Mar­co Con­so­li


Lau­rea­to in Giu­ri­spru­den­za, è gior­na­li­sta free­lan­ce da sem­pre; scri­ve di tec­no­lo­gia, de­si­gn, eco­no­mia, scien­ze, vi­deo­ga­me, ci­ne­ma. Col­la­bo­ra con quo­ti­dia­ni e pe­rio­di­ci tra cui Fo­cus, L’Espres­so, La Stam­pa, Sport Week e Ciak. Ever sin­ce gra­dua­ting in Law he has wor­ked as a free­lan­ce jour­na­li­st; he wri­tes about tech­no­lo­gy, de­si­gn, eco­no­mics, the scien­ces, vi­deo­ga­mes and the ci­ne­ma. He con­tri­bu­tes to new­spa­pers and pe­rio­di­cals, in­clu­ding Fo­cus, L’Espres­so, La Stam­pa, Sport Week and Ciak.

Board ga­mes are back in fa­shion – wi­th va­rious smart new ver­sions now on the mar­ket. So­me are in­spi­red by mo­vies and TV se­ries, and are ai­med at a de­si­gn-orien­ted group of adul­ts. One of the­se is Fuo­ri­sa­lo­ne, a ga­me de­ve­lo­ped by Stu­dio­la­bo that ta­kes its in­spi­ra­tion from the mu­tli­ple si­tes used for Mi­lan’s an­nual Fur­ni­tu­re Fair

“The­re are so ma­ny in­te­re­sting things hap­pe­ning at the Fuo­ri­sa­lo­ne and it is not al­ways ea­sy to get to them be­cau­se mo­ving around to­wn can be com­pli­ca­ted.” This is how Cri­stian Con­fa­lo­nie­ri, crea­ti­ve head of Stu­dio­la­bo, who for so­me ti­me now has fol­lo­wed the Bre­ra De­si­gn Di­strict (one of the big ex­hi­bi­tion cir­cui­ts in the ci­ty du­ring De­si­gn Week), de­scri­bes as the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Fuo­ri­sa­lo­ne, a board ga­me that ce­le­bra­tes the de­si­gn and ar­chi­tec­tu­re hap­pe­ning held in Mi­lan, this year, from 17 to 22 April. “We tried to re­crea­te the fre­ne­tic at­mo­sphe­re of tho­se days wi­th a ga­me for four payers on a board that re­pro­du­ces the 68 main De­si­gn Week lo­ca­tions. The aim is to get to them at the exact ti­me the event is ta­king pla­ce, whi­ch is no ea­sy mat­ter. Tho­se who ma­na­ge to do so win de­si­gn icon cards, su­ch as the P40 arm­chair or the Pan­ton chair, and they are awar­ded poin­ts. The player who ge­ts the mo­st poin­ts wins the ga­me.” The rea­son why the Mi­lan stu­dio de­ci­ded to ma­ke this pro­duct in col­la­bo­ra­tion wi­th Cra­nio Crea­tions (the ga­me will be on sa­le for 30 eu­ros du­ring and af­ter the week of the fair) is be­cau­se a board ga­me is al­so a de­si­gn item. “This is a gen­re that de­si­gners ha­ve al­ways snub­bed,” Con­fa­lo­nie­ri con­ti­nues, “but ac­tual­ly it pre­sen­ts the sa­me pro­blems as other work of de­si­gn. We found it in­te­re­sting to try to tac­kle the com­ple­xi­ties in­vol­ved he­re and trans­fer ideas to the me­cha­nics of the ga­me.” When vi­deo­ga­mes ca­me out in the 1980s board ga­mes fell out of fa­vour but re­cen­tly the­re has been so­me­thing of a re­vi­val. “The­re are no of­fi­cial fi­gu­res,” says Spar­ta­co Al­ber­ta­rel­li, who over the la­st 30 years or so has crea­ted fa­mous ga­mes li­ke Ka­lei­dos. “But ju­st look at all the new ga­mes co­ming out. La­st year the­re we­re about 3,000. Their suc­cess is due to even­ts li­ke Luc­ca Co­mics & Ga­mes and the Es­sen Fair, but al­so to the fact that the tar­get has chan­ged over ti­me. Ga­mes used to be de­si­gned for fa­mi­lies, now they’re pri­ma­ri­ly for adul­ts, as can be seen from the de­si­gn of the bo­xes, whi­ch we­re on­ce cum­ber­so­me things kept

