More Games Please: Art in Board Games Interviews

Please find excerpts from my blog 'Art in Board Games' where I talk to different board game designers and illustrators about their work. www.moregamesplease.com It's a companion piece to my IG: www.instagram.com/moregamesplease

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Endogenesis: The Art in Kickstarter #4

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This is an excerpt from the interview on More Games Please. Head there now to read the full thing with behind the scenes art, plus more.

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Endogenesis: The Art in Kickstarter #4

Editors note: Welcome to another in my series of interviews looking into Kickstarter projects. Endogenesis (from David Goh) is well into its campaign and currently at over 1200% of its very modest funding goal. Upon seeing the Kickstarter page I couldn't help but be impressed by the production quality of this a first-time project so I'm really happy to find out more. The Kickstarter is live until 7th September so if you are curious I recommend you go take a look.

Hello David, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I'm a freelance art director hailing from Singapore, and I'm 30 this year. I grew up being surrounded by gaming — as a teenager, the medium of choice was video games, from old-school RPGs like Chrono Trigger to thriving new releases then like DotA. But in the last decade or so, I've been slowly steered towards tabletop gaming, primarily due to its social nature. There's just something about sitting down with a group of friends at board game night that video gaming just isn't able to replicate.

As for designing games, I've always wanted to make them since I was 15. Regardless of medium, I believe that games are the next greatest art form, and that's why I'm obsessed with them! I just enjoy taking them apart and studying them, and try to understand how some games can be so engrossing, and others evocative. The idea that games are really just a collection of rules, visual aids and predictable logical outcomes that combine to captivate the human mind with a compelling experience is just mind-blowing, and still is to me.

My first foray into tabletop game design was with a fan-made card game called 'Final Fantasy Boss Battle.' It was created as a birthday present for my wife, made quickly in 2 months as it was intended to be less of a working game and more of a really cool looking gift. We played a couple of games with our friends at board game night, and while the game was clearly unpolished and a little frustrating at times, it was actually fun for a few sessions.

Seeing how I had created something that brought enjoyment to the game night table, I felt inspired to keep creating, if only to make games that my friends would enjoy. And so I did! Over the next 9 years, I'd designed prototypes to bring to the table. Many were pretty much trash, while some had potential. One other project that went beyond the table was 'The Award Winning Game', which I worked on as part of a team of two. While we did bring it to Kickstarter a few years back, a combination of inexperience and logistical difficulties led to the project not succeeding, so we published it via The Game Crafter instead. Having a group of friends to test out game concepts has been such an amazing learning experience, and I'm glad to have such patient friends!



Looking at the present, can you describe your current Kickstarter game to us and what makes it interesting?

Endogenesis is a competitive card game that features free-for-all combat, which means it focuses heavily on direct conflict! What I think makes it interesting is that the gameplay is designed to be highly customizable and interactive. Everyone starts off with the same blank slate, but as the game goes on, you build a customized power set with the Skill cards that you're dealt with. If you like the experience of building a character that starts out weak but incrementally grows until you're a behemoth of cosmic power later in the game, then you'll enjoy Endogenesis!

While the round and turn order are quite structured, what you do during your turn isn't. You're given freedom on how you perform actions, both in their order and frequency. This includes using Skills to attack others, equipping new Skills or leveling up your character with Shards (which are a bit like stat points). With a bit of creativity, you can pull off really powerful combinations of actions, but at the same time, just a bit of miscalculation can cause your plans to fizzle. There's also an element of intrigue, where you can interact with the active player's turn with Reaction Skills, which are hidden, allowing you to set up traps when you know what a rival player is planning.

Because of my background in video games, a lot of inspiration came from that medium. A key point of influence for Endogenesis was from a custom game mode from DotA called DotA LOD, which is the precursor to the Ability Draft mode in DotA 2 now. Each session of the game sees you crafting a character from a random pool of abilities, effectively building your own synergies and combos. My goal was to recreate that experience in the tabletop medium, and Endogenesis was the result of that attempt.



How long have you been working on this game? What made you launch the campaign now?

I've been working on Endogenesis for a little over two years. Like all my previous designs, Endogenesis started out as a prototype I brought to game night, with the intention of creating something my friends would enjoy. However, the response to Endogenesis was much better than usual, so I decided to focus more effort into refining it, eventually bringing it beyond my circle of friends to other board gamers, and later on to blind testers.

