One of the creators behind the Berghain card game explains his love of techno and why his project is on the right side of the law.
Back in October, we told you about an exciting new card game called Berghain ze Game. The game puts people in the role of the Berghain door staff. Using colorfully designed cards, players choose who to let in and who to keep out of the notoriously exclusive techno club. At the time, we thought it was a publicity stunt or joke, but as we’ve since learned, it’s a real project, with a real Kickstarter. We caught up with co-creator Alexander Kandiloros to talk about European copyright law and techno.
Why did you come up with the idea?
Joakim (Bergkvist, the designer) and I both like techno, gay culture and board games. We were joking about making a poster of gay animal stereotypes like bears, cubs, wolfs and otters, but then it turned into a game instead. Visitors always ask our Berlin friends, “How do I get into Berghain” because of the club’s notorious reputation. Everyone has their own theory of what it takes to get in, so we thought it would be fun to play with that idea.
How do you feel Berghain will react to your card game?
Well, they actually got in touch pretty early. They didn’t sound very excited to say the least. We talked legalities for a bit, and I explained why we weren’t doing anything illegal, and that was that. I’m hoping they don’t care about a silly card game enough to make a big deal about this—that they’re above that.
Isn’t it copyright infringement?
They trademarked the name in the club category in Germany. We’ve trademarked the game in the game category in Sweden, where we’re based. Trademarking is done by category. You can start a club called Apple, but not a phone store.
Are there are any issues with using a likeness to sell a product? In the USA, for instance, anything “Mc” is sued immediately by McDonalds as it’s seen as using the McDonalds brand to sell a product.
We are of the understanding that we are on the right side of the law here.
If you were a bouncer at Berghain, who would you let in?
Well, from what research we’ve done, they seem to honestly want a good mix of people: People that don’t judge and that aren’t there as tourists. People that want to let go of their inhibitions and not feel watched. And I think that’s pretty great. So, if I got to decide, I’d do my best to honor that.
What’s your advice for people who get turned away?
Well, I have several friends who’ve been turned away, but who then got back in line again and were let in the second time around. So if you really want in, it’s worth a shot! And if you’re more than three, split up.
Is there anything else you want to tell our readers about the game? About Berghain? About clubbing?
Only that it’s such a great era for techno clubs right now, and that I fucking love it. I was at the one year anniversary of a ramen place opening this past weekend, and they celebrated it with an amazing warehouse party. How wonderful is that?
Oh, that sounds cool! Was that in Berlin?
No, in tiny little Gothenburg where we live. Two years ago the clubs were crap. Too much psytrance and people on speed. Now, there’s a great club almost every weekend somewhere. Long live the techno renaissance! And I think we have Berghain to thank for that. It’s such an inspiration all over the world. And man do Swedes love Berlin.