This week I’m fortunate enough to bring on yet another designer that I met at Strategicon. Matt was very open to meeting, discussing design, talking the maths of printing and shipping, and was just a great guy to be around and play with. I asked and he was kind enough to do this little interview right in the middle of the final push of Bane‘s campaign. Without further flattery, here’s Mr. Rodgers!
Please, tell us a little about yourself and Gamesicle.
I’ve been gaming all my life; games of all shapes, sizes and types. I played a lot of RPGs and board games in my formative years. I have always been attracted to game systems that have immersion and quality player interaction. Gamesicle was born from this tradition.
I have only recently begun to devote my energies full time to building Gamesicle. Before that I worked in Information Technology and Emergency Management. I also have a lot of experience in the performing arts (primarily theatre) and that certainly shapes how I view and approach things.
At Gamesicle our quest is to connect players through immersive game experiences.
How long have you been working on Bane?
Bane was originally conceived in 2010, but we have been working on it mostly over the past 2 years or so. Bane has shared development time with several other projects. Our approach was to have several games queued up ahead of time so that when we made the move to build Gamesicle we would be able to grow.
What inspired Bane? Where did it come from?
Bane’s inspiration was simple: create a game where the players felt like hunter and hunted. We wanted a simple mechanic that placed the players in tricky situations of survival. The use of the Vampires, Werewolves and Humans took a bit of doing, as I was opposed to using it at first. But, over time (and with substantial testing) it was the favored direction. I had to create my own I.P. for it though, make the world of Bane a living, breathing place in order to be pleased with the look and feel.
How much did your experience with Junkyard King influence the development, iteration, and marketing of Bane?
Our first game, Junkyard King, was a deliberate step we took as a startup game publisher to learn the ropes so-to-speak. It has taught us a lot about how we want to make games. We still have more to do with Junkyard King as well; we want to bring it to full retail.
How long have you been preparing for this Kickstarter campaign?
We’ve been building our network or relationships for about a year and a half and began in earnest on this Kickstarter campaign about 9 months ahead of launch.
What was the most important piece of advice about Kickstarter projects, which you found before launching?
Make sure your first 2 days are as strong as possible.
I know you hit some unfortunate hiccups just as you launched. Could you tell the audience about that?
The 3 weeks leading up to launch got really crazy. Let’s just say that things didn’t go according to plan. But, that’s life and business. You have to be ready for anything, flexible. Because it was my first time running a Kickstarter I found myself saturated with information, it was very challenging to know what to do with the final details, how to pull it all together. In the end, I stuck to my commitments and stayed focused and followed my instincts.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give about Kickstarter projects now that you have launched?
Make sure that your first 2 days are going to be very strong. Build lots of support. Get your prototypes made early and get the word out that your game is coming. Let people see it, touch it, play it and review it. Talk about it, share it and promote it.
Make sure that every Plan A has a Plan B.
What is your favorite aspect of Bane (component, mechanism, art, etc.)?
What I like most about Bane is how interconnected the mechanics are. The deck composition, the core mechanic, the scoring mechanism, the turn order, the player setup, the special powers, the bane token and the game boards all blend together to create the unique experience that is Bane. Because of how it’s designed, Bane scales itself to the players. The decisions and player interactions are the soul of the game.
What was the most difficult aspect to get right?
Creating what I answered in the above question. Balancing the right amount of chance and choice took an awful lot of work and time.
What part of the game changed the most between inception and now?
The game boards were the last major design addition. It completely transformed the overall experience. The game instantly became much easier to manage and learn when we added the boards. The overall experience elevated and grew more immersive.
What was your favorite experience playing Bane?
I don’t have a single experience that I would label as a favorite. What I always enjoy about Bane is that you constantly have interesting plays presented to you throughout the game. Even when you are behind the leader you have plays you can make to give yourself a chance to win. Your goals are not always identical to the other players and those goals can change from turn to turn. I love this about Bane. There is always something to work for, some line of play you can pursue.
What is next for Gamesicle?
We want to further develop the world of Bane (RPG… maybe?), we have a strategy game in the wings and we’ll begin working on a project this summer with another design group – but, I can’t release those details just yet. ; )
Any additional comments or advice for the audience?
Thank you for your interest in Gamesicle! Let’s do this again.
Awesome! Thanks, Mr. Rodgers, for taking the time to chat with me about your great project and exciting company. YOU! Out there in the world: go thank Matt for taking time out of his crazy busy schedule to talk with us. He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and the web. More importantly, Mr. Rodgers currently has a Kickstarter campaign running RIGHT NOW! Bane can be found HERE. Honestly, I got to play it at Strategicon and it was great. I love blind bidding (Top-Deck) and he does a beautiful execution of it. Not only that, he layers the mechanics in a way which allows for quick pick up but a lot of depth and growing strategies. I can’t say enough good things about this guy and his project. But don’t take my word for it – go check him out 😀