I would say that Endogenesis is the culmination of a few concepts I've been wanting to try out with the tabletop medium for a long time. Quite a few prototypes died along the way before I arrived at Endogenesis, and I feel that after a few hundred playtests and 6 major revisions, it's finally ready to be released. I've witnessed a lot over the course of testing the game; the intensity over a very close battle, the excited spark in a player's eye as they execute an elaborate game-winning combo, and their rage at having said combo be completely countered by a well-placed Reaction Skill or Wonder... I'm excited to let gamers around the world try out the game, and see what experiences they encounter as well!



Where did the world and lore of Endogenesis come from and how does that feed into the player experience?

Prior to working on the world and lore of Endogenesis, the gameplay came first. And a key part of the gameplay was the existence of Skills that would come from different categories: Cosmic, Mythic, Entropic, Organic and Mechanic — all of which meant to be very different from each other. This was the first spark that led to the direction we took while building the lore; given how different these categories were, we needed a setting that would serve as a plausible container for all of them. Thus the idea of a universe in which beings explored other planes of reality was born....

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This is an excerpt from the interview on More Games Please. Head there now to read the full thing with behind the scenes art, plus more.
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Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:19 pm
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Josh Emrich: Art in Board Games #42

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Josh Emrich: Art in Board Games #42

This is an excerpt from my interview with Josh Emrich, to read the full thing please head over to More Games Please.

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Editors Note: The following artist caught my eye due to their work on the successful Kickstarter game Campy Creatures and as my site was launching they were one of the very first people I contacted. Late last year I asked you what you considered to be the Best Board Game Art of 2017 and you were impressed enough to vote Campy Creatures into my sites top 10. They've been kind enough to make time to speak to me so I hope you enjoy the below interview and the work of Emrich Office, I really think they're making something special at the moment.

Hi Josh, thanks for joining me! For our readers who aren't aware of your work could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be an artist who made things other people could enjoy. Which is crazy because I grew up in a blue-collar family in the industrial midwest USA. My parents had no artistic background and I had to explain to them what makes good art and why I was doing a particular thing. Many artists aren’t great at articulating their ideas, so I credit my parents in helping me develop this skill.

When I went to study art at university, I had a hard time picking one thing — I loved it all — but ultimately studied visual communication design because it touches multiple disciplines — graphic design, industrial design, illustration, etc — with a commercial or strategic purpose. I have since worked as a creative director, designer and illustrator at brand design agencies, eventually becoming a founding partner at a design firm. Eventually, running a firm became a strain on my family, and I got burned out. My wife Katie is also an artist and together, we have four artistic kids. We decided to simplify and make design and illustration the family business. In 2013 we created Emrich Office, a brand design agency that specializes in creating identities and packaging for craft beer and spirit brands. We work from home in a 1000-sq-ft studio filled with vintage action figures and midcentury furniture.

Because we work with a lot of craft breweries, these clients can’t all look the same, so we have had the opportunity to develop and master new art styles with every project. This unique skillset is what brought us to the game industry.



When beginning to work on any new project what are the first few things that you do?

As a movie buff, I like to think about my projects like a film director thinks about a film — the story is the most important thing. If you don’t have an interesting story, you don’t have much to stand on. It’s something I really try to draw out of my clients. The first step is identifying the audience and crafting a unique message that’s engaging. The next step is fleshing out our guiding principles: what world this story takes place in, who are the characters, and what will the experience be? Like a method actor, I have an obsessive personality and will get really immersed in the research — watching any relevant films, reading books, studying history, finding forgotten illustrators, listening to music, etc. Because most of the story is told visually, Pinterest has become a great resource for collecting inspiration and sharing it with my clients.

This creates a foundation of intentional and well-articulated rationale for everything I do. It shows my clients that my creative decisions are focused and not arbitrary, ensuring that I’m delivering something that fulfills their purpose.



Your first board game project was the absolutely gorgeous Campy Creatures. So how did you get involved in that and what do you remember about it all?

Let me start off by saying I’m new to the board game industry. The first things that struck me is that much of the game art (in the industry) shares a similar formula and style. There’s a large emphasis placed on illustration, but often the graphic design is not very well integrated or well executed. Much of it is not very sophisticated. This creates an opportunity for game publishers and artists to break some stereotypes and attract new people who are normally turned off by board games into the fold.

