Jason (GameGobble): Magic Maze is played in real-time and is constrained by a timer. Participants need to coordinate their actions but cannot communicate in conventional ways. All of this creates urgency and tension. What would you say are the key attributes of players that do well in your game?
Kasper (designer): Getting good at this game is about learning to ask “what can I do?” instead of focusing on what other players should do.
It’s also about assuming that the other players have good reasons to do what they do. When they move in a direction that surprises you, instead of thinking “what an idiot!” and undoing their move, you should think “why do they want to move in that direction? What have I overlooked?”
That’s why I sometimes joke that this game will make you a better person 🙂
Jason (GameGobble): What is one thing you want gamers to know about Dungeon Alliance?
Andrew (game designer): The most important thing about Dungeon Alliance is that there is no “best” way to play. It is a game that is purposefully customizable. We never want players to feel like they’re cheating if they adjust the rules to fit their taste. That means it’s definitely okay to change a rule or remove a card that annoys you.
I’ve had players ask for my blessing to change this or that to the game when they play. I want people to know they have my permanent approval to change anything they like if it makes the game more fun for their group. It would be naive of me to think that one ruleset for a game like this would be the perfect fit for everyone. We gamers all have diverse personalities and different experience goals … just like the characters in Dungeon Alliance!
Jason (GameGobble): There is luck involved with the type of spirits (workers) drawn from the respective bags, but each player gets to make decisions that manipulate which spirits go into that drawing pool. Please share your thoughts on how you wanted this mechanism to affect gameplay.
Dan (game designer): We wanted it to feel like a deckbuilder. We wanted players to really have to focus on refining and culling. We then decided to really embrace this feel and added the summoning bonuses to the game (originally these bonuses were more focused on how you built your Groves). We also loved the concept of sending spirits to other players realms to put them into their bags. There is a really neat dynamic built around how the bags are formed and we felt like we approached bag building in a really interesting way that had never been done before.
Jason (GameGobble): Could you elaborate on the overall gaming experience you wanted players to have?
Curt (game designer): At its core, Cutthroat Caverns is a game about kill-stealing, a concept all too familiar for D&D fans. Everyone fights the monsters of the dungeons, but only the player who actually lands the killing blow claims any reward. So it forces players to jockey for position, trying to have their attack be the one to slay the creature, even if they have to trip another player or otherwise spoil someone else’s attack, so they themselves can claim all the glory. Cutthroat was one of the first true semi-coop games, admittedly one that leaned harder on non-cooperation and backstabbing, but tempered by the knowledge that if you didn’t work together, you had a very real chance of all dying and losing the game in a total player kill. Balancing the need to say alive, with the desire to win is the heart of the game.
Jason (GameGobble): I know when designing a game you like to start with theme, and The Witches board game is based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Can you share some of the research you did to come up with your design ideas?
Martin (game designer): After making the decision to design what became Discworld Ankh-Morpork I read all of the Discworld books related to the city. Once that design was out of the way I made a start on all of the witch related books, including the Tiffany Aching series. It was the Tiffany series that gave me the best insight into the world of the witches, as the stories are all about becoming a witch, which is the most interesting part of the process.
Jason (GameGobble): War of the Ring revolves around The Lord of the Rings story by J. R. R. Tolkien. What was your approach in developing a game whose theme has such a huge and loyal fan base?
Roberto (game designer): I must admit that I actually came to the design of this specific game as a fan before I was a game designer. As a fan, I was unhappy about The Lord of the Rings game available at the time. As a game designer, I jumped on the opportunity to create one myself (together with Francesco and Marco). All the designers had a very good knowledge of the source material, and we wanted to create something which was strongly thematic, first and foremost. I don’t think we could have achieved what we did if we were not big fans ourselves. We simply created the game we wanted to play.