Aug 292014

Kick The Box Special

Interview with Brandon and Katherine, Creator and Artist for Nightlight



Nightlight is a 1-4 player cooperative card game that is available for a short while longer on Kickstarter. You and up to three of your friends will take on the roles of stuffed animals trying to stop the Nightmares from extinguishing the sleeping child’s Nightlight. 

I was fortunate enough to have Brandon, the creator of Nightlight, and Katherine, the amazing artist behind the artwork of Nightlight, take time out of their hectic schedule to answer a few questions.

KTB: First, Congratulations on the successful funding of your first Kickstarter campaign for your game, Nightlight.

Brandon and Katherine:  Thank you so much!  It’s humbling to see that so many people are interested in playing our game, and we’re excited to see photos and hear stories of people trying it for the first time.

KTB: What has been the most challenging aspect running your first Kickstarter?

Brandon:  Finding a shipping method for our international backers has been a challenge.  Since we’re limited to USPS shipping, it tends to be more expensive for international backers to order the game, but they are just as passionate about defending the Nightlight as our domestic backers.  But, we decided to eat a bit of the shipping to make it available worldwide (and even then, admittedly, shipping is steep).

KTB:What was actually easier than you anticipated while running your Kickstarter campaign?

Brandon:  Finding an audience.  Since this began as a fun exercise that a few friends worked on as a summer project, we were simply going to be happy if it got funded and a handful of people ended up playing our game.  The initial reaction was incredibly positive despite an almost entire lack of marketing; we were funded within the first four days!  We even had to have an emergency “What do we do about stretch goals?” meeting to handle the initial rush of funding.


KTB: How did the idea of Nightlight come about?

Brandon: I was working on a fan-game for a pre-existing IP with some friends, and once I started looking into how easy it is to actually get a game printed nowadays, decided to re-adapt the mechanics to a new theme.  Katherine and I were up late one night while I was working on it, and I remarked, “The against-all-odds survival theme would work for almost any setting.  Brits defending against Nazi Germany, an immune system trying to survive against a new viral threat, or even a teddy bear trying to keep a nightlight lit while a nightmare invades.”  Katherine’s eyes welled up with adorable tears at that last suggestion, so we rolled with it!

KTB: Did the mechanics or the theme come first during the development?

Brandon: It’s debatable.  I was technically working on a different game before we settled on the stuffed animal theme, but the “surviving against impossible odds” theme definitely came first.

Pirate-SMKTB: I love the artwork of Nightlight. It seems to portray the perfect balance of dark, fear, and child’s play. When you finally decided on the theme, is this style of artwork exactly what you had in mind or was it all Katherine?

Katherine: When we settled on the theme of stuffed animals defending against a terrible nightmare, I immediately thought of watercolor as a medium since it always exudes to me a very dreamlike quality. Watercolor has always seems very fluid and soft, and I wanted to create imagery that worked with the idea of hazy memory and soft textures. I also might have been inspired by recently playing a lot of Child of Light on the PS3!

KTB: How long and tedious of a process was it to create the artwork for Nightlight?

Katherine: It took about a month to sketch, finalize, paint, and scