Urs Hostettler

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Urs Hostettler in May 2007

Urs Hostettler (born August 14, 1949 in Bern ) is a Swiss game inventor , author and songwriter. He studied mathematics, is married to a psychologist and has two sons. The family lives in Bern.

Cooperative and shop

In the 1980s, a group around Urs Hostettler organized regular game evenings at which unconventional board games were played and, occasionally, self-developed prototypes of new games were tested. In 1982, Hostettler and other members of this group founded the cooperative “Fata Morgana” (distribution of games and songwriter records) and later the “DracheNäscht”, a shop for games and kites in the old town of Bern.


The real Walter : satire of the fishing scandal
Schraumen on the shortlist for " Game of the Year "

Together with the cabaret artist Joachim Rittmeyer he created the electoral game , Schick bag and the Kremlin , the latter on the 1987 shortlist for " Game of the Year appeared."

Schicksack is a board game from 1983 for three to six players, ages 12+. The game lasts about 90 minutes. The name is derived from Schick sal and blind alley. The game board and the cards were also sold in a cloth sack. The game is about the fateful twists and turns in the life of the players. These make their way from birth to enlightenment while you are drawing on the board. The reactions during the life path are given on cards. These random reactions must be justified by the individual players. A jury (the other players) then decides whether the reason was good or bad. The production of this game has been discontinued and is out of stock at Fata Morgana.

The choice game from 1983 is a board game that parodies the elections in Switzerland. There are various cards of politicians with specific political goals. The players now form a random party with these cards and can then send two politicians of their choice into the race for cantonal council seats , later for national council seats and finally for a seat in the federal council (a total of three game rounds). There are events and voters as cards that players can buy on certain fields or put into play. Voters give their votes (gaming chips) primarily to politicians with specific goals. Events can have a positive or negative effect on the candidate electorate. The candidates who won the most votes in the end won.

Veto is a playbook from 1986 which deals with parenting behavior in bringing up. The child’s development stages from birth to adulthood are indicated on the pages. The game is played in pairs. One of them reads out the individual sentences on the side. For example, “You feed the child. - You change the child. - You tell him fairy tales. -… ”The other player may call out“ Veto ”for each sentence if he does not agree with the statement. Under each sentence there is a reference to another page to which the other player must now turn. There is the side of the development stage that would be expected from the consequence of the veto. For example, if a veto was thrown in for “You tell him fairy tales”, the player will educate the child to be realistic. At the end of the game, through his chain of vetoes and tolerances, the other player has taught the child one of 100 different fates, which range from “You will never hear from your child again” to “Will be a popular Federal President”.

1986 Kremlin (English version "Kremlin" , published by Avalon Hill , winner of an " Origins Award " in 1988) is a parody of Soviet politics. This parlor game cannot be classified in the classic sense in the common types of games, as it lacks both a game board and playing cards in the traditional sense. The players play the role of gray eminences who stand behind candidates who fight for ministerial posts up to the office of head of state and party leader. If a player influences the game more than necessary, he reveals his "relationships" and makes himself vulnerable. Kremlin is a curiosity insofar as one can maintain the best chances of winning through extensive passivity and inconspicuousness. The course of the game always takes surprising turns.

The card game Such a thing , published in 1989, was on the shortlist for the “Game of the Year” in 1989 and in 1990 took 3rd place in the German game award . The cards each have an attribute of any “thing” (e.g. “swims”). The goal is now to lay down as many cards as possible and still find “such a thing”, which fulfills all attributes and also actually exists or could exist. The way of playing the "chain" (putting many cards together and possibly doubting them) can also be found in the game Anno Domini . This game can therefore be called the forerunner of Anno Domini .

The real Walter from 1991 is a parody of the Swiss fishing scandal . The game is about finding suitable substitute words on index cards with statements with one or two censored words. Instead of the original word “WALTER” is written in white on black in the sentence. One player is in the role of the "Sphinx", who writes down what would suit her personally in the blackened areas. These statements by the Sphinx are called "true Walter". The other players try to falsify the answers and write down what they think is the most appropriate answer from the Sphinx. The Sphinx then reads out all the statements, and the players now have to find out which statements are correct.

Tichu from 1991 is a card game, which is said to be alocal variant of the climbing games family, which is particularly widespread in East Asian countries, playedin the Nanjing area ( China ). The playing cards havebeen redesignedsimilar to Cosmic Eidex and now give the game its own flair.

