Artikel vom 26.10.2015
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Interview mit Alexander Argyropoulos zu Raid & Trade / War on Streets
Deutsch | English
cliquenabend.de: Hi Alex you are using crowdfunding platforms for your new game releases for a few years now. Please tell us some interesting facts about it.
Alexander: Many people think that if you launch a campaign on Kickstarter it will be an automatic success because Kickstarter has many people browsing through its pages every day. However this is not the case. Having a successful campaign requires a lot of work in terms of creating your own followers in several platforms and peaking their interest with the project you have created on Kickstarter and make them want to check it out. This is a very complex procedure, that can even take years to complete. So I would say that creating a great network of followers and having solid partners across the industry are the two most interesting parts that define the success or failure of a campaign.
cliquenabend.de: Crowdfunding is not always easy and a lot of guys told me that you have to be careful and that they learned something new from each campaign. What did YOU learn from your campaigns?
Alexander: The voice of your followers, of your backers, is the most important thing of all. If there is one thing I learnt is to open my ears - or rather my eyes- and read and understand all the comments that the backers of my projects make. Of course there will always be people who will express their discontent for no particular reason, however the vast majority of the backers has something to say. Whether this is the addition of a new pledge level, a cool idea for an add-on or an extra feature, to issues about shipping and delays, or component quality. The slightest remark can make a difference. So I learned how to listen and to treat each and every one of my backers individually, trying to cover their needs in the best way possible.
cliquenabend.de: Do you have some fun or weird crowdfunding anecdotes for us as well?
Alexander: This story starts as a shipping mistake and ends up to a random pledge delivery. In one of my campaigns, a happy backer from France receives their pledge. A few days after that, they receive a second package, that of another backer from France, who lived in a different city. I have no idea how this happened, but it did. The story gets more weird, as the first backer, enters a coffee shop with the parcel of the second backer in their hands. And all of a sudden, there goes the second backer, requesting his parcel from the -amazed I would guess- initial recipient! He just read his name on the parcel and went back home with his suitcase a bit fuller than he expected. This is the weirdest thing that has ever happened. I am sure it was frustrating at first, but now it is a story to look back and laugh.
cliquenabend.de: One of your newest game for kickstarter is "Raid & Trade". How long did it take to develop it and what is the story behind the game?
Alexander: We originally saw the game of Facebook as a prototype, a kind of deck-building board game and we contacted the designer, Charalampos Tsakiris. After a few weeks we had a meeting back in Athens and we agreed to publish the game. So, first we played the game several times, in order to determine how the final form will fit in our product line and then we sent the game to a guy who supports MAGE Company the last years, Malte Kuhle from Germany, who took the game and started working on it for several months, adding tiles, new rules, cutting components, playtesting new ideas, and a lot of other things. After a few months we received a quite different version of the game from Malte and we had to finalize the game by twisting some rules, reducing some components, adding miniatures, designing drafts and layouts. So it took a year more or less to fully develop the game. Thankfully in this project we had a lot of supporters, such as Undead Viking, Geekdad, Father Geek, members from the Greek Guild of BGG, and friends who support MAGE Company in new games. At the same time, we were designing the first campaign for the game on Kickstarter and thankfully the whole thing turned out to be a good project.
cliquenabend.de: Please tell us something about the game mechanic and game play. What is different in this game and why should people play it?
Alexander: One of the game mechanics of Raid & Trade is the Action Point Allowance System. This works through a disk which is attached to your character board and allows you to choose from a variety of actions during your round. Others include area movement, dice rolling, hand management and trading, while players also have variable powers. What makes the game different is the various elements that can affect the movement mechanics. The board tiles are designed with hides, undergrounds, bridges, tunnels, blockages and other elements, each of which affects the Heroes' movement in a different way. This is something that differentiates the game from others and adds some more strategy when playing. Each character also has its own combat die, but the dice have been designed in a very peculiar way. Each side includes attacking and defending symbols that are separated through a curved line in the corresponding color of the Hero. The background color of the die is different for the attacking and defense symbols, something that makes it easier for players to tell apart. What makes it unique, is first of all the artistic style. It is not too dark, or too cartoon-ish and light, it is somewhere in between. One of the most important rules of the game has to do with the definition of what a complete round is. So in this game in order to reduce the downtime and at the same time please all the players, we thought a trick: to make 1 movement and 1 action (through a variety of actions) and then the next player takes their turn. This whole thing takes place until all players have spent their action points. When that happens we have a new round - and of course in the new round you refresh your action points. Another thing is the "unexpected" game ending. There are 3 winning conditions. If you meet one of them and have some additional action points, you automatically win the game. Through our playtests we saw that many people were surprised when a player said he won the game. The point is to pay attention from the beginning of the game and trying to prevent the other players from meeting their winning conditions and thus winning the game, otherwise you can't do anything. For some gamers maybe this is a bad choice we made for the game, but hey, this is a post-apocalyptic game. There can be only one winner. The last part that I would say makes the game worth playing is the Scenario with the helicopter. This scenario is for 3-5 players and up to 3 players can flee from the exploding ruined city through the helicopter. However this does not mean than unless there are 3 players the helicopter cannot move. On the contrary, one player who has the necessary resources might decide to ditch everybody else and save himself. So there is a lot of backstabbing in this last map tile, even though you might have cooperated fairly well with other heroes up to that point. Of course let's not forget that the ruined city is also collapsing, while at the same time there are guards who are after you, so it can get pretty intense.
