I was lucky enough to speak to Robert Coelho, a theatre director and board game designer from Brazil. Robert’s game Shakespeare: Sonhos de um Bardo (A Bard’s Dream) is on it’s way to being released by Fun Box Jogos. It is a set collection, card drafting game featuring gorgeous artwork by Luis Fransisco and Jacqui Davis and you can read more details below. I loved reading Robert’s answers, fascinating stuff and plenty of names and games to investigate further. I hope that you enjoy reading as much as I did.
All images taken with permission from Board Game Geek.
Tell me about your most recent game Shakespeare: A Bard’s Dream when is it to be released?
Shakespeare: A Bard´s Dream is a card game inspired by all those amazing plays and iconic characters. The game is a play staged by the players and their characters. Each round takes place in a different scenario and players use characters to perform actions or collect coins. Characters have class icons and each character you put on stage later becomes part of your cast. At the end of the game you’ll get points according to class icons in your cast. It would be a simple and placid set-collection game, if not for all that treason, murders, vengeance, romance and many other shakespearian actions characters can perform during the play. The game will be released here in Brazil this year during the second semester on a date to be announced.
How did you go about publishing your game? Did you approach Fun Box initially?
It all started around the beginning of 2014. I am a theatre director and my playtest group was my game group, basically formed by my actors. After a few weeks where we played Citadels almost every day during rehearsal snack breaks, I began to think about a game that would a play where we could put characters on stage. Took a look at BGG when I started sketching this idea and noticed that there were not many games with this theme. There were some games that had Shakespeare as a theme, but none of them were relevant or similar to what I was thinking. Spent a few months working on the mechanics of the game and in the characters actions, what took me to re-read and study all of Shakespeare’s plays to get the game where I wanted. In October I thought that the game was well balanced and I began thinking about crowdfunding to publish it. At that time I already knew Vanessa, one of the owners of Funbox Jogos, because I was a loyal customer of Funbox Ludolocadora, a board game cafe where you can rent games too. Funbox Jogos had recently published through crowdfunding the Brazilian version of Coup, which was beautiful, by the way. So I thought it would be a good idea to show them the game and find out if it was really worth it and maybe get some tips that could help me on the way to a successful crowdfunding campaign. On the day that I scheduled with Vanessa to show her the game, all Funbox Jogos big guys were there and they ended up playing too. Many tips, analysis, suggestions and compliments and a week later they contacted me saying they wanted to publish the game.
Will it have an English translation or European distribution?
Well I have a prototype of the game in English and Funbox Jogos will be at Essen. So, let´s cross fingers.
How long have you been designing and have you had any other games released?
I always loved games, whether electronic, cards or tabletop. But I really started thinking about creating one just after a new world of possibilities was uncovered when I discover the modern board games in 2011. Shakespeare was the first game I considered good enough to show other people than my game group and it´s going to be the first one to be published. Hope many others will come.
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
Last year I spent some time developing more card games ideas, like Urbes (A city building draft game), Anime Studio (An anime production with multi-use cards) and Mermaids (A bluffing and deduction game under the sea). Unfortunately I can´t work full time on my game projects, so I dedicated my free time to them. Since I think I get better results when I focus on just one game for a while, I’ll have to choose which board game prototype I’ll return to, since some got frozen during last year, or which new idea I’ll start developing. I have a little notebook where I write down all my games ideas so I can work on them later, and right now I have more than 20 there. I think I need more free time!
What’s the table top game scene like in Brazil? Has it always been quite strong of has it grown in popularity?
Catan was just published here in 2011, and before that the vast majority of the market was dominated by Risk and Monopoly look alikes. Just a very small number of people would import because taxes are very high here. From what I have read on BGG and heard on YouTube, there was a worldwide increase of tabletop games enthusiasts in recent years. Fortunately we seem to follow this trend, as the number of stores, publishers and games has grown exponentially every year since 2011. We don´t have a big convention bringing together players nationally, but several cities already have local events. I organize one in my city called Joga Cuesta. Hope to have a BGBR CON soon, with many foreign companies, designers and reviewers visiting us.
Who are your favourite designers, and do you have any recommendations for us?
I´m a big fan of Bruno Cathala, Bruno Faidutti, Vlaada Chvátil and Uwe Rosenberg. Have not played so many Feld games, but I really liked those I played. I´m a big fan of Marcos Macri´s games, a Brazilian designer who was not yet published out of here. But if you want to know him better, Rahdo did a run through Dogs, one of my favourites. I playtested his next one, Chaparral, and it´ll probably be the best of all. The dynamic duo Sérgio Halaban and André Zatz, responsible for the big hit Sheriff of Nothingham, are also Brazilian and from them I would recommend Quartz, a very funny press your luck game which will be released at GEN CON this year. If you are more of a euro gamer, besides Macri´s games I´d recommend Blacksmith Brothers from Nicholas Paschalis, just released here by Ludofy Creative, and Space Cantina from Fel Barros and Warny Marçano, which crowfunding campaign is ending this week. Shakespeare artwork is amazing, thanks to Luis Francisco graphic design and Jacqui Davis illustrations. So I´d like to recommend Fidelitas and Euphoria, two great games where you can find Jacqui´s art. If you have Instagram I would recommend following me, @robertcoel, so you can find more about Brazilian tabletop games and talk about what we´re playing.
A sneak peek at a previously unseen card, one of my favourite characters!
You can follow Robert on Instagram on the link above and follow the game on BGG