Bergnein Is The Ultimate Stefon Club And Now You Can Play The Game
By Bill McCool
If you’ve ever found yourself refused by the doorman of an ultra-swank club, you might start wondering where it all went wrong. Was it my hair? Is it the durian-like notes in my body spray? Is it these cargo pants made out of Furbies? Why am I wearing cargo pants?
Well, Bergnein might be the game for you. Now, you can finally wield the power of the bouncer’s rope as you get to be the doorman of Germany’s most notorious club and select the right mix of partygoers to let through the door while also sabotaging your fellow doormen. The game is modeled after the debaucherous techno club Berghain - Berlin’s hottest nightclub and the place that really does have everything (think every club Stefon mentioned on SNL, rolled into one).
Dreamed up by designer Joakim Bergkvist and Ninja Print’s Alexander Kandiloros, they wanted to create something that would cater to both gamers and hardcore techno lovers who may have never played a card game in their life.
“The theme of the game makes for a pretty slim target audience,” Joakim jokes “I let my experiences of Berghain and club culture permeate the design and tried to balance the humor and silliness of a game with clean design inspired by everything clubby and techno.”
“The idea came about because both Alexander and I have a mutual love for techno and alternative electronic music,” Joakim says, “but there is also a big portion of self-perspective and humor on our part. It is a satirical tribute to the church of techno.”
The gameplay was designed by Alexander. “He’s a big fan of the classic card game Guillotine and had been looking for a fitting theme to do something similar but new for a few years. Of course, it’s inspired by the notoriously long line in front of Berghain and their infamously stern and ambiguous door policy.”
Bergnein is loaded with intricate details that pay homage to the techno temple. “Neither the design nor content is strictly adherent to the Berghain theme but the main thing, of course, was the old power station in which the club resides. This huge concrete building is both monumental and in a way ornate yet very raw and pragmatic. Apart from the illustration decorating the top lid I wanted to use a material that gave a raw impression, hence the kraft paper. I let the industrial feel of the place combined with techno references inspire typography, graphics and the die-cut corners of the cards. The smaller card boxes inside are black and matt laminated and even though it’s not very obvious that choice is based on the leather and sort of PVC-coated fabric on the ’furniture’ in certain areas of the club. The inside of the top lid is decorated with illustrations of the amazing Funktion-One speakers on the Berghain floor and a Cub wearing a leather harness dancing on the podium in between them.”
“If you’ve been there, you'll recognize it,” he adds.
The game, however, was almost never released. After a successful Kickstarter campaign where their goal had been reached, magical bouncers that they are, Berghain had them removed from the crowdfunding platform. “Berghain had the campaign shut down,” Joakim says, “and then tried to stop the project in several other ways until Alexander said ‘Fuck it’ and decided to push on with production and pre-orders. So one and a half year after we started, I was finally faced with the mission to take the design all the way to production.” Joakim and Alexander quickly changed the name of the game to Bergnein and the rest was gaming history.
While we have yet to get our grubby hands on this immensely playable game, a few words of advice - steer clear of cargo pants and Furbies.
Bill McCool is a freelance writer based out of Los Angeles. Though new to the world of design, he has always been a storyteller by trade and he seeks to inspire and cultivate a sense of awe with the work and artists he profiles. When he's not winning over his daughters with the art of the Dad joke, he is usually working on a pilot, watching the Phillies, or cooking an elaborate meal for his wife.