Exclusive Interview with Gordon Calleja, the Designer Of Vengeance!
Your games until now (Posthuman) focus on very strong and immersive themes. What was the first inspiration for “Vengeance’s” cool theme?
The inspiration for Vengeance came from my love for Chan Wook Park’s movies, including Old Boy. His visual style strums strings in my soul I did not know I had. At some point I clicked that there were very few, if any, board games that focused specifically on the theme of revenge, even though it’s one of the most popular narrative tropes across media and history. The idea of making a beautiful thing, that encapsulated the essence of the genre, particularly in film filled me with excitement. The visual style, mechanics and so on rushed into my head fairly quickly after that.
What kind of gaming experience do you want to create with this game?
Above all else I’m after creating vivid images in players’ minds and I believe that is best done when theme, representational elements like illustration, graphic design, game pieces and miniatures etc work in concert with the game’s mechanics. Emotionally I want to try and evoke the excitement and thrill of movie action sequences coupled with the satisfaction of getting justice against bullies that wronged them.
What was the greatest challenge that you faced during the designing and development of the game?
Shortening the game-length down to a controllable amount. For many months the system had an organic choice of Fight or Montage turns that was left up to the players. I like that system a lot. It didn’t work. Giving that up and structuring it into a pre-set arc works a lot better and keeps play time to 30 mins per player comfortably, but it reduces the agency of deciding when to push your luck and go out for a Fight even though you’re too bruised and battered to do so.
What kind of gamers is this game suitable for?
I tried to design the game for a wide audience, at least wider than Posthuman. It’s not a gateway game of course, but I’d say it’s a gateway game for certain types of games that are generally reserved for more core gamers, such as miniature games. So I would say it’s a game for anyone that can stand more than 15 minutes of rule explanation and enjoys the theme. I am fully aware some people find the theme off-putting. If this were not the case I would have failed in delivering a unique style that fits the genre. So it’s for medium-light to core gamers that enjoy an edgy aesthetic and theme.
What is the mechanic-element of the game that you are most excited about?
Hands down the Fight turn mechanic. The mix of puzzle solving, die-rolling and luck mitigation and combo creation through skills and items attained in Montage turns is insanely fun. I’ve been playing this for 18 months now and I am seriously still enjoying every fight I run through, even on my own. It’s been great seeing testers so excited about it. In fact, I was very surprised to see very competitive gamers helping each other during Fight turns, just to be able to say “hah, I figured it out before you, sucker!” and still giving away the VPs to the player their helping! Reviewers have similarly enjoyed this mechanic a lot so I think there’s something novel there worth developing further.
“Vengeance” has already exceeded its Funding Goal in Kickstarter. What do you think is the main reason for its success?
I would see it’s a mix of glowing reviews for the system (including backers that have tried out the print and play version) coupled with Torvenius’ gorgeous and unique art and Titan Forge’s great miniatures. Finally I’d say the great video illustrated by Torvenius and animated by Fabrizio Cali (who also did the Posthuman one) along with Marvin Zammit and Jeffrey Galea’s fantastic, evocative track helped a lot. I’ve never seen completion rates of a video that high!
What else can we expect in the future from “Mighty Boards”?
We’re working on an expansion for Posthuman and I have two already sketched out for Vengeance, one involving a completely different way of playing it and another exciting Gang Pack. But we also have other designers that will be rolling out games under the Mighty Boards umbrella. Games of a rather different feel than my grittier ones. I would love to spill the beans but I think I’d be in for a scalping…
Learn more about Vengeance in our article!
Gordon Calleja was kind enough to provide us with some exclusive photos of Vengeance! Have a look!