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Category Archives: Interviews

The Tuesday Interview – Hubert Cater Talks Strategic Command, and more

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Hubert Cater of Fury Software joins us this week, to chat about Strategic Command, and his other projects ~

Author, 16 January 2017

So, if you’re not working on your own games, what are you likely to be found playing on a night off?

Oddly enough I haven’t played PC (or otherwise) games for probably 10 years now, well at least as a regular escape or attempt at relaxation.  Possibly a bit unexpected for a game developer, but after staring at code all day I’ve found that if I can turn off my brain completely in the evenings I’m that much better off for it.

These days my typical escape is to try and get out and play ice hockey 1 to 2 times a week (I am Canadian so it is my duty to fulfil that stereotype), or to go mountain biking during the warmer months.  Luckily I live near a conservation area and watershed that has some nice trails and I can ride out from my house and be on the trails in less than 5 minutes which is great for a quick ride.

Lately though, and now that my kids are a bit older, often the evenings are just blur spent racing from activity to activity while I still try and sneak in a few of my own.

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The Tuesday Interview – Mark Walker talks Tiny Battle Publishing

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Renowned designer and author Mark Walker comes back through for a chat ~

Brant Guillory, 10 January 2017

Mark Walker has paid us a few visits before (here and here and here), and he’s graciously stopped back by to chat about his other, other, other venture, Tiny Battle Publishing.

Tiny Battle Publishing has churned out about a game a week – or so it seems some days.  What was the final headcount, anyways?  And were you intending to try and keep pace with Victory Point Games, or was it just accidental that you had that many games to publish over the past year?

LOL, yes it sometimes seems that way. No, we aren’t trying to keep pace with any publisher. We wanted to set a schedule and stick to it. That schedule is two games a month. We’ve fallen a bit behind, but feel like we can get back on pace now that the holidays are behind us. There are just a ton of games that fit our footprint. Interesting titles, be they historical, science fiction, horror or whatever. We want to share those titles with gamers, and maybe make a buck or two doing it. 🙂

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Some of Tiny Battle Publishing’s titles

 

The Tuesday Interview – Bob Smith of Oriental Empires

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Bob Smith pays GrogHeads a visit~

Lloyd Sabin (and Boggit!), 3 January 2017

You clearly have a long, proud history in historical PC gaming, which younger readers may not know about. Games like ‘Arnhem,’ ‘Desert Rats,’ and ‘Operation Vulcan’ are remembered very fondly. What is your favorite game of yours from that era and why?

Of the wargames, probably Desert Rats, because I like big sweeping games. Of all the games I did in my first stint as an independent developer, my favorite is probably Armada 2525, because I had so much fun playing it with my friends (who usually used to beat me).

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What were some of the difficulties you faced in the 1980s when producing those early games?

The machines were very limited, you had to think about every byte of RAM. I remember being up at 3am trying to find 3 bytes of memory to finish Desert Rats, with a bike coming at 7 to take the master tape to the duplicators. The development environments were very limited too. I used to write everything out on paper, because the editors were so bad, and once your program got too big to fit into RAM with the assembler, it could take as much as an hour to make a new version.

GrogHeads Interviews Terry Sofian of Hive, Queen and Country

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We connected at Origins, and continued the electronic conversation afterwards ~

Corinne Mahaffey, 30 July 2016

I sat down for an email interview with Terry Sofian, the creator of Hive, Queen and Country, a steampunk world where the European powers are, with the help of the mineral aerolith, extending their imperial reach to the rest of the solar system. They recently ran a 3 day game at Origins wherein a hive in Brazil was besieged by American and British forces.

 

What are your games and world about? 

Our games are about telling stories in an altered Victorian era, one in which the already stunning challenges of exploring frontiers on six continents, the seas and the polar ice cap, making scientific discoveries that fashioned the world in which we live today and developing amazing new technologies, are compounded with air and space travel and explorations both in deep space but also on several worlds within our solar system. The stories can be about fighting hordes of angry alien bugs. They could be about building a city on Venus. Perhaps they are about solving murder mysteries on any of a number of worlds.

The Hive, Queen and Country Universe was started as a sandbox in which a bunch of folks could get together to and discuss ideas set in such an altered time line. We designed the Universe to be a place where gamers, writers, artists, model builders and any other creative types could build “sand castles”. The games and world are designed to provide a framework for people to work within.