Also Schraumen (1992, in Germany Schraumeln ) was on the shortlist for "Game of the Year". It is a card game in which the rules of the game are established by scrolls (cards). It is played for chips ( plums ). Each player has several rounds to play his favorite rules and auction more scrolls. The winner is the player who can call the most plums his own.

Die ZeitReise (1993) is a game distributed by Fata Morgana and developed by Prof. Dr. Werner Meyer and lic. phil. Christoph Döbeli was invented. It is an educational game for history and consists of different cardboard boxes that represent time periods and some playing cards that represent historical topics, sources, time machines, etc. Three cards are stowed at random in three cardboard boxes. The player or team of players now travel to the individual epochs with a time machine (certain playing cards) and can browse for sources and topics there. Only one box can be visited and one action can be carried out in a game. The cards are rearranged in the individual boxes by the players. The winner is the player or team that is the first to manage a complete series of themes with cards including their time machine in an era.

Cosmic Eidex was created in 1998 and is a modification or expansion of the Jass game with additional special rules that are drawn before the start of the game. There are several combinations of special rules.

Anno Domini is a card game from 1998. On the cards a historical event is written on one side and the exact historical time of this event on the other side. The aim is now to sort the events chronologically correctly in a chain. A teammate can always doubt a chain; then the correctness must be checked. If the chain is not chronologically correct, the last one to sort a card has to pick up penalty cards. If, however, the order is correct, the doubter must take penalty cards. The first player to run out of cards wins.

How I see the world is a card game from 2004, which is a modification of the game The True Walter . A player reads a card that has a word or two omitted. Instead of free answers, the most suitable one must now be selected from a selection of answer cards that a player holds in his hand. These reply cards are dealt face down and shuffled; now the player who has read the statement chooses the most suitable one for him. The person who placed the chosen card scores one point and reads the next statement.

Other games from Hostettler are:

  • Hotellife (1990)
  • Millions of Swallows (2006: World Cup game)

Crime games

Since 1993, Urs Hostettler has been organizing crime games (“Mystery Weekends”) together with the Fata Morgana team . This form of culture contains elements from theater , crime fiction , logical puzzles , satire and improvisation .

Urs Hostettler as "Thuringia von Tribolet" in The big upswing 2007


In 1972 Urs Hostettler performed songs from Bern at the 1st Folk Festival on the Lenzburg . In 1973 he formed a trio with the guitarist Martin Diem and the violinist Luc Mentha, which gave concerts of old ballads and folk music and recorded two albums. In 1978 the group disbanded and Urs Hostettler founded the Gallis Erbe group (the heirs of the Emmental farmer's leader Ueli Galli ) as a follow-up project .

Galli's legacy consists of the following musicians:

  • Christophe Girardin (violin, flute)
  • Sepp Reinhardt (guitar)
  • Märk Würmli (bass)
  • Katharina Siegenthaler Hostettler (harp, mandolin)
  • Urs Hostettler (vocals, neck zither, guitar)
  • Ursula Morell (vocals)

In 1979 Urs Hostettler published the songbook Anderi Lieder with 120 rather unusual Swiss folk songs and explanations of the historical background.


  • 1975 FOLK (3 lps, CBS LSP 13096)
  • 1976 HOSTETTLER / DIEM / MENTHA (Image U-764-002)
  • 1977 SONGS & DANCE US DR SCHWYZ (Image U-775-006)
  • 1980 GALLIS ERBE ( Zytglogge 229)
  • 1994 Double CD ANDERI LIEDER (Fata Morgana)


In 1991, after twelve years of research, Hostettler published a work on the Swiss Peasants' War of 1653 with the title Der Rebell vom Eggiwil . This reportage-style story focuses on the person of Ueli Galli and was published by Zytglogge Verlag Gümligen. For this, the author received the City of Bern Book Prize in 1992.


  • 1983 Recognition Prize for Music in the Canton of Bern
  • 1986 year of work in literature in the city and canton of Bern
  • 1992 Book Prize of the City of Bern
  • 1998 Burgdorfer Bund Crime Prize (with Fata Morgana Team)

Game prices

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Entry by authors in Switzerland , as of November 11, 2007
  2. Tellspiele Interlaken