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Interview with Simone Cerruti Sola, Designer of Kepler-3042

Simone Cerruti SolaSpace is a big theme recently. More than one or two space games have been released exploring themes of colonization and resource management. A recently funded Kickstarter campaign for Kepler-3042 is keeping designer Simone Cerruti Sola (SCS) busy. He managed to spare some time for Controlled Area Gaming to answer some questions.

CAG: How did the design of Kepler-3042 begin?

SCS: Hello! First of all, thank you for the interview and for the congratulations. I had the first idea two years ago, during a walk with my wife Valentina.

CAG: The theme is integrated very well in this game. Was that a consideration from the beginning?

SCS: Yes, it was! And I have to thank the great work made by Placentia and Post Scriptum guys and by the illustrator, Alan D’Amico.

CAG: There are a lot of space themed games coming out now, what makes Kepler-3042 different?

SCS: Unlike many space themed games, in Kepler-3042 you cannot attack your opponents. Furthermore, the publisher hired a scientific consultant (Adrian Fartade), to have an eye for the scientific validity in the game.

Regarding the mechanics, a innovative idea comes with the game: each player has a limited amount of personal resources that can be consumed to perform extra actions and speed up your strategy. It could be risky, but it can lead you to the victory. In the end, Kepler-3042 has been designed to have high replayability.

CAG: There doesn’t seem to be any player-to-player direct conflict in Kepler-3042. Would you describe this as a 4X game?

SCS: I’d describe it as a 3X: no eXterminate!

CAG: Does the successful Kickstarter give you the feeling of a need to work on even more game designs or are you just focused on Kepler-3042 at the moment?

SCS: At the moment I’m working on other 2 prototypes, very different from Kepler-3042. It’s really a passion to design games. I enjoy it at least as much as playing them!

CAG: How did your journey as a game designer begin?

SCS: It begun with an idea that I dared to develop, and to submit to Mario Sacchi and Matteo Panara from Post Scriptum. I already knew them thanks to the great multigame tournament they organize with their club for the past few years. When they tried the prototype of Starship Scramble (it was the first name of the game), they immediately saw its potential. It was really nice working with them because they are very fair people, and they are very experienced in board games..

CAG: What types of board game designs interest you?

SCS: I like long-term planning games, with a little part of luck. Let’s say Kepler-3042 exactly fits my preferences.

CAG: There’s an exceptionally nice quote in the rulebook giving thanks to family, friends, and play testers. How much do these groups influence your decisions?

SCS: Some decisions have been taken after playtest feedback. I gave thanks to the people who more than anybody else helped me in making my dreams come true: sometimes the dreams alone are nothing, without special people supporting you in realizing them.

CAG: Judging by images on BoardGameGeek, your wife just gave birth to your son Alessandro. How do you find the time to work on game design?

SCS: When Alessandro was born, the most challenging part of the process was already completed. Sometimes he kept me awake at night, and I used that time to test the solo campaigns!

CAG: What is one game you would like to redesign and give your own revision of rules?

SCS: I adore Twilight Struggle, my favorite board game after Agricola. It’s a total masterpiece with a great theme! Even if every time a die decides something important in the game, it leaves me with a bad taste.

Thanks again to Simone and Mario Sacchi from Placentia Games. Upcoming information about the release of Kepler-3042 can be found on the Placentia Games web site.