Kick The Box
Interview with Chris Dixon, Tug O’Lords Creator
I’m so excited this week. I had the privilege to interview Tug O’ Lords creator Chris Dixon in a flurry of emails. I would like to thank him for taking the time to answer some questions during his Kickstarter campaign for Tug O’ Lords.
Kick The Box: What are some of your favorite tabletop games?
Chris Dixon: Probably my favorite serious tabletop game is Battlestar Galactica. I love the intrigue of trying to figure out which side each player is actually on, and it’s really more about the personalities of the people playing the game than it is the game itself. That’s awesome.
Scrabble, Ticket to Ride, Smallworld, Smash Up!, War of the Ring, Settlers of Catan, and of course Axis and Allies get honorable mentions.
KTB: How many people do you have working on the project with you?
CD: For the most part, it’s just myself and my friend Jascha Frei that have put together everything you see. Jascha has been integral in figuring out manufacturing, fulfillment, distribution, and more. He’s pretty much the man behind the curtain.
I put together the Kickstarter project, media, graphics, and social stuff. I’m the man in front of the curtain.
The game itself, from playtesting to design has been both of us right from the start. The other members of Gigaloth Games have helped test and refine the game mechanics to some degree.
KTB: How long have you been working on this project?
CD: We actually had been bouncing around a couple ideas back in July when I stumbled across the King’s Armory Kickstarter project. Tower defense plus tabletop? Great Scott! What a great idea!
So Jascha and I began to talk about the old custom tower defense games in Starcraft back in the day. We remembered one of our favorite custom games was a “Tug of War” map where you sent marines constantly to their death, but had access to a variety of abilities, upgrades, and units. Then we asked ourselves: what would this look like in a tabletop game?
All in all, it’s been right about four months of blistering late nights from inception to today.
KTB: I see that Tug O’Lords Kickstarter campaign is a reboot. I’m sorry I missed it the first time around. What are some of the things that you learned from the first campaign that you are using the second time around?
CD:Our restart was a little atypical, as we got great news from our manufacturer that allowed us to reduce the price of the game by a good deal. There’s more information on our website on this, so I won’t go into great detail about that.
The greatest thing I learned was that backers are the lifeblood of your campaign. I suspected this the first time around of course, but being a new Kickstarter creator I didn’t know exactly what to expect. These are people that are not only helping you realize your vision, but becoming an organic part of that vision. It’s probably my favorite part about my Kickstarter experience so far.
KTB: Dixon’s website is http://gigaloth.com.
Smash Up is an obvious inspiration to your game. What other games inspired this creation of yours?
CD: Oh gosh. Well, I already mentioned the old Starcraft custom games. As the project page says, Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends to some degree had an influence on the premise. The way that terrain cards and creature movement works is roughly similar to the old Star Wars CCG.
Jascha and I both played the crap out of the Heroes of Might and Magic series too, and you can see some influence there in the creatures and Kingdoms.
KTB: I love the old Star Wars CCG. That and Netrunner were the two CCG’s I was really into at that time. Will you have tokens for effects such as Entangled or just damage tokens in the final product?
CD:More custom tokens is something we considered, but in the end we decided we would rather use as much of the production cost of the game on components that actually add variety to the gameplay.
While those tokens would be cool and maybe even convenient, would people rather have those or another Kingdom and Magic deck? I have a hunch it’s the latter, though custom tokens could be on the docket if the game gets enough support.
KTB: In the recent update, update #7, (thanks for the shout out, that is much appreciated), you also mentioned two vs. two team combat. And it looks like it is a blast! Is this something that you guys have been working on for awhile or something new that you are just now trying?
CD: Not new at all. Two versus two has been in the game design since the start, and was integral in the balancing of the decks and deciding mechanics of the game. Our most fun and competitive games to my recollection have been team games.
In fact, you can play Tug O’ Lords three versus three, or even four versus four, or more. The game scales however you want it to if you have enough decks, table space, and friends. Though you may need a calculator to conduct combat…
KTB: Did you up the amount of damage the castles can endure in the two vs. two version compared to the ‘normal’ version?
CD:Interestingly, while you think the castles would need more hit points in team games, we’ve found it’s actually more difficult to damage the castles. This is generally because a single player is more likely to be handcuffed by a bad draw or poor decision. The game is magnified in one versus one. In team games, a player can mask the shortcomings of his teammate to a certain degree.
This is shaping up to be an exciting game and an exceptional campaign. You can drop by Tug O’ Lords Kickstarter page here. Good luck Chris with everything and thanks again for taking the time to chat with me.