With Agent Hunt, Schmidt Spiele has created an exciting combination of board game and app. We visited their stand at the Spielwarenmesse.
Jürgen Groh: Cockroaches last year, agents this year, how did you come up with this idea? Axel Kaldenhoven: We always have to come up with something new that we can show here and is also effective in the media. We are presenting this game at the trade fair as a novelty. It is the first game that is controlled by an app. We asked Mr. Liechtenstein if he would play our agent and what could be more natural than to present it here as a novelty? Jürgen Groh: Did you come across the agents via Mr. Liechtenstein or did you come across Mr. Liechtenstein via the agents? Axel Kaldenhoven: It all happened in parallel. On the one hand, we had a very good illustrator who created a very close resemblance to Mr. Liechtenstein. We then said that it would be perfect if we could engage Mr. Liechtenstein to present the game. He said yes, so it was a symbiosis between the game, Mr. Liechtenstein, Berlin and everything that takes place in it. Jürgen Groh: I see a decoration here with binoculars, Big City, helicopters. What is the game about? Axel Kaldenhoven: The game is about going through an app, a controlled route, where you don't know beforehand who is a spy and who is an agent. You have to travel through the world, you have different vehicles such as airplanes, cars or others to get from A to B and to decode the agent and the spy.
Jürgen Groh: You're talking about apps and children. I'm not quite app-savvy at my age. How old are you to be playing app games today? Axel Kaldenhoven: Of course, this game is more for families than for children. We are a classic family game. However, the app is a product that is brought to children much earlier than was the case 10, 15 or 20 years ago. Today, children are already learning how to use apps. They engage with the iPad and play with it. Creating a connection there makes a lot of sense. The topic of apps was very important to us. Developing a product that can't be solved with cards or other game mechanisms. It's a game where nobody knows what the outcome will be. Apps work completely hidden, nobody knows who the spy is. We therefore see a very good symbiosis between the two products. Jürgen Groh: What age group is this game aimed at? Axel Kaldenhoven: It starts with 7- to 8-year-olds, who are still guided a little by the family. But it goes upwards from 8 - 9 years.
Jürgen Groh: The best way to play Agent Hunt is on a computer, tablet or iPhone? Axel Kaldenhoven: You play it in combination with the handheld, which can be a pad, but also a phone on which your app works, both iOS and Android are suitable. Together with the board game, you play the agent hunt. You are not sitting in front of the computer, you are sitting at the gaming table. The combination of communication with the family and at the gaming table is very important to us. They basically use the app to give directions and instructions in the game. Jürgen Groh: How does the genesis, the development of an idea work? Do you meet with the entire creative team to brainstorm first, or does someone come up with a fixed idea, or do you put it out to tender? How does that actually work? Axel Kaldenhoven: We receive 1,500 to 1,800 game proposals every year!
Jürgen Groh: Just like that from amateurs? Axel Kaldenhoven: Exactly, they are sent to us by amateurs or professionals. Our product management team has a lot of appointments at trade fairs. The product comes from America. There, the product management team met with an American or with American game inventors. He presented the prototype and we basically immediately saw potential in it and then got in touch with the developers to make it as concrete as possible. We optimize it in several steps, it is played and tested in various rounds and at some point a finished product emerges. Jürgen Groh: Any ideas for next year? Axel Kaldenhoven: Let's sell this first and then we'll look ahead to next year. Next year we will definitely come up with something surprising and different again. Whether it's the cockroach or the agent, maybe we'll come up with something completely new next year. Jürgen Groh: I wish you a successful trade fair.