14 September 2010

Tuesday Q&A: Eric Grenier

For this week's interview, we go north of the border and check in with Eric Grenier.

If my plaque was to go in the Wargaming Hall of Fame next week, the 2-sentence bio on it would say this about me
Owner of Jeux Grenier Games and designer of Quelques Arpents de Neige, The Pursuit of von Spee, Distant Foreign Fields, among others. Beloved by some.

You would know me from my work in this corner of the wargaming world
Designing – primarily for games like Quelques Arpents de Neige and The Pursuit of von Spee, games that cover topics that have not gotten a lot of attention. Also for publishing, as I published the three games of the In the Trenches series, designed by John Gorkowski, as well as my own designs.

I'm currently working on
An adaptation of The Pursuit of von Spee for the Mediterranean theatre in the First World War and a global-scale Seven Years’ War game. I have another dozen or so topics in the back of my mind but who knows if I will ever have the time.

What was the first wargame you designed your own scenario for?
Axis & Allies. I wasn’t even aware of the wider world of wargaming at the time. Axis & Allies was too small and ahistorical for my tastes, so I designed some variations of it. Those variations evolved over time into World War II in the West, which was released in 2004 but has since gone out of print. I intend to release a new edition of the game eventually.

What are your three favorite types/genres of wargames?
The scale has to be strategic or operational. Currently my favourite time period is the First World War but if the game looks good I can be interested in anything,

What was the first wargame you taught to someone else?
If we define “wargame” widely, that would have to be Axis & Allies. If we’re being a little more snobbish, it would be WWII: ETO. I taught it to my father, but he didn’t take to it as he preferred my own designs.

What wargame made you want to be a designer?
Probably WWII: ETO. Before that game, I didn’t know how sophisticated wargames could get. After that game, I wanted to adapt my own Axis & Allies designs to be more historically accurate.

When I mock up a game for playtesting, my general process is…
I always start with research. I read as much as I can about a topic and during that period I jot down some rough notes for a game system. I then put those together into a workable system, do the OOB research, and put together something resembling a game. Lately I’ve started with Cyberboard versions before going to paper and cardboard, as it is easier to do. The first playtests are always solitaired by me.

If you could be the filmographer at any one battle in history, which one would you view?
The Battle of the Plains of Abraham, 13 September 1759. This was the battle that decided the fate of New France, the French colony in North America. It might be too depressing to watch, though.

How many folks have you converted to wargaming over the years?
None, though I have put a few through a game or two. As someone who has come to the hobby recently, rather than during its heyday, I’m the convert.

You can invite any 3 historical figures to dinner, who do you pick?
Samuel de Champlain, to find out what he thought about what he was founding on the banks of the St. Lawrence. Julius Caesar, to get some insight into a time that feels so distant from us – but also relatable. And Ian Fleming, because I think he’d have some good stories to tell.

What's the last good book you read?
The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman. I can’t believe it took me this long to read it, but it is definitely a great book.

If your best friend let you pick anywhere in town to go eat, what would you choose?
Some place with a good poutine.

What's your favorite sport to play? To attend live? To watch on TV?
Hockey. I live in Ottawa so I see a lot of Ottawa Senators games, but I’m a Montreal Canadiens fan at heart. I never learned to skate very well, so I didn’t play a lot of it when I was younger – on ice at least. I’d like to get back into ball hockey in the future.

By: Brant

No comments: