure of the crossover from other games. The RPG community seems to keep to itself; the CCGs have more tournaments and possible players than most others; PC gamers which are by far the largest sub group don't seem to easily go over to board games and the two last are very marginal in Norway.

Personally, I think the most obvious recruiting possibility for board gaming lies with the PC gamers. The problem is that very few board games can compete with all the "shoot-'em-up-games" which I think the majority are playing. But, the players of, let's say, Warcraft, Allied General and such should be possible to convert. At the same time, it should be possible to attract more new gamers by opening the stores to more interesting games, together with more media coverage. The euro games did not hit Norway for real until last year, when suddenly both Carcacassonne and Settlers of Catan could be found in the regular book stores. These games may open the market to a new audience. At least I hope so.

Q5. Are there any traditional board or card games, perhaps even non-proprietary, that have particular popularity in your country and how have they informed the gaming scene?

Games that have particular popularity are few, but since the 1950's the local game publishers have sold family game packs consisting of Checkers, Chess, Castle or whatever it's called in English, Backgammon and Moelle which I'm sure has an English name, which I don't know [The Mill Game, Nine Men's Morris --editor]. These game packs are most likely found in every cabin in Norway, but I doubt they are much in use anymore. Chinese Checkers have a very similar standing and if you take on your grandparents in this game you will most likely get your ass kicked. Apart from this there are few board games I know of that are common knowledge and popular. From our history the museums here sell Hnefatavl, which is supposed to be the preferred board game of the Vikings. Although that may seem both interesting and of course has some myth to it, very few Norwegians know of this game and I believe even fewer play it. Unfortunately the rules of the game have been lost in history, so the games sold today are reconstructions with supposed rules. I have a copy and have played it on occasion, but the rules do not seem to make sense, so I think some parts of the puzzle are still missing.

Like I previously said, board games do not have a long tradition in Norway, but we have enjoyed card games. Well known and partially popular card games are Bridge, Hearts, 500 (a variation of Canasta), Amerikaner (a bid and trick taking game, Mattis (trick taking), Crazy Eights, War (trick taking game on even cards), Hei, Knekt (physical, humorous game), 7 kamp (trick taking game over 7 rounds) and Casino (two player trick taking game) to name a few. Card games with special cards that are well known in Norway is Svarteper, Gnav (of Italian heritage) and De loeyerlige familier, which are still available. Not many play adults play these games, but they tend to be a part of the Norwegian upbringing.

Q9. There are several here which are not familiar to me. Perhaps you would like to say a bit more about them? How would you translate their titles and what are they like?

Well I suppose most of these games have English names, but I don't know them. Here's the direct translations and a brief description:

Q10. I wonder if you have any idea which of the modern strategy games seem the most popular there? Any games which have found particular success that may surprise us living elsewhere?

I don't think there are too many surprises here. But there seems to be quite a difference between which games are favored by gamers and which that actually sell. The obvious games that sell well amongst the gamers are more or less the same as in mid Europe and from what I understand, the USA. Typically: Puerto Rico, Bohnanza, Amun-Re, Attila, Memoir '44, Union Pacific, Lost Cities, Mississippi Queen and Formula De. Of the recent games it looks like A Game of Thrones, Age of Steam, Attack, Mystery of the Abbey and Ticket to Ride might capture a good audience. Ticket to Ride is actually a part of a national TV-spot these days!

Since most of the aforementioned games are not sold through the normal book stores, the games that have more sales are Lord of the Rings, Risk variations, Axis & Allies variations and to some extent Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. The latter becoming a part of the board game range in the usual stores last year.

So, I guess, there is no big news here.

Q11. Can you give us some overview of home-grown game publishing? What original games have been published there? What attempts have there been to translate and reprint foreign titles?

There is almost no local game publishing here, unfortunately. From the 70's until now almost every game is a translated version of either American or British games. There have of course been a couple of locally developed games like Cruise (card game), Gøy på landet (farming-monopoly)and Navigare (shipping-monopoly). The overall situation is pretty much as it was in the music industry a decade ago when the record companies controlled whom at what to release. The large publishers in Norway have not released too many local games either because of lack of good/original ideas or interest. Hopefully the first apply.