in be­drooms, but are now mo­re stream­li­ned and at­trac­ti­ve, so they look ni­ce on a boo­k­ca­se in the li­ving-room.” And as the users ha­ve chan­ged, so too ha­ve the ga­mes. “No­bo­dy real­ly in­ven­ts any­thing re­vo­lu­tio­na­ry in to­day’s world,” says Al­ber­ta­rel­li, “as we see for exam­ple in Ima­gi­ne, whi­ch fea­tu­res Mu­na­ri’s Più e Me­no trans­pa­rent cards. We ha­ve the Fren­ch to thank for this re­vi­val, who ha­ve dra­wn par­tly from stra­te­gy-fo­cu­sed Ger­man ga­mes in­vol­ving hard­ly any ri­sk and Ame­ri­can ones, ba­sed mo­re on the vi­sual than on the struc­tu­ral.” One of the mo­st in­no­va­ti­ve new ga­mes is Pan­de­mic Le­ga­cy, in whi­ch players work to­wards a com­mon goal as they de­ve­lop a nar­ra­ti­ve and sto­ries, ma­king va­rious choi­ces and wor­king to­wards a con­clu­sion over a se­ries of ga­mes. “The­se are in­spi­red by vi­deo­ga­mes, TV se­ries and mo­vies,” Al­ber­ta­rel­li ex­plains, “be­cau­se the­se are the kinds of ex­pe­rien­ce the tar­get au­dien­ce is fa­mi­liar wi­th.” It took crea­tor Rob Da­viau (who tried the idea out wi­th Ri­sk: Le­ga­cy) so­me ti­me to esta­bli­sh this new ga­me de­si­gn con­cept along­si­de mo­re tra­di­tio­nal ga­mes of stra­te­gy and ro­le­play, par­ty ga­mes, col­lec­ta­ble cards and the mo­re re­cent esca­pe rooms, pla­ces whe­re the aim is to break out in a short ti­me – and whi­ch exi­st as “real” pla­ces in ma­ny ci­ties. The mar­ket has at­trac­ted a num­ber of pu­bli­shers, su­ch as Edi­tri­ce Gio­chi, Asmo­dee Ita­lia, Oli­phan­te, Gio­chi Uni­ti, DV Gio­chi and even Cra­nio Crea­tions, and is lin­ked to awards li­ke Ga­me of the Year and Go­blin Ma­gni­fi­co, and the­re are ma­ny crea­tors in­vol­ved, in­clu­ding An­drea An­gio­li­no and Leo Co­lo­vi­ni in Ita­ly, and Ro­ber­to Fra­ga and Bru­no Ca­tha­la in Fran­ce. Al­ber­ta­rel­li be­lie­ves that the­re is no li­near rou­te in­to the pro­fes­sion. You might ju­st end up in it be­cau­se of a bril­liant idea (li­ke the one Emi­lia­no Sciar­ra had for Bang!, whi­ch be­ca­me a world be­st sel­ler). “Of cour­se, ga­me de­si­gn – a su­b­ject now al­so taught at Mi­lan Po­ly­tech­nic, IULM and IED – will help crea­te a new ge­ne­ra­tion of ga­me de­si­gners,” Con­fa­lo­nie­ri says. “And they are nee­ded. Even if ar­chi­tec­tu­ral ele­men­ts (li­ke the to­wers on Quar­to,

the steps on Cat­ch the Moon and the sphe­res on Aba­lo­ne) are wor­king their way in­to board ga­mes, the sec­tor still doe­sn’t ha­ve a well-esta­bli­shed gra­phic di­vi­sion. So, for Fuo­ri­sa­lo­ne we wor­ked wi­th il­lu­stra­tor Sil­via Gher­ra to co­me up wi­th a map that could be hung up li­ke a po­ster. As a no­vi­ce in­ve­sti­ga­ting this world, thou­gh, I saw ti­tles that we­re stri­king for their de­si­gn, li­ke Pho­to­syn­the­sis wi­th its card­board trees, and T.I.M.E Sto­ries wi­th a sim­ple whi­te box that looks li­ke so­me­thing ma­de by Ap­ple. It’s al­so in­te­re­sting to see how the di­gi­tal and ana­lo­gue world are wor­king along­si­de ea­ch other, wi­th ga­mes li­ke A Ta­le of Pi­ra­tes, whe­re you need an app to play.” Ga­mes are in­crea­sin­gly dra­wing on ar­chi­tec­tu­re and de­si­gn. Dream Ho­me, for exam­ple, ap­peals to fur­ni­shing en­thu­siasts, and do­zens of other ga­mes ha­ve ci­ties as their ba­sic lay­out, li­ke the re­cent La Bo­ca and San­to­ri­ni. As Al­ber­ta­rel­li con­clu­des “Ci­ties are hot­beds of crea­ti­vi­ty. In real li­fe they are vi­si­ted and en­joyed for their beau­ty, in ga­mes they are evo­ked and re­crea­ted.”

La plan­cia del gio­co da ta­vo­lo Fuo­ri­sa­lo­ne è un pro­get­to dell’il­lu­stra­tri­ce Sil­via Gher­ra / The board of the ga­me Fuo­ri­sa­lo­ne is a work by the il­lu­stra­tor Sil­via Gher­ra.

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