HQC in action at Origins

HQC in action at Origins

GrogHeads Interviews Craig Stern of True Messiah

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True Messiah is coming soon on Kickstarter; designer Craig Stern sits down for a chat ~

Brant Guillory, 15 July 2016

OK, so True Messiah has a totally off-the-wall-crazy backstory.  Where did it come from?  What was the original inspiration and how was it refined over time as it developed?

I thought it up in the shower one morning. (The ideas underlying the backstory had been percolating in me for a long time prior, mind you—they merely chose that moment to congeal. Maybe it was the steam?)

Anyway. You might think that this this game’s premise is meant to critique extremist religious groups like ISIS, people so certain in their beliefs that they are willing to slaughter tens of thousands of innocent people in the name of prophecies that they want to be (but have no good reason to believe are) true. You wouldn’t be wrong.

But True Messiah is really about magical thinking in all of its forms: about people privileging subjective beliefs over empirical facts, about valuing tribal loyalties over shared humanity. “What if,” I wondered, “we lived in a world in which believing something—and nothing more—really did make it so? What if ‘speaking your truth’ were literal?”

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Origins! Your Grog Crew

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A Grog has no name.  A Grog has only a screen name. ~

The GrogHeads Crew, 23 June 2016

photos by Corinne Mahaffey / click to enlarge

Dubbed “Fort Kickass” by the GrogHeads Central Command crew, our little patch of concrete in the gaming hall was the nexus of some excellent wargaming at Origins 2016.  While it’s not the overwhelming dominant presence in the gaming hall like it was in 1978, anyone who says that “there’s no wargaming at Origins” is just flat-out wrong.  Hex-and-counter, card-driven area, or minis-on-terrain, we had wargames in spades.

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More to the point, we had the Grogs!

And our GrogHeads crew has their own thoughts about Origins 2016, as we asked them (1) “What’s the coolest thing you saw?” and (2) “What was the thing you enjoyed most?”.  Here’s what they told us…

Origins! Griggling Games

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Play all of WWII in one sitting?  That’s what the GG guys gave you with Quartermaster General ~

Corinne Mahaffey, 23 June 2016

A quick stop at the Griggling Games booth yielded an interesting – and different – conversation about Quartermaster General and its genesis.  Expansions are already rolling out the door for QMG, so look for more to come from them.  Designer Ian Brody explains

I wanted to make a simulation, then abstract it until I had a playable game.  I also wanted a game that people could play together in an evening, rather than one played in turns for days.  I have given the game rules to a new player, then not see them for a week while they read the rules, or learn, as in Axis and Allies, base 6 statistics. Ex Hall - IMG_6900 I also didn’t want to be able to gain in-game intelligence because I had to explain rule that my opponent wanted to use.  Finally, I wanted a game that war gamers and historians would agree touched on the salient points of World War 2, and had a sense of the narrative of the war.

I was introduced to Magic [the Gathering] by a friend, and realized how much game mechanic could be put on a card.  Then I looked at old war games, including World of War, Third Reich, Rising Sun, World in Flames and Europa.  I looked at the headings, and realized I needed a card for each one.  All the game chrome and fiddly rules could be put on the cards.

I also found that, by front-loading the luck on the card draw instead of backloading the luck on the dice, choosing the one card to play that turn becomes a move of skill.  You don’t get to micromanage; you must play the hand you are dealt.

As a reminder, we reviewed Quartermaster General a while ago, and will have some coverage coming soon of the Air Marshal expansion.


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Origins! Iello Games

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The gang from Heroes of Normandie are back for more ~

Corinne Mahaffey, 21 June 2016

What is your new game?
Sea of Clouds is a challenging strategy game fighting as air pirates.  You amass points through set collecting and uses a Winston Draft as a mechanic.

What is your favorite game?
Am I allowed to confess to Fun Farm?  It is a game of quick visual deduction and snatch and grab.  A great kids game and a great drinking game. (ed note: please don’t get the kids to drinking when they play!)

What is your favorite mechanic?
In Medieval Academy you start with a hand of cards, of which you pick one and pass it along.  The challenge is to play cards to seven boards to advance.  If you reveal your priorities too early, the other players can sabotage you.

If you like ____, you will like _____.
If you like Yahtzee, then you should move up to King of Tokyo.

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