When it comes to translations and reprints of games, there are several different options. Like I've stated earlier, the larger publishers focus heavily on the trivia/party game successes from the US. So that is well covered. The strange thing there is that there never seems to be anything from Germany or Holland or anything ... Never mind. When it comes to strategy games, which the large ones have yet to try, except from Dan-Spil/Nor-star (Settlers of Catan), Midgaard used to be the sole deliverer on this market. They didn't translate, so it was just imports. Since 2003, after and established themselves in the online market, they understood there was some competition coming and set up their own publishing called Midgaard Games. To my knowledge they also have some interest in Fantasy Flight, and started translating and printing, most importantly, Carcassonne and the lighter Fantasy Flight games as well as their own versions of some card games. Apart from that nobody is reprinting foreign games, but both of the online stores translate most of the games they sell either from German or from English. Although, as I've mentioned earlier, most Norwegians understand English well enough to understand even the old Avalon Hill games, it is a very nice gesture to their customers. I guess it is also cheaper to get the games from Germany and translate them than to buy imports from the USA.

Q13. Sounds like it. :) Perhaps not that many have heard of Valhall, however? I have to admit I never have. Also, earlier you mentioned television ads. How much mass media presence is there for board games there and what is the nature of that presence?

WHAT!? Never heard of the brilliant comix of the viking gods? Of course you have not. It's of Danish origin, and meant for children but has the crossover effect that Axterix has. I guess one only gets it in Scandinavia as well, but I still have the same question. Somebody ought to take the opportunity, I don't care if it's the Danes, Swedes or Norwegians!

Let's leave that matter now. Board games are pretty much non-existent in mass media here. Almost all marketing goes into the catalogs of the book store chains twice a year and that's it. Every other year some newspapers find it a good idea to have a test before Christmas or Easter or whatever, usually with no basis and a panel with no knowledge of the subject. The only board game that gets some coverage is Chess, mostly because we have a couple of good players and it's viewed as a serious game – a contest for the people with a more than average IQ score.

Passport was one of the first TV commercials I've seen of a board game, as far as I remember, and it has now been followed up by Ticket to Ride. Cranium was presented on national breakfast TV last winter, but apart from that you only see ads for board games in combination with a wide range of products - like we also have Trivial Pursuit ...

The past two years we, at BSG, have been trying to correct this a bit, and have been part of two tests in the third largest news paper in Norway. There are separate categories of party games and card games, a test of economic games for the leading consumer focused magazine and a monthly spot on Norway's largest national commercial radio. Now we are trying to get one of the papers to do a story on Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne as well as maybe doing something on the most prestigious award in the business – the Spiel des Jahres, which very few outside the gaming community know of. We are trying to get more coverage of the business into the media, and so far it has at least become better, although it's still a long way to go.

Q14. What do you think is the societal view of board games and their players? Is it positive, negative, no opinion?

You are making me guess again, but in my experience it's more like wonder. For the most part traditional board gamers are, I believe, looked upon as geeks, but not necessarily as a bad thing. It depends on what kinds of games I suppose. Since most Norwegians are familiar with the game packs I mentioned earlier, people know of games, but they at the same time may look at it as something for children to do. Board games for adults should be Chess or trivia games.

Personally though, my experience is somewhat different. Most people find it fascinating that we spend so much time gaming, and of course the wide range of games we have. It is on these grounds that I would argue that this business could become more important in Norway. So far people in general do not know what is available out there ...

Q15. With your business background, what do you think can be done to improve the industry there?

We have a couple of hurdles to get over before the business will make a bigger impact. First, that the outlets of board games are generally book stores or toy stores is in my view a drawback since the largest chains are owned by the two largest book publishers and consequently focus their energy solely on books. When there is centralized buying with no focus on quality, but rather which games give the highest mark up, the customer loses. When it comes to toy stores, I don't know if serious/adult games should be there in the first place. But in lack of alternatives they become important. Second, the businesses are not working together to raise the prestige and exposure of board games. Most media coverage is created by independent or enthusiastic sources. Third, it's almost impossible to get numbers in this business. This means that getting an overall picture of national statistics is not possible. How big is the market? What are good sales? How is the sales in regard to categories? Etc, etc.

The business should start to look at possible solutions to these problems, without giving out compromising financial information by opening up business statistics, making more of an effort media-wise and maybe having other arrangements with the outlets. In this way the business may become an industry.

Q16. Now a question you can really have fun with :) What makes the games fun and interesting for you? What are some of your most favorites? What’s your favorite game that few, or at least few around you, seem to like? Do you have a favorite type or type that you are best at, e.g. abstract, auction, bluff, business, tile placement, heavy, light, fantasy, war game, etc.?