I put a lot of work into research and understanding the project before I dive in. I don’t like presenting tons of options. I think that’s a cop out — like throwing a dart at the wall. I want to have everything worked out before I present anything and nail it on the first go. So I watched tons of the old Universal and Hammer horror films and collected vintage posters in Pinterest. I wanted to honor those films and characters while making Campy Creatures it’s own thing — knowing the exact right points to adhere and deviate.

Keymaster Games, the publisher of Campy Creatures, is run by two graphic designers, Mattox Shuler and Kyle Key, who really understand what it takes to create a game with street cred and still have a broader appeal. They are willing to take risks and invest in production details. They also encouraged me to share my in-progress work on social media to help generate interest in the game, which is a different experience for me. Usually, my clients want me to keep things tight-lipped until the beer is released. It became a little focus group and the reaction was really positive so it gave me a lot of confidence in my approach.

From this experience, I am now hooked on board games and I’ve found a great partner in Keymaster.



You make a good point about board game visuals largely playing it safe. When you talk about taking risks, what stylistic risks did you take with this game?

I guess I don’t see it as taking risks as much as finding ways of differentiating to stand out. Before I started working in board games, I was a brand consultant. Coming from that perspective, it’s a bigger risk to blend in. For Campy Creatures, we could have made it look either very cartoony or like the standard concept art style that pervades the game industry now. Instead, we really embraced the classic horror movie poster vibe, not only with pulpy illustration but also with the type.

Campy Creatures was Keymaster's second game and they really wanted to capture the feeling of classic monster films. Many of the original movie posters from this era were created by commercial artists who could not only illustrate but could also integrate lettering and type. These days, illustrators and designers tend to be more specialized and often work separately under an art director. This can lead to some mixed results where the illustration and type are not working together. In order for Campy Creatures to feel authentic, Keymaster needed an artist who could work like an old-school commercial artist integrating both illustration and type. Mattox had seen some pulpy, b-movie-inspired beer labels that I had designed and illustrated and thought that I could pull it off...

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This is an excerpt from my interview with Josh Emrich, to read the full thing please head over to More Games Please.
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Mon Aug 6, 2018 3:28 pm
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Ryan Laukat: Art in Board Games #41

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This week I interviewed illustrator, designer and co-founder of Red Raven Games, Ryan Laukat. Below is an excerpt of that interview and if you'd like to read the full thing with a ton of great artwork just follow this link RIGHT HERE!

Ryan Laukat: Art in Board Games #41

Hi Ryan, thanks for joining me! For our readers who aren't aware of your work could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hello! I'm a board game designer and illustrator. I've been lucky enough to work in this industry for around ten years. I started as an illustrator and then founded Red Raven Games so that I could publish my own designs. Some of my games include Above and Below, Near and Far, and Eight-Minute Empire. I live with my wife, Malorie, in Salt Lake City, Utah, right up against some beautiful, snowy mountains, and within two miles of where I grew up! We have a daughter and two sons.

Red Raven Games has become synonymous in the industry for combining great art with captivating worlds and stories. When you're creating a game what is your general thought process? Where do you start?

My obsession with creating games started when I began inventing tabletop role-playing games as a teenager. I loved to create worlds to explore and creatures to inhabit them. So naturally, that influences how I approach most of my board game designs today. When creating a game, my motivation is usually to build a world and use the game mechanisms to allow players to explore it and experience it. I think about who the players will get to be in the game, and where they will go, and start there. I think it helps create a more immersive experience.



Last year you successfully kickstarted Empires of the Void 2 the follow up the 2012 original. What can you remember about that time (2012) and what made you want to return to this project?

I'd wanted to revisit the game for many years. I actually made many redesigns of the original game but never published any of them. I wanted another shot at the setting because I felt my skills as an illustrator and game designer had improved. Of course, Empires of the Void was my first published game. I'm proud of what I accomplished, but there certainly were things that I didn't do quite right. The rule book in that first game was not sufficiently clear and left too many things unexplained. The trading did not pan out as well as I had hoped. Some players left the game with a frustrated feeling because of a multiplayer direct conflict problem where two players can gang up against a third, leaving no way to catch up. I wanted to solve these and many other problems, and so I attempted it in Empires of the Void II.

