Walter Müller's Spielewerkstatt

Walter Müller has played many roles in the world of board games - he has been a player, a publisher, a game store owner, an organizer of tournaments, and a teacher of games. But his first role was that of a game designer. He invented StratoFootball at the young age of 15 as World Cup fever swept through his small town of Kempten, Germany in 1974. It was raining outside so instead, he drew a soccer pitch on a piece of paper, made soccer teams out of his father's chess set, added a 10-cent piece for the soccer ball, and began rolling a die to move the little men about.

On that first day in 1974, Walter didn't how deep the tactics and strategy were within his simple game. It was something he and his friends discovered over many years as they crafted their own handmade copies. Before long, a tournament formed among the youth of Kempten, one that continues to this day, and they soon found that those who wanted to reach the championship round needed more than luck on their side.

Strategies developed and, after a decade of play, Walter decided to launch Spielewerkstatt in 1984 to publish the game in its original German. Other games followed, including multiple Spielewerkstatt titles that were nominated for the prestigious Spieles Des Jahres award. A 34-page StratoFootball Tactics booklet was published in 2003, outlining all that Walter had learned in his 30 years of playing the game. An English edition of StratoFootball was launched in 2005 and I'm proud to introduce the game to English-speaking audiences here on Famous Games Co.