Hmm, this is the board games version of "What albums to bring to a deserted island" question. Almost impossible to answer. But, obedient pawn I am, I will give it a go! ;-)

First of all I perceive board games as a social gathering among friends, so the interaction between the players are essential. As a result of this I would argue that a good game is the game that fits the individual group playing it. Getting trivia fans to play Republic of Rome is hopeless. Second, I argue that which games to play is similar to what music to put on; it varies according to mood and circumstance. Sitting down with a friend in the winter dark with the fire place burning and hot chocolate in the cup is very different than playing a game with friends on the porch in the summertime before you're heading out to party. So the answer to your first question would be that it all depends ...

Some of my favourite games include Britannia, Formula De, Sequence, Scrabble, Kokkelimonke, Guillotine, Attila, Gipf project, A-Å, Wallenstein and Titan.

There are, of course, a lot of games that didn't spring to mind amongst the games mentioned earlier, but they at least show some of the range of games I like. In many ways I don't demand that much from games. I enjoy playing. This means that any given game must really be bad before I refuse to play. Most likely I'll even join then – what the heck ... Again this has similarities to my view on music. Every musical style has something to offer – it's more a question of finding the right record or artist. The other similarity is that I don't need stereo equipment for a million to enjoy my records. I would rather have many records ...

Games I like, but few others do? ...

When it comes to game mechanics, I have a tendency to like the abstracts: tile placement and war. I guess strategy at some level is important. Totally luck-oriented games usually turn me off, unless I am playing it in a party mood. When I say war games, I don't necessarily mean simulation, but rather games with direct conflict. War simulation games fascinate me greatly, but there are few possible players and the time they consume are limitations. There is usually practical problems as well; too many counters, rules and space – think of a full scale Napoleon's Waterloo. To me, these are the games that have turned me on to PC gaming. Instead of never being able to play simulation games at all, I would rather play Battleground, Panzer General, Close Combat and the long awaited Codename: Panzers.

Q17. You seem to have pretty wide tastes, which is not all that common, but probably ideal for a music publisher. :) I suppose you always enjoy fine artistry regardless of the genre ... I wonder how much you have also played RPG's and CCG's?

Thanks. I'll take that as a compliment. I guess I just follow the moods I'm in, but I also find variety important. Like I've mentioned before I've had some years playing Drakar & Demoner, a Swedish variation of D&D. My friends and I also had 2-3 years with Magic: the Gathering, before going back to board games. Apart from those games, I've not tried that many others. Because of BrettSpillGuiden I've looked at some, but not gotten too excited.

Q18. What about your own involvement in the games industry? Have you had any participation there?

Remo's Offer
There are actually a couple of things I would like to use this opportunity for. As we are on a constant lookout for new games and publishers from all over the world, any publisher wanting some promotion in our region should not hesitate to make contact. And I would like to stress that BSG is meant to be a site more for the casual than hard core gamers, and we strive to review the games according to category. This means that games like A-Å might get a much better score than a gamer's game. A-Å is a good party game, while for instance RA might get a lower score due to not being our favorite strategy game. Personally I would prefer to play RA, but they serve very different needs! We have been able to get this across locally, but it's important that publishers elsewhere understand it as well.
I never even thought about being involved in the industry before I started BrettSpillGuiden. When I set the site up, I did my groundwork and prepared myself. This included making contact with all the distributors, using the 'Net to get an overview of the different and important publishers in Europe and the USA, and assessing the local market and value chain. This comes pretty naturally due to my interests and of course my education. Since BSG was established, Tore (my BSG partner) and I made a children's game this summer. Not for regular sale, but as a part of a Christmas calendar for a national TV show. We've also been asked to take on some translation work and game testing, but have been a bit reluctant to do this, mostly due to our concern about compromising our independence. In order for BSG to reach our goals the independence of the site is of paramount importance.

We also supported the launch of Cranium in Norway, but that came about after we had made our test of the game. As a panel, we loved it and consequently agreed to join Richard Tait (Hi, Richard!) on national TV and included the game in the monthly interview on national radio. We did not make any money for this, but supported the game as a very good novelty in the market.

The last couple of months I have made some new plans for BSG for next year, which I hope will be well received by the industry. If not very soon, so at least in the future I think I would like to try working within the industry. It may be fun to be responsible for launching a catalog or finding suitable games for the market.

Q19. Is there anything I've left out that you would like to say? And finally, what are the words for game and board game in your language?

Game translates to spill and board games translate to brettspill.

Thanks very much for the interesting thoughts, Remo!

If they're interesting or not is up to the readers to decide, but at least I tried answering the very interesting questions. I really appreciate the opportunity both to share some information about my region and being forced to think about it as well. Thanks, Rick!

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