In terms of the illustration, when you worked on Empires of the Void 2, how did you aim to develop the originals aesthetics into this sequel? What have you learned about graphic design and art since the original and how did that impact your choices?

My goal this time around was to create something a little more on the realistic side when compared with, say, Near and Far, and indeed, the original Empires of the Void. I wanted to make a beautiful space map like the original had, and of course many of the of the original aliens and planets, but with an updated vision that I felt would be more immersive. I looked at a lot of hard sci-fi art, especially the covers of books from the 60s and 70s. This meant painting with more subdued tones than usual and experimenting with new brushes.



You are arguably best known for your work on Above and Below and it's sequel, Near and Far. So starting with the original, how did you create this world and was there any inspiration you drew from in developing it?

When creating Above and Below, I actually sketched the cover before I even designed the game. That sketch worked as a compass for me, and I designed the rest of the look and the game mechanics around it. I was trying to pin down the feelings and memories that I had playing Super Nintendo games as a child, and that helped me build the friendly, colorful setting. At the time I was also very interested in making my games look as natural as possible, letting the art easily incorporate symbols or information...

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Thanks for reading the above, if you'd like to read the full interview with a ton of great artwork just follow this link RIGHT HERE!
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Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:08 pm
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Ian O'Toole: Art in Board Games #40

Ross
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Below is an excerpt from the interview with Ian O'Toole on MoreGamesPlease.com, you can read the full interview here.
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Ian O'Toole: Art in Board Games #40


Editors note: This week I'm joined by one of my favorites in the industry and in fact one of the first people I contacted when launching this site. He's been involved in some of the best looking games out there, proven when he grabbed the top 2 places of my Best Board Game Art of 2017 public vote. I hope you enjoy hearing more from the man himself and if you have any questions just drop them in the comments below.

Hello Ian, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I was born in Ireland, where I grew up, received my education and met my wife, Sarah. We moved to Perth in Western Australia a little over a decade ago and have since had two children. I still have not acclimatized to the heat.

I read a lot of comics growing up, and my artistic development was always directed by that. I can’t remember entertaining the idea of doing anything else. When it came time to go to college I decided on Graphic Design because I knew there was a clear career path there, I could leave college and get a job. Fine Art was a little more nebulous, which didn’t entice me at all. I’ve worked as a graphic designer/illustrator for my entire professional life, in a wide variety of roles and industries, including marketing, advertising, packaging design, publication and spatial design.

For the past five years I’ve worked for myself, and board games have grown to occupy almost the entirety of my workload. This allows me to work at home which is ideal for me, giving me flexibility as well as the opportunity to see my kids more during the week.

I’ve always been a gamer to some degree, and played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons when I was a kid, as well as Games Workshop 40K games. I started playing modern board games about 9 years ago, when a friend bought me Catan, and shortly afterwards Dominion. I found a local gaming association and my interest in the hobby exploded from there.

As regards other hobbies, I really have very little time. I read when I can, and play guitar intermittently, but it’s mostly gaming.

So how did you first get involved in making board games?

When I decided to work for myself, I reached out to the community on Boardgamegeek.com in an effort to diversify my client base. At the time I was working mainly in designing exhibit booths for petroleum companies, so I was hoping for something a little more fulfilling to work on. That got a bit of interest, and I ended up working on a few games. Some were very small Kickstarters, like Mage Tower, for which I only created a small part of the artwork, and others were full board games such as Fool’s Gold.

I quickly realised that having skills as both a graphic designer and illustrator set me apart from a lot of others in the industry. Publishers were very happy to hear that I had years of experience working with printers and manufacturers, so I already knew all of the ins and outs of setting up punchboards, box dielines etc.



At some stage early on I wrote to Vital Lacerda, one of my favourite designers, about some of his upcoming games, as I was considering dabbling in publishing at the time. That didn’t work out but he did need artwork created quickly for The Gallerist, and asked if I’d like to take a look at it. The Gallerist ended up being one of the games that most people know me for, so that was really down to luck, and being proactive in trying to create opportunities. It has led to a very fruitful working relationship with Vital, and we are just now completing our fifth game together, Escape Plan.