cliquenabend.de: It is the first published game from "Charalampos Tsakiris" and "Malte Kuhle". How did you find the game?
Alexander: For Charalampos Tsakiris, it is his first game. But Malte Kulhe supports MAGE Company for the last 3-4 years and he is always helping us through the development of our games, as for example with 12 Realms, Hoyuk etc. As for Charalampos, we found him through Facebook as it has been mentioned, since we always search for new and interesting games around.
cliquenabend.de: Charlampos lives in greece and Malte in germany. How did you develop the game? Did you meet a lot or did you use email & phone communication?
Alexander: Actually we first took the game from Charalampos, and we planned how the retail version will look like and then when we were ready, we sent the prototype to Malte, along with our requirements and he developed the game further, along with his group. So the whole thing worked pretty much through emails.
cliquenabend.de: Were there some films which inspired you or the authors to this game?
Alexander: When we originally saw the prototype of the game, there was a feeling that the concept was inspired from post apocalyptic movies, where the world has been destroyed. But there was not a complete story to support that. I think that the changes that were applied on the game had to do with many movies we have seen where the heroes can do pretty much whatever they want in a destroyed world: raid, steal, build weapons, run all around, trade in sneaky ways and all the stuff that we see in a post apocalyptic movie. I would say that we had in our mind a ton of movies!
cliquenabend.de: You have announced the Expansion "War on Streets" for the game, which people can also pledge on kickstarter.com. What does the new expansion add to the game experience?
Alexander: There are four main points that War on the Streets add to the core game. Firstly, as one would expect, it expands the base game. This means that you can simply take the Rats Gang, add it to your core copy of Raid & Trade and make it a bit more difficult to meet your victory conditions, as now there are new enemies to fight against. The second point is that the expansion adds new scenarios, with the main addition being the introduction of the co-operative mode of the game. We like to give added value to our players and change their whole gaming experience, so now they also have the opportunity to collaborate with each other and have new goals, such as to protect the Black Market or kill the Commander of the enemy forces. War on the Streets also adds four new characters to the game: The Hitchhikers. They have new and upgraded skills and they will prove to be very useful to fulfilling some of the game missions. Lastly, the new expansion also features 9 new tiles, the suburb tiles. Until now our heroes had one ruined city to explore, now its suburbs have been added and we promise they will be surprising, as they include new elements, such as toxic waste areas, guarded areas and underground tunnels.
cliquenabend.de: How long did it take to develop this expansion?
Alexander: As every game so this expansion needs its time to get developed. From the beginning, when we started to develop Raid & Trade we had some ideas about what the expansion would look like and what we would like it to include. So as you can understand we had been gathering material for the expansion for more than a year now. The final touches and development of War on the Streets started almost 6 months ago so that it takes the form that you will see it on Kickstarter.
cliquenabend.de: Will there be more expansions in the future?
Alexander: Raid & Trade is a game with great potential for expansions. We have started to gather more ideas, such as rule variants, new tiles, new scenarios, new minis etc. However there are several things we need to see before we move on to another production, first being the people's response to this expansion. If it goes well and it is warmly accepted by the public, we will discuss with our co-publishers the potential for new expansions for the game.
cliquenabend.de: What are your next projects?
Alexander: Here in MAGE Company many projects have hit the table in the past months and several decisions have been made after Essen Spiel 2015. One of our big upcoming projects is Aether Captains, a steampunk dice-based board game, for which we are also preparing a Kickstarter campaign. One player takes control of the "good guys" who try to protect Arkadia and the rest of the players take control of the pirates, who try to invade Arkadia through various missions. Each of the roles plays in a different way. This is a game we have high aspirations for. Also, we are preparing a line of party games, which will be announced soon. All our new games will be presented in Spielewarrenmesse in Nuremberg, so bear with us until then! Of course our big hit 12 Realms is not left outside our plans, but more info on that will come in the future.
Link to the Kickstarter Campain The Interview was held by Andreas Buhlmann for cliquenabend.de. Thanks to Alexander Argyropoulos for the support.
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