The growth of Wild Strawberries

Almost two years ago, the Italian gaming forum Gente Che Gioca hosted a game design contest, inspired to Game Chef. We had previously participated to contests with dubious results – but this time, the rules of this specific contest were just what we could work with.

The name of the contest was 5×25 ingredients, for a game that had to fit on 2 A4 pages.

The ingredients were:

  • War
  • Melancholy
  • Fruit
  • Flashback
  • Hope

We skirted around the War theme, and bent the Fruit theme out of its permissible limits, just because through the list I could not stop seeing the title of Wild Strawberries. Luca, as usual, quickly picked up on my suggestion and got a hold of the movie, watching it repeatedly. The deadline for the contest was already upon us and I had majorly screwed up my scheduling, so Luca had to take upon himself the brunt of the work, squeezing in a bit of playtesting and delivering just in time.

Then the contest faded into oblivion for months.

Eventually, Iacopo Frigerio of Coyote Press (author of RavenDeath) took charge of the orphaned contest and started a meticulous process of testing andreview of the submitted games. His enthusiastic feedback gave us new strength, leading us to harbor the idea of publishing one day an English version of the game.

The idea sat in our minds for a while, until Matthijs Holter came along. At the time, he was still in charge of Playground Magazine, and was looking for a short game to publish in number 4. He knew we had written Dreams of a Flying Lady (which was designed to be a lovely game about gender relationships, but ultimately didn’t work), so when he contacted us we proposed Wild Strawberries instead. That was the push we needed to finally translate the game. It was also time to have some editing done.

I’d been sitting quite smugly on the translation, when Jason Morningstar whipped out his editorial hat and kicked the text into shape. (You’d be surprised at how many times you can go wrong in just a few thousand words.) After much gnashing of teeth and night-time revisions, we finally managed to send Matthjis a readable version of the game – and along the way, to make PDF, ePub and mobi versions.

Wild Strawberries is now out in Playground Magazine #4 – and finally available for download from this site.

We hope you enjoy the game.