Jason (GameGobble): Raptor is a 2 player card-driven board game that has been praised for the gameplay, theme, and art. Can you share some background of how the initial ideas for the game led to the final product?
Bruno (game designer): I had this idea in mind for a long time without really knowing what to do with it. When Bruno Faidutti asked me to build a pure 2 player game with him, we discussed the idea further. We wanted special abilities strongly connected to a theme, and less emphasis on the mathematical aspect. We worked with Vincent Dutrait and asked for artwork to tell the story in the cards, as if we were watching a movie.
Jason (GameGobble): Talk about the overall gaming experience you were trying to create when designing Steam Works.
Alex (game designer): As soon as the game acquired the steampunk inventor theme, I wanted the players to really feel like inventors.
The creativity element comes in here: you get to imagine what kind of device would attract lots of visitors (or just be useful to yourself) in the current board state. Some players like to plan out an awesome combination of effects, carefully accumulating the pieces over several turns. Others like to just throw together whatever random tiles they get, and bolt another tile on there just to see what happens. A player once someone built a device whose effect was “draw 3 random tiles from the deck, build a device out of them, and immediately use it!”
The delight of putting together a zany combo, the feeling of having created something really cool – that’s the kind of experience I want players to have in this game.
Jason (GameGobble): While fans of The Expanse series will enjoy how well the theme is integrated into the game, participants don’t have to know the story to have a fantastic playing experience. What were some of the game development decisions that made this possible?
Geoff (game designer): Part of it was a consequence of direction set by the authors, who I spoke to early on about what they wanted in the game. They’re both gamers, so they had definite ideas for the board game, and one of them was that they didn’t want it scripted to match the story of the show. One of the original concepts was to have gating events, or chapters, that moved through the story, but they wanted a game where the initial situation was set up, but it was up to the players to create the narrative.
Jason (GameGobble): First, Portal was a successful video game series. Then came Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game which was a board game. What core elements from the video game appears in the board game?
Jeep (game designer): Portal takes a minimalist approach with its mechanics and characters, and builds complexity by recombining those elements in level design and writing. Since board game players will naturally remix these elements as they play, including only main characters from the games seemed ludicrously inadequate. So we pulled in absolutely every deep cut from Portal expansions, comics, and trailers for the most hardcore lore fanatics. Nearly every Aperture Science apparatus appears in the board game with a few notable omissions such as Hard Light Bridges and Mashy Spike Plates. The true core that bonds the board game with the series is its dark humor and crumbling retro aesthetic.