Dark Ages – Interview
Dark Ages is up and funded on Kickstarter! We had the chance to get some inside info by the publishers of the game!
– You have a game catalogue with a big diversity in themes. What inspired you for the epic, historical theme of Dark Ages?
Well, to be honest, most of us are history enthusiasts. We have an in-company group of Europe Universalis players, and we enjoy playing historically anchored games. Moreover, Adam Kwapiński, co-designer of Dark Ages is a history graduate and has a long… history of designing historical games – he even used to lead development department in Historical Games Factory publishing house. We simply felt it is our time to tell the history of Europe anew – which we find both inspiring and slightly hidden in the mists of nowadays memory.
– What was the biggest challenge during the designing and/or development of the game?
Gameplay time – as much as we wanted to create an epic game, we didn’t want it to take days to play, especially if you bear in mind that you can play Dark Ages with up to 8 players! Hence the intuitive reactions mechanism that solves the potential downtime problem and allows all the players to be simultaneously engaged in the game, even if it’s not their turn.
– What type of players will enjoy this experience?
I guess that everyone who likes hybrid games that take what’s best from Euro and Ameri titles. You have strategic planning here, tactical battles, city building, tableau building, unique action selection mechanism – but all steeped in the theme that was so important to us. In short – if you like great civ euros with strong thematic vibe – this is a game for you.
– “Dark Ages” is a Kickstarter Limited game, meaning that it won’t follow the usual distribution process. What lead you to that choice?
Kickstarter is for board games industry what video camera was for acting. It allows the viewer (or nowadays player) to step into a real Dream Theatre. It helps creators bring to the table ideas that would never see daylight – because of how it works. It simply allows the publisher like us to gather funds for a game that would be simply too expensive in regular distribution for it to make sense. Hence our decision to invite the players to this Dream Theatre of ours using the crowdfunding platform.
– You already launched a series of social Stretch Goals, as PRE-Kickstarter goals! Did this initiative work out as expected?
And more! We have never expected such a positive reaction from players from around the world. They have been so eager to make this game great from the beginning that most of our Pre-Kickstarter Stretch Goals funded almost immediately. I believe that in nowadays reality it is super important to give the backers as much influence over the game as possible – and our backers used it wisely!
– Another interesting part of your campaign is that you are launching two standalone games: “Dark Ages: Holy Roman Empire” and “Dark Ages: Heritage of Charlemagne”! They follow the same rules while all content is different, such as the map and armies. If you combine both games; you have an epic up to 8 players Empire-building game. What lead you to offer this unique choice?
Again, we really wanted to make an epic, yet affordable game. Each of the two boxes is perfectly fit to play for 1-4 players. You simply choose your side of the continent and enjoy the full experience. But if you want to play with 5 or more people – who are we to stop you? At the same time we didn’t want to impose on the backers buying components they would not use – if they never intend to play with more than 4 people. Hence our decision to let the backers choose how they want to experience Dark Ages – we simply follow are own rules – let the backer make as much choices as possible.
– Do you have a favorite General or Unit in the game?
I can never decide between El Cid and Jan Žižka. Both amazingly interesting historical characters, both equally tragic in the choices they were forced to make. Both way ahead of their times when it comes to fighting and leading skills. And their miniatures look just so great!
– After 6 successful Kickstarter campaigns, what is your favorite aspect of the crowdfunding process?
Oh, it’s been more than that! Over the years we have successfully funded close to twenty amazing projects! When it comes to crowdfunding, I thing the best thing (apart from the mentioned above chance to bring otherwise impossible to make games) is the unique opportunity to work directly with players. It’s them who make choices along with the creator on how the game should look and sometimes work. This way we, as a gamers community, make sure that the whole process is focused on making the game as close to perfection as possible.
– What else can we expect in the future from Board&Dice?
We will for sure continue to publish what we are mostly known for – great eurogames for experienced players. Daniele Tascini, Dávid Turczi, Adam Kwapiński – you will see these names on our boxes. We are also working on the 3rd game in Escape Tales line – but it’s still a secret, so I can’t tell you much about this dark fantasy narrative… Oops! Already said too much!