This is Part III of a 3 part interview with the designer of the War Co. Expandable Card Game Brandon Rollins. Here is my review of the game: An Early Review of War Co. Expandable Card Game by Pangea Games as well as a mini-review by my friend Tim: Mini Review of War Co. by Pangea Games Also check out Part I and Part II of our interview.
Now, back to the interview:
Grant: What is the future of the game as it is called an “expandable card game”? Have you sketched out future concepts and expansions?
Brandon: “Expandable card game” is pretty much just a safe way of saying “living card game” since Fantasy Flight coined the term, so it doesn’t necessarily imply future expansions. That said, I’m definitely open to adding more cards if the game takes off. I write down notes when I have ideas, but I haven’t got anything sketched out yet.
Grant: How is the Kickstarter process coming along? What is your goal?
Brandon: It’s going really well! I’ve completed the video and most of the page is complete. I’m just working on receiving the last remaining artwork, figuring out how to fulfill rewards inexpensively and effectively, and getting the word out. I’m aiming for a Kickstarter goal of $10,000 to cover printing costs.
Grant: When does the Kickstarter start?
Brandon: I’m still waiting on a couple more reviews to come in first, but I’m aiming for August 15th.
“I’m aiming for a Kickstarter goal of $10,000 to cover printing costs…..but I’m aiming for August 15th.”
Grant: When do you hope to have the game produced and out in the public?
Brandon: Kickstarter backers will have their rewards in January, and I plan on opening sales up to the public when the last backer gets their reward.
Grant: What traps or pit falls have you run into with this Kickstarter process already that others should try to avoid?
Brandon: Where do I start? For one, I tried a Kickstarter campaign in the middle of the development of this game, complete with an unrealistic time frame and budget. From that, I learned a few things that future board game Kickstarter hopefuls should take note of:
- Finish as much of the game as you can before Kickstarting it. Preferably, get a bunch of people to blind play test it. That’s the gold standard.
- Get reviews. This is pretty much why you have to do number 1. The board game community has seen a lot of terrible Kickstarters come and go. Reviewers gain the community’s trust. Campaigns are all about trust.
- Shipping is a bear. You probably don’t even realize just how bad until you do the research. Learn as much as you can about it as this is the Kickstarter killer.
“Shipping is a bear. You probably don’t even realize just how bad until you do the research. Learn as much as you can about it as this is the Kickstarter killer.”
Grant: How much did you playtest the game? Have the changes been significant from that playtesting? Do you have any concrete examples?
Brandon: For me alone, I’d say I’ve played over 500 games. Lots of Twitter and Instagram followers have sent me DM’s saying they’ve blind tested the game as well. My observations and their feedback changed the course of this game for the better. I’ve made two significant changes to this game that I can remember. The first is that I changed it from being a “knock their defense to zero” game like Magic to the game it is now: “run your opponent out of cards”. That was somewhere around version 10 of the game, and that required massive rewrites. At the same time, I removed the random card distribution model that a lot of card games used and changed the game from being a “trading card game” to being an “expandable card game.” The second major change was adding counters. You don’t have to use counters to play and understand War Co., but a lot of new players find them very useful. I do, too. Until the most recent version, I actively resisted adding counters to War Co. because I wanted to remain minimalist. I changed my mind as I realized that adding pieces removed complexity instead of adding it since it took the memory burden off of players.
“…I’d say I’ve played over 500 games. Lots of Twitter and Instagram followers have sent me DM’s saying they’ve blind tested the game as well. My observations and their feedback changed the course of this game for the better.”
Grant: What type of games do you like to play?
Brandon: I play a lot of board games at Chattanooga board game meetups, but the ones I own are the ones I can play with my friends and family. That means a lot of lighter fare like Carcassonne, Patchwork, Codenames, Splendor, and Pandemic. They’re all a great relief after working heavily on my own game and business strategies. That said, I’ve gotten really into Twilight Struggle on Steam lately, even though the commie computer beats me eight out of ten times. (I also love Twilight Struggle on my iPad but the commie computer only beats me 80% of the time! -Grant)
Great information from Brandon Rollins on his upcoming War Co. Expandable Card Game. I have truly enjoyed my interactions with Brandon over the past month or so as I have had a chance to experience his game, see his passion about the game and see how it has all unfolded over the past few years. If you haven’t had a chance, I urge you to check out his website at www.warcothegame.com for more information on the game’s great backstory and the process. Look for this great game on Kickstarter starting August 15th. Good luck Brandon!