Another such lucky opportunity was meeting Martin Wallace at PAX Australia, and joining him for a playtest of Ships. During the game we chatted and I told him about some of the work I’d been doing, and he asked if I’d be interested in working on the second edition of A Study in Emerald, to which I quickly said yes!

Working in games professionally also afforded me the opportunity to attend the Spiel in Essen in 2015, which would otherwise have been prohibitively expensive. That was the year that I got to see most of my games for the first time, as coincidence saw a few of them being released there. It was the first time I saw The Gallerist, A Study in Emerald and Fool’s Gold in the flesh, and also got the opportunity to meet a lot of designers and publishers, so that was a big year for me.

Having stepped into the board gaming industry from a different background, what do you think the key differences are in how the work is created?

From the perspective of the work that I produce, the gaming industry allows the rare opportunity for me to create a complete product. For most of the games I work on, everything in the box, and the box itself, is designed by me (apart from the game itself of course!), and that level of ownership is pretty rare. It’s also the perfect industry for my particular blend of skills, which have struggled to find equal footing in other projects. Here, graphic design and illustration are both of very high importance.

Looking more widely at the industry itself, there really are no standards of any sort because it’s so young. Every publisher handles things differently. This can be especially apparent when it comes to discussions about licensing and contracts. It very much feels like it’s driven by passion rather than profit at the moment, and I think there are some growing pains on the horizon as the mean profitability of the industry creeps upwards due to its growth.



What is your creative process when working on a board game? Can you talk us through it?

The first thing I always do is play the game. I’ll make a prototype, or sometimes the publisher will provide one, and I’ll get some people together and play it. During this I’m thinking about how the players interact with the pieces and the board. Is there a more elegant solution? Do we need all of those counters, or can we use a track instead? Is there a clearer way to present the information that will help players learn and play easier?

Then I start sketching ideas for each element, all rough thumbnails on paper. This is time for all of the big ideas. Do we need a board at all? Should the layout be portrait instead?

Depending on the game, there is sometimes a period of research involved at this point. For historical games I’ll look into the style of visual communication that was prevalent at the time, things like fabric patterns, building materials, costumes etc. Lisboa is a good example of this, as the artwork is very much rooted in the time period. Nemo’s War is another example of a game that needed a LOT of research, as I decided to find a reference for all 100+ ships depicted in the game.

After that I start to make....

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This is an excerpt from the interview with Ian O'Toole on MoreGamesPlease.com, you can read the full interview here.
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Mon Jul 2, 2018 1:49 pm
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Christine Alcouffe: Art in Board Games #39

Ross
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Christine Alcouffe: Art in Board Games #39

Editors Note: This week I am joined by the talented Christine Alcouffe, an artist who worked on the gorgeous Paper Tales board games from Catch Up Games. You can read an excerpt of that interview below and the full one with more images on More Games Please

Hi Christine, thanks for joining me! For our readers who aren't aware of your work could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

Hi Ross! Thanks for suggesting that we do this interview. I’m an illustrator in Lyon, France and for those who don’t know, Lyon is a city where people LOVE food. There’s a ludicrous number restaurants. Also there’s an art school, called Émile Cohl, where I graduated in 2010. I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator since then for various clients. I worked on 2D art for video games, a whole bunch of activity books for children (with stickers, coloring pages, games and the like), some school books recently, and also the board game, Paper Tales.




Paper Tales, was your first board game project so how did you get involved and what can you remember about it?


It’s a combination of various factors really. I’ve known Sébastien (who is one half of Catch Up Games) for some time, and a while back I ended up spending an evening with him, Clément (the other half) and my boyfriend Maël playing Vorpals, which is the original Japanese version of Paper Tales.

I really liked the game, and later that night we started talking about how it could be adapted to the French and European markets. I also ended up mentioning how it can be difficult to get work proposals with enough ‘creative wiggle room’ for me to experiment new things or just shake my habits. They must have liked the ideas we’d come up with that night because they contacted me a few days later to see if I could send them some tests for the game.



