Designer Spotlight: Mac Gerdts

Mac Gerdts

Mac Gerdts is a designer from Hamburg (Germany) known for using the rondel action selection system in a lot of his games. Most known games are probably Concordia and Imperial. Concordia also received a nomination for Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2014 and is still considered to be one of the best Euro games by many. Mac Gerdts had kindly agreed to tell us some more about himself and his upcoming game Concordia: Venus.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Born in Hamburg, I never really left that city. Apart from playing and designing board games in my free time, I work as an economist for the Economics Ministry of the City of Hamburg. And I love to cycle around Europe: Last year I made a 3 weeks bicycle trip from Germany to Barcelona in Spain. I wish I could find more time for such activities…

What’s your favourite game?

One of my old favourites certainly is Kremlin. Of my own games, Imperial is my favourite, but unfortunately there is not much opportunity to play it. The last years, I have been playing Concordia over and over, mainly playtesting new variants and expansions. And to tell you what: despite playing Concordia almost every week, I never got tired by it. It’s still such a deep and exciting game, even today, and even to me as the designer.

What game would you use to introduce new people to the hobby?

I would choose Concordia. Rules are really simple to explain, but there is so much to discover.

Why do you design games?

It’s been my hobby since the 1970s, when I started to create my own designs and play them with my buddies from school. Honestly, I never asked myself why I do it. I consider playing games, and thus socialize with others, being an important part of the human nature.

What are you most proud of?

I am very proud of my 12 years old son, who also takes an interest in board games and started to play Navegador at the very age of 5!

What is the most important aspect of playing games for you?

The most important thing is to enjoy yourself. Playing games should be fun. And players should interact with one another without having to learn lots of complicated rules. Easy rules, short individual turns, and subtle interaction should be combined with a deep game. And if you lose, you should not be able to blame it on the bad luck of cards or dice, but on the skills of the winner.

Are you proud to be known for using the rondel mechanism or do you feel that it is haunting you?

Well, being known for having introduced the rondel mechanic into the world of board games isn’t too bad. But Concordia and Transatlantic don’t use that mechanic anymore, and Concordia is by far my best known game. The wide popularity of Concordia shows that I am not only the “rondel-guy”.

Where do you find your inspiration for new game themes and mechanics?

This is a tough question. It certainly helps that history is one of my prime interests.

What can you tell us about your upcoming game Concordia: Venus?

Concordia: Venus

With Concordia Venus, you will be able to play Concordia in teams against each other. In a team of 2, you have to think not only about your own needs, but also of the needs and opportunities of your partner. There is much more to consider, certainly in terms of combining a wider choice of turns, but also in terms of communication and interaction between partners. Venus is a real challenge for the experienced player of Concordia, but also an opportunity for everyone to gain more insight in the game (it helps to have a strong partner at your side). And Venus offers the possibility to play Concordia with 6 players. Because each card is basically executed by both partners, it is every second card (or every third card with 3 teams) that matters for you, and you don’t have to wait too long until it’s your turn again. Last but not least, the new Goddess Venus can also be introduced in a game of individuals (2 to 5 players), where it offers new strategic opportunities. It will also come with new maps. If you are a fan of Concordia, you should not miss out on the Venus experience!

Follow Peter van der Helm:

I'm Peter van der Helm, married, and live in the Netherlands. It started in 1994 when I bought an starter deck from Deciphers Star Trek CCG and have played multiple CCG's and LCG's since. I have a game group in Deventer with whom I play boardgames. I mostly like medium length games with a good theme.

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