Barrakuda's story by Isaac Pante
Barrakuda is available. We asked it's creator : Isaac Pante, to tell us more!
## Can you introduce yourself and your background in game publishing?
I'm a writer and a lecturer in the Language and Information Sciences section, a department of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Lausanne where we teach our students to combine computer science and human sciences.
Even though I've been inventing game systems for a very long time, I'm not a big board game expert. My experience in game design comes rather from video games and role-playing games. As a game master on the same game since 1996, I was led to imagine a lot of ways to transpose narrative elements into game mechanics.
Since 2016, I also take a cultural and scientific look at the games. Co-founder of the gamelab UNIL-EPFL - a study and research group on video games - I now teach video game development, generative art and virtual reality with a research-creation approach. At the moment, I'm particularly interested in interactive fiction and especially books in which you are the hero.
## Where did the idea of the game come from?
From a love at first sight for a video game. At the beginning (more than ten years ago), I was trying to transcribe on the table the sensations of the very first Halo, a futuristic FPS (first person shooter). I've always had an interest in this genre: I like the immersive nature of the first person view and the adrenaline of fast-paced battles.
Halo renewed the genre with vast spaces and an innovative life recovery mechanic. Unlike most of its predecessors that rely on health packs (like Doom), Halo proposed to regenerate by taking cover for a few moments. These two mechanics had the merit of reinforcing a fundamental dimension to this type of game: placement.
We often think that, in FPS, reflexes and available equipment make all the difference. In reality, in order to win, you have to meet your opponents when you have the advantage and avoid them when you are too weak. You have to quickly adapt your decisions according to the movements of others. That's where most of the mechanics of Barracuda come from.
## How did the meeting and development with Helvetiq go?
After sending a prototype to Helvetiq, I was contacted by Chloé Girodon, then editor. We met in Lausanne. After a few games, she showed a strong interest in the dynamism of the game and invited me to intensify the interaction part. So I went back to the drawing board and met several game designers and friends (Sébastien Pauchon, David Javet and Sandro Dall'Aglio in particular).
Once satisfied, I had another meeting with Chloé and Hadi. As soon as the contract was signed, everything went very quickly: the mechanics remained the same. My exchanges with Ludovic Papais, the new editor of the game, were mainly about the theme and the design.
## Who is the game for?
People who like simple rules, fast games, bluffing and a good balance between chance and strategy. It's also for people who tend to get bored of the same game: with its different game modes (all against all or team), its two sets of fields that can be combined and the possibility to configure them differently for each game, you won't be able to get enough of it!
## Can you explain the principle in a few words?
In order to win, you must bring back 8 gold coins in the holds of your ship. Each turn, you'll have to choose between stealing from your opponents, trying to take control of the barracuda to attack them, or moving to collect gold coins and the cards you've played. Yes, a played card is not automatically taken back! So you'll constantly have to choose between getting rich and staying free to steal from your opponents at the right moment and win.
## A word to the future players?
Be ruthless, be deceitful and above all, make the game your own! Barrakuda is highly modular. You like randomness and a lot of confrontation? Create a very tight playing field. You prefer more strategy? Spread the cards around more. And if you have a favorite configuration, share it on http://isaacpante.net/barrakuda.