Read the full interview with a whole heap more images on More Games Please.
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:52 pm
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Fantastic Factories: The Art in Kickstarter #3

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Fantastic Factories: The Art in Kickstarter #3


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This is an excerpt of the interview you can read it in full on MORE GAMES PLEASE.
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Editors note: Fantastic Factories is on Kickstarter until June 29th, 2018. It's already nearly at 500% of its initial funding goal after only the first few days, so if you are curious then go check out the campaign. The interview below is with Joseph Z Chen the designer and Artist on this project (co-designed with Justin Faulkner) who was kind enough to drop by to tell me more about it all.

Hello Joseph, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in Seattle and have lived in this area for my whole life. I've always been a gamer at heart, although not a big tabletop gamer until right after college. During that time I really got into some of the classic gateway games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and 7 Wonders. I had a couple of really competitive roommates and we would play the same games over and over again. Just to give you an idea of how dedicated we were, sometimes we would set up Catan and discuss what the optimal placement of all the starting settlements were for half an hour. Once we agreed, we would reset the board and do it all over again.

Eventually, a group of us decided that we wanted to make a board game, combining the mechanics of some of our favorite games. My particular design took off, and I kept working on it week after week with the help of others. At one point I decided I was tired of staring at blank cards so I started making placeholder art, which turned out pretty good. My only prior experience with art was dabbling in graphic design in high school, but with the help of my wife and other graphic design mentors, I was able to create the art for Fantastic Factories!

Like many game designers, I work as a software engineer for my day job.

So, can you describe your Kickstarter game to us and what makes it interesting?

In Fantastic Factories, players race to build the most efficient set of factories. You must carefully manage your blueprints, train your workers, and manufacture as many goods as possible in order to achieve industrial dominance! It's a dice-placement engine-building game. It's all about trying to find the best combinations of factories and figuring out the puzzle of where and how to place all your workers.

There are a few unique aspects to the game. Much of the game is played with players taking their turns simultaneously, which cuts down heavily on player down time. The game also has a lot of interesting options and different strategies. Often in games with dice, a larger roll is better. However in Fantastic Factories, every roll has its advantage in the right situation so the game is less about depending on hitting certain rolls and more about how you can leverage those rolls to your advantage. A huge feature of the game is the many ways you can manipulate the dice rolls in your favor, so each turn is a satisfying puzzle of how to alter and assign your workers.

I also think the art and overall aesthetic is really quite fantastic! So many games are fantasy or space themed and use serious and monotonous colors. I wanted to make a game with bright colorful art. I aimed for simplicity and elegance throughout the art, graphic design, and game design. Together, I think it makes the whole package stand out and feel approachable.



How long have you been working on this game? What made you launch the campaign now?

My team and I have been working on Fantastic Factories for about 2 and half years at this point. It's been a slow and steady process with a lot of playtesting. I would say that under normal circumstances, it wouldn't need as much time as it has had, but we underwent a couple major redesigns to really nail down and tighten up the gameplay. One of those redesigns came after we won a regional game design competition (NW LUCI Award) that was judged by industry experts. At the time we felt the design was complete and while we did win, they had plenty of constructive criticisms for us. This challenged us to do better and revisit parts of the design. After the redesign, it meant a whole new round of playtesting. It really is a labor of love.

Over those 2 and a half years it was a continuous iterative process of design, playtest, prepare for a convention, and then starting all over again with all the new feedback. All the while, working on the art and graphic design as well. Things take a little longer when you have to split your time between game design, art, and community building. Oh, and my wife and I had our first kid in the middle of it all that!

I'd like to say we had some grand plan with the timing of the campaign launch, but really we just gave the game as much time and love as we felt was necessary. Once we felt the game design was complete and the majority of the art was complete, we set a date a few months away in order to prepare review copies, figure out manufacturing/logistics, and plan our Kickstarter campaign.

Having taken the game through a few redesigns what are some of the biggest changes you've implemented? What do you think you've learned from this feedback loop creative process?

With any game design, before making a big change, you have to understand what the problems are that you are solving. My process is to find what's fun about the game and design everything else around it in support of that fun. With that in mind, it's unsurprising to see that the soul of the game has remained consistent and largely unchanged since the very beginning. For Fantastic Factories, that core fun comes from two angles -- discovering cool combinations of factories that work well together and solving the puzzle of where to place all your dice to maximize your output.

One problem I had was the way buildings were built. Building a blueprint used to require two matching dice......

