Author Topic: Florent Toscano (Migrato) interview in English  (Read 19231 times)

Jimmy V.

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Florent Toscano is both the publisher and the game designer of Migrato. He runs Jeux Opla a company that specializes in eco-friendly modern board games. All his games are 100% made in France. Here is a short interview:
What made you swap your career as a researcher in biology for a job as a game publisher with an eco-friendly ethos? They are very different jobs, right?
Yes and no ! Publishing games is not so far from being a scientist. Like research it is a hard and long process. Moreover the themes of our games lead us to work with science experts too (in nature, research, ecology…). We make sure the figure in our games come from reality.
I switched from my previous job to the new one out of pure caprice. Although being a researcher is hard, complicated and time-consuming, I actually loved it too. But over the years, I had got more and more involved in the board game world (particularly with Chamboultou, an association I founded) so the transition was natural.
With 9 new games, you have been very active since you published your firt game in late 2011. We were particularly impressed by your collaborations with renown film-maker Luc Jacquet. How is "Jeux Opla" doing?
I’m not the designer of all games published by my company Jeux Opla! (Pollen and Le Bois des Couadsous are not my games for instance). As far as collaborations are concerned, like the one with Luc Jacquet and his team, I don’t know the recipe really. It all comes naturally. We got on very well and found mutual interests. His expertise is in cinema, image and art. Mine is in games. The two projects with him (Il était une forêt et La Glace et le Ciel) were extremely rewarding for me. But it was actually very rewarding too when I worked with La Salamandre (Pollen, Migrato), LPO (Migrato), Arthropologia (Pollen), or even for our comics line of games with the writers of Lincoln!
We are sure that being "eco-friendly" is not an option for you but would you say that the "eco-friendly" label is a great asset in terms of business or more like a burden?
Both my friend ! Produce locally and cleanly has a cost. And it shows on our margins ! Our games are at the same price as any other game of the same category. So for this side of things, it is a burden. However, on the plus side, we get distributed in networks that other games don’t have have access to.
Of course, birds, trees, bees are not gamers’ preferred subjects. So we need to show our games around a lot to demonstrate their quality.
It is easy to label our games “educational games” which they are not at all. They are first and foremost games.
So we have to fight against that.  We don’t want to make games because they sell but because we love them, so we have to deal with it…

We have often seen you playing Migrato on Happy Meeple lately. It must be a very special experience for you as a designer. How do you live it?
I am a big fan now, clearly addicated. I have never played on Happy Meeple before (shame on me!). I usually don’t play online.
On Happy Meeple, the ranking system makes it so addictive !
Also, I noted that although the rules are exactly the same as for the real game, I don’t see the game in the same way. I plan differently and think differently.
In short I love it!
Reiner Stockhausen, the designer of Siberia the card game, told us that he had rediscovered his game on Happy Meeple, finding new strategies that he had not thought of during the game design process. He was also positively impressed by the bots. How do you relate to this?
I totally relate to it as I said above.
As far as the bots are concerned, they not only impressed, they also managed to make me angry. How could these lines of codes dare to beat me ?
Florent, thanks for accepting this interview! Long live Jeux Opla! Anything you want to add?
Thanks to you and your huge work! It is really cool!

« Last Edit: 01/03/16, 02:49pm by Happy Meeple »