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Interview with Alex Montgomery of Dyad Games: designers of Kamakura

Ian Noble
United States
El Dorado Hills
California
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Board/card game projects on Kickstarter seem to be all the rage these days. Not that I'm complaining! The more games to get published the better, in my book. But because of this, I find myself needing to browse the Board and Card Game section on Kickstarter.com rather frequently, looking for something that might catch my attention. Kamakura was one that fit into that category. I'll let the guys over at Dyad Games describe the game for you:

Kamakura is a card game of feudal Japanese warfare in which you attempt to defeat an opponent by taking their territories before they take yours. This is done by carefully choosing combinations of weapons, soldiers, and arrow barrages to attack with while defending your own territories with a myriad of defensive techniques. Strategy, deception, and bravery will be your most valuable assets in the complex and varied game of Kamakura.

Since this was Dyad Games first venture into the analog gaming realm, I thought it might be nice to find out a little bit more about who they are and how they ended up creating a card game. Alex Montgomery was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions.

And after you're done reading this, check out the Kickstarter project and reserve yourself a copy of Kamakura today!



Kamakura has been progressing nicely on Kickstarter.com since you announced it. For the people who haven’t been following the progression and might not know what it’s all about, tell us a little about the game and how it came to fruition.

Well it started out as an Idea Orie Rush had that he initially shared with me and Lee. We used a regular deck of cards and we were laughing like little school girls when we started countering attacks and sending barrages back. We started to really refine the rules at this point. We always have projects we want to pursue, but this came up and we decided to give it a go. Through determination and 3-4 months of hard work we are now well on our way through Kickstarter.

The Japanese theme is persistent throughout all aspects of the game. Can you explain how challenging it was to come up with a theme for a game that is essentially just a deck of cards?

The initial Ninja, Samurai and Geisha weren’t too hard to work around because they are the most recognized in Japanese culture. We did end up doing research for the different clans and their symbols as well as how Japanese culture views unique weapons such as the Yumi and the Katana. We’ve been looking into expanding the game and it’s taking several iterations to find out the perfect balance and notability.

The artwork is really well done and very professional looking for such a small game company. Has that been a major focus when working on the game?

Thanks, the artwork for the cards was done by Orie Rush and layouts by Lee McIntosh, both apart of Dyad Games. These guys are amazing when it comes to artwork and they realized the potential for the card art and went at it. It’s definitely a nice touch to Kamakura and I don’t think we overlooked gameplay or game mechanics to have aesthetically pleasing cards.

What are some games that you think influenced the design of Kamakura? Also, what are some of your favorite board games to play?

As far as the Kamakura mechanics go, we were inspired by Settlers of Catan & Munchkin with minor influences towards Hero-Scape and D&D. Another key mechanic was card management where traditional card games like Euchre and 5 Crowns played a role. Some of our favorite games are Risk, Poker and BattleShip.



You guys went as far as creating a 10+ minute How to Play video for Kamakura. Talk about why you wanted to spend the time showing people how to play your game, rather than just giving them the rulebook?

The video was created by myself and voiced by Orie. We decided to make a video slightly on impulse, but with good intentions. A lot of times rules can be misinterpreted (ie. Munchkin, Yu-gi-oh), so we made a motion graphic video that explains the rules firmly and hypes up people to play. It took longer than I expected but I'm fairly happy with the outcome.

What’s the plan for the next month and then after the game (hopefully) gets fully funded on Kickstarter?

As far as the game-plan goes for Kamakara, we’ll be ordering high quality decks, printing off posters and ordering wooden felt cases. All the materials are shipping to our door, so we’ve got some work ahead of us. We’ll be keeping backers up to date every step of the way. We’re also a creative group so we’ve got our other projects like the band we’re in together ODDEPOXY. We’ll be writing some music this summer and we’re also headed towards some game development you can see on our blog.

Do you envision Dyad Games developing more board games in the future?

We really hope to release an expansion to Kamakura once it takes off that will really stir up the mechanics and make an exciting game that much better. We don’t have any plans to create a new board/card game at this point but you never know what the future holds!

Thanks for the Interview!




Kamakura has the makings of been another success story on Kickstarter. Thank you for taking time to talk about it and best of luck getting the game funded! Stay tuned for more information on Kamakura as we get closer to the final funding date.


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