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Continue reading the full interview on MORE GAMES PLEASE.
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Wed Jun 6, 2018 3:15 pm
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Medusa Dollmaker: Art in Board Games #38

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Medusa Dollmaker: Art in Board Games #38


This week I spoke to the supremely talented Medusa Dollmaker, artist on Osprey Games new version of auction game and Reiner Knizia classic High Society.

We talk diversity, her process and client mistakes. More art and more words THROUGH THIS LINK!




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Tue May 29, 2018 2:02 pm
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More Games Please Turns One Today

Ross
United Kingdom
Nottingham
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Here's today's post from my websites Patreon page:

"Today is technically the 1 year anniversary of my website. When I decided to purchase the domain I didn't have a solid idea of what it was going to be yet, I knew I wanted to interview artists but everything you saw in those early days came together pretty fast after this point.

I've always been an ideas person, someone who has a burning desire to do a thing and if I don't act fast that spark can easily fade away. In this case I grabbed that spark and threw money at it, igniting it into a domain name and hosting via Squarespace. More Games Please the site was born.

Once that had happened, well I had to do something with it really, I'd just paid for a years hosting after all. I'd bought a website but what now?

Over the next week I started coming up with my initial site questions. What did I want to ask the artists and would they even answer? I wasn't so sure. I intentionally kept my questions quite broad, hoping that would both give the interviewee space to answer easily but also increase the likelihood they'd get back in touch. Sometimes all you can do is try and see what happens.

The early days were a total experiment and I remember just emailing people telling them what my site WOULD be about with absolutely no idea if they'd agree to talk to me or tell me politely to go away. I was leaning towards the latter. I mean if you got an email from a stranger, without a website, asking you to answer questions and provide you with images, would you do it?

Needless to say that people did. They had a little trust in the idea and on this almost anniversary of the site (7th June is when I posted my first interview) I am proud to have posted 40 interviews with some of the best creators in the industry.

When I started I had no expectations but as I continued I began to ask more of myself and what the site should be. After 6 months online when it was almost Christmas I created a vote for the Best Art of 2017 because no one else was doing it. I wanted to give people the chance to share what art they'd loved and it was way more work than I'd ever anticipated, completely dominating my whole holidays. Another experiment in action.

In the new year I thought more about what I should do and one thing that I decided upon was improving the format of the interviews to make them more personal. This is something that I am and will continue to work on and I hope you enjoy the results as I learn along the way.

So one year in and I'm excited about the future, I really feel like I've begun to find a place in this community and you my Patreons are a big part of that. When I started my Patreon, again I didn't known what to expect and had low expectations but I'm greatful you've helped me keep the site online by covering it's funding moving forwards.

So here's to a year of More Games Please and experiments that can work, if you just throw yourself into them."
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Wed May 23, 2018 12:53 am
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Victoria Ying: Art in Board Games #37

Ross
United Kingdom
Nottingham
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This week I was lucky to speak to Victoria Ying artist on the fantastic recent release, Bargain Quest.

With experience working for Disney on films such as Tangled, Wreck it Ralph, Big Hero 6, Frozen and Moana she has now gone on to focus on her own projects.

Bargain Quest is a collaborative project with her brother Jonathan Ying and has been getting rave reviews.

Here's a quote from the interview with Victoria:
"Although we were using a lot of fantasy tropes, I always found it odd how so much of fantasy was so white. It made sense in Tolkien's days, but being persons of color ourselves we felt like why not create a world where our heroes could be from other backgrounds?"


You can read the full interview with more images here: https://www.moregamesplease.com/art-in-boardgames/2018/5/22/...



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Tue May 22, 2018 2:54 pm
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Jesse Gillespie: Art in Board Games #36

Ross
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This week I was lucky enough to talk to Jesse Gillespie, one of the artists on the upcoming HAND OF FATE: ORDEALS.

We talk about his work on the original videogames, making the transition to tabletop and his own journey along the way.

Here's a few quotes:
"I look back on the work from those years and it seems like every brush stroke and ink spatter holds some little story of personal struggle, tragedy, or triumph."
"That the game looks so atmospheric and sumptuous, though, is all due to Ian's amazing graphic design work. I've learned a LOT working with him, Allen and Michael. It's felt like a real "level-up" life moment."

For artwork, sketches and the full interview follow the link here

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Mon May 7, 2018 1:53 pm
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