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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > September 2019 (#34) > Give it a Wehrle

Give it a Wehrle

The mighty woodland war of Root thrust designer Cole Wehrle into the spotlight. Now, with the help of his brother, he’s bringing back his stunning debut, Pax Pamir

Cole Wehrle never wanted to be a game designer.

“It’s strange; I feel like in this industry it’s common to find people who were designing from a really young age and wanting to find ways into the industry – and I was not, I’m not in that camp”, he says. “I was tinkering with designs and playing with variants for a long time, but I had no aspiration to do design semiprofessionally or professionally.”

It was a chance encounter in his local games shop with the games of Phil Eklund, the cult auteur-designer known for his in-depth and occasionally provocative approach to scientific and historical themes, that opened Wehrle’s eyes to the greater possibilities of games.

“I didn’t realise that a game could be about something more than, y’know, running some power plants or extracting some resources or trading cloth or something”, he says. “When you look at early Steve Jackson games, everything’s very rudimentary. Phil has that some sort of aesthetic, but behind it there was a real seriousness about the form. Which I found really appealing.”

Away from the table, Wehrle honed his skill as a graphic designer by redrawing some of Eklund’s older games. After showing the designer his work, Eklund invited him to become a playtester on his next game, Greenland. Halfway through the process, the veteran creator asked his protégé if he had any ideas for games of his own. Wehrle responded that he felt that the 19th century affair known as the Great Game – during which Britain and Russia competed for influence in Afghanistan and central Asia – would make an interesting game, but wasn’t sure how to tackle the subject. Eklund suggested creating a new instalment in his Pax series of complex historically-rooted games, casting players as local leaders of Afghan tribes looking to side with the British or Russian ferengi.

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About Tabletop Gaming

Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North: The civilisation card game is sailing to exciting new shores. Designer Ignacy Trzewiczek tells us more about his plans for the Imperial Settlers universe and we give our definitive verdict on Empires of the North. Pax Pamir: Root creator Cole Wehrle is bringing back his stunning debut game, a tense battle of alliance and betrayal in 19th-century Afghanistan. He tells us about following up his smash-hit game of woodland warfare and teaming up with his brother – plus, we review the new second edition! How We Made: Small World: Philippe Keyaerts’ fantasy board game sees players fight for a bigger space in its zany universe. The designer talks about Small World’s origins in historical title Vinci and why its world continues to grow. Class Struggle: Meet Monopoly’s forgotten socialist sibling. Title Bout: As the eighties boxing sim returns to the ring, Jim Trunzo looks back on the highs, lows and personal tragedy of the game’s decades-long journey. Oceans: The Evolution series dives into the blue with its next fully-fledged game. Dominic Crapuchettes reveals the mysteries of the Deep – and why lobsters don’t age. SLA Industries: Ahead of the RPG’s long-awaited return to the tabletop, its creators tell us about drawing inspiration from the goth scene of nineties Scotland, the trouble of reviving the cyberpunk universe and its future. Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship: We follow British hopeful Jake Quinsee as he competes against the world’s best for the top title in the trading card game. Reviews: Pathfinder: Second Edition Copenhagen Century: A New World Warhammer: Age of Sigmar – Warcry Letter Jam Cyberpunk Red Jaws Shōbu Doppelt so Clever Welcome to Dino World + many more!