A chat with Pedro Gil, author of Spanish retroclone RPG "Aventuras En La Marca Del Este"
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This interview is by Ciro Alessandro Sacco. Aventuras En La Marca Del Este is Spanish in origin, has been translated into Italian, an English edition is in the works and it makes a great job in recapturing the Frank Mentzer's D&D feel.
In the last years the retrogaming phenomenon has really boomed with a lot of games published (usually by fans but there are some professionally produced titles too). Usually such games have been produced in English speaking countries, mainly the US, but there is some ‘movement’ in other countries too. In Spain for example the publisher Holocubierta Ediciones has published Aventuras En La Marca del Este, a retro clone of the Classic Dungeons & Dragons (Frank Mentzer version) which is perhaps the most beautifully produced retro clone I have ever seen: boxed, it has a beautiful manual, a GM Screen, a pencil and a dice set. The rules of Aventuras En La Marca del Este are what you could expect while the setting is entirely original. Besides the first box, it’s red as a clear reference to the Classic D&D Red Box, followed by a Blue Box (with is entirely devoted to the setting) and a Green One (that introduces a lot of optional rules) plus various adventures. Aventuras En La Marca del Este has been translated into Italian too and it got quite a good success. I have interviewed Pedro Gil, the designer of Aventuras En La Marca del Este.
Hello Pedro, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview! First of all let us know something about you – age, job, education, hobbies besides gaming…
Well, I am 40 years old, actually live and work in Lorca (Murcia). I run a tannery factory, a family business three generations old. I really love classic literature, movies and military history.
How did you discover RPGs?
Well, I discovered RPGs when I was studying in an Irish high school, where I was sent to complete my education back in 1989. I first played D&D, Mentzer edition, the first red box...
What is you preferred RPG (besides I guess Aventuras En La Marca del Este…)?
Well, D&D... Call of Cthulhu and Traveller.
How is the Spanish RPG scene? Is there much interest in retro games and in games collecting? I know that the Spanish edition of Classic D&D Set 1 – Basic Rules is highly sought for by collectors, in Spain and outside Spain…
Well, I think nowadays the RPG scene in Spain is in good shape, there a few but well established companies that are publishing original material as well as licenses of well known foreign games. In my opinion, there was no really interest in retro games until Aventuras en la Marca del Este came out. Well, actually, there was a game, a retro game, previously published, even before Aventuras en la Marca del Este, published for free by Trasgotauro. It was a retro clone of AD&D. I can not recall any other retro game in Spain, besides these two. Now, there're a few others and an increasing interest in these classic systems, many people trying now to rediscover the roots of the hobby, particularly D&D, as the truly origin of this entertainment.
Did you ever read other retro clones such as the famous Labyrinth Lord, Dark Dungeons and retro games such as Dungeon Crawl Classics? What do you think of them?
Yes, I happen to have a copy of each of those games you mention, and dozens more similar, like Lamentations of the Flame Princess or Astonishing Swordmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. What is more, our last box for Aventuras en la Marca del Este, the green box or advanced rules, is heavily inspired by Dark Dungeons, which is really a conversion of the Rules Cyclopedia, which I think is one of the best product this industry ever published.
Why did you decide to create Aventuras En La Marca del Este? What was your purpose in designing it?
Well, as you said before, the Spanish edition of the classic D&D red box designed by Frank Mentzer, which was indeed the first RPG to be printed and distributed in Spain (it was published by Dalmau Carles Pla), is almost impossible to get today, because few copies where printed back in the eighties. So we decided to emulate it and bring back this classic product so everybody could get it at a reasonable price.
Is Aventuras En La Marca del Este successful in terms of sales and popularity? I noticed that the game has already three boxes (Red, Blue and Green, I guess that the colours are a clear reference to Classic D&D…), a pocket edition of the Red Box Rules and various adventures.
Well, the game is actually well positioned in Spain, with many followers.
Holocubierta Ediciones did a truly great, great work on the game. It really stand among other retro games and retro clones for its graphic presentation, its boxed format and the high quality artwork. Was Holocubierta formed to publish Aventuras En La Marca del Este? Is the game sold in game and toy stores too or just hobby and comic shops?
No, Holocubierta was a independent publisher. The game is mainly sold in hobby and comic shops.
Aventuras En La Marca del Este has been translated into Italian and it got quite a success. Are there any other ‘foreign’ editions of the game, planned or already published?
Not really planned at the moment...
Thanks for your time!
Thanks to you!!!