Lukas Zach & Michael Palm on the Dorfromantik Board Game

After seeing Dorfromantik at Gamescom, I became interested in this little tile-based, level building game. There are so many small details, lots of charm, and it’s clearly a game with so many hidden quests within it. Shortly after, a board game based on the video game was announced, and we got the chance to sit down with Lukas Zach and Michael Palm, the designers behind the board game, to understand more about what goes into converting a single player, video game experience to a multiplayer board game experience.

First of all, can you introduce yourselves and give a bit of history on your company?

“We are no company, we are just two friends that make games together for around twenty years now. We work together via video calls and test our games in our local groups and together on table top simulator. We work as free designers with different publishers and released with them games like: BANG! The Dice Game, Aventuria – Adventure Card Game, the “Undo” series, “The Dwarves“-Board Game, the Talisman Family “Legendary Tales” and some more…”

What are some of the challenges of taking a digital game like Dorfromantik and creating a board game out of it?

“Oh yes there are some. First of all if the IP is quite popular, the expectations from the community are high. Then of course not all mechanics can be transferred to a board game 1 on 1. Either because they do not fit or they are much to complex. So it’s more about getting the essence of it and the atmosphere. So the board game has the same vibes.”

How do you turn the single player experience of Dorfromantik to a multiplayer experience for the board game?

“It was surprisingly easy this time. The game becomes bigger and bigger with each placed tile, so the amount of options is huge. It’s really helpful then to have a group around you that call your attention to rewarding positions to place your tile. There are a lot of discussions going on especially later in the game and over the progress of the campaign when more and more special tiles are unlocked.”

What are some of the restrictions when working with an IP?

“Mostly restrictions regarding the background and the look. How big the restrictions are, of course, is determined by the licensor. But Toukana Interactive gave us a lot of freedom and they were also open to new tiles that they could imagine becoming part of the PC game later on.”

How did you both end up working on the board game for Dorfromantik?

“Lukas works for KING Art Games, another video game company. Their game Iron Harvest was nominated together with Dorfromantik for a games award. So he checked out the game and realized that the main mechanic at the first glance was quite close to a game we already had in development (a coop hex tile game in a tropical island setting). We informed our publisher Pegasus about this interesting license and they managed to get it with help of our reworked Prototype.”

What was it like working with the digital game developer Toukana?

“The guys from Toukana were fantastic from the first meeting on. They are so kind and open minded. It was really a pleasure to bring their baby to the board game table. We played with them our prototype from time to time and got good feedback for the next round of development. In general this was one of the most interesting projects together with the Toukans and Klaus Ottmaier the Head of Editing from Pegasus. We work together for years and its always a cool journey.”

Seeing video games turned into board games are always very interesting, and it was so neat to hear more about the process.

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