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Favorite FAQ

 
July 8, 2009
Benjamin Teuber

“What does your father do all day long as a game inventor?”

People have asked me different versions of this question all my life. Everyone who has ever used a rolling pin more or less knows how a baker works, and you don’t need to have a green thumb to know how the workday of a gardener might look like. But in the case of a game inventor this seems to be different. I can actually relate to that – after all, a man doesn’t invent board games all day long.

And that’s why, over the years, people have asked me a certain type of questions time and again. Not that this would bother me. And as we all know, there isn’t such a thing as a stupid question. But there are questions you were asked so many times that it makes you either yawn or laugh.

Yawning might occur when I give my “normal” answer, i.e., the correct answer – which, of course, is the answer I mostly choose, because I want to provide information. But when I offer version 2 of the answer, people are often amused. Since I usually convey the message rather drily, it sometimes takes a few seconds before the uncomprehending frown gives way to an understanding smile.

Well, now you are better prepared for this, dear reader. Below you can find both versions of my answers to my “Favorite FAQ.”

FAQ 1: How does your father work – does he sit at the desk all day long, mulling over new ideas?

The yawn-provoker:
No – he also does a lot of back office work, such as making phone calls, writing e-mails, crafting prototypes, going on business trips, etc. Sometimes I think that he’d rather dedicate more time to the creative part of his work, but the other things also need to be taken care of.

The smile-provoker:
That’s exactly the way it is. He gets up at 8 a. m. in the morning and sits down at his desk. There he rests his head in his hand and simply ponders all day long. On one occasion, I briefly thought, “It’s happening – he just became one with the desk.” But it was only because of some glue that had leaked out of a tube.

FAQ 2: As a child, were you forced to test new games?

Informative:
No, that wouldn’t have made sense. Even when sitting down for a test game, you should be in the mood for it, much the same as when you’re sitting down to play a regular game. There were neither fixed “game days” at home, nor did we have the obligation to join the game. If you didn’t feel like it, you just didn’t participate.

Sometimes I say, as drily as I can:
Yes, on a regular basis. There was a so-called “game laboratory” in the cellar, where we were locked in every day for 6 hours to test new games, without being able to see the sunlight. Naturally, that was a real pleasure. We examined the logical structure and entertainment value of the games, using a check list. I believe that this substantially contributed to the games’ success.

Spieletest mit Soehnen 450 Favorite FAQ

Game test: Benjamin, Klaus, and Guido Teuber

FAQ 3: Do you also like to play other games, or can it only be games made by Teuber?

A Ferrari among the yawn-provokers:
I think that the family of a writer doesn’t only read his books either. Our family loves to play other games, and we always try to at least get to know the novelties of the year. It’s more a question of how much time is available for that.

On a less serious note, I say:
Are you joking? As soon as my friends arrive at the entrance door of our house, my parents search their pockets for non-Teuber games. Finds go directly to the recycling bag, no exceptions made. At the age of 16, I once got caught playing a round of “Risk” – result: pocket money canceled for the time being!

FAQ 4: You surely have invented a game yourself, haven’t you? Do you want to follow in the footsteps of you father?

Run-of-the-mill answer:
You never know what might happen. At some point, I made a couple of attempts, but they somehow fizzled out – it either comes to you or it doesn’t; you can’t push it.

With a touch of irony:
Sure! Everyone knows that game inventing is something you inherit, so what choice do I have?

However, there also are questions I still like to answer in exactly the same way, even after the 1,000th time. Sometimes there’s just no alternative.

FAQ 5: When you were a child, how was it like to have a game inventor as a father?

Great! All the time, we had new games on the shelf, more than we could ever play. Most of the time, there was also someone to test them. A child could hardly wish his father had a better job!

Benjamin Teuber

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Comments

I have been playing Catan with the frenemies senario. I like the game a lot but still have questions... When you play a token does it automatically go back in with the unused tokens or is it removed from game play??? When you connect networks, does this allow you to build a settlement on the new network of a different color?? Please respond...thanks!!
Dr. Reiner Düren
@Phillip: When you redeem favor tokens, you return them face up to the matching guild hall on the guild hall board. When you connect networks you may indeed build settlements into the network of a different color according to the normal rules - when the adjacent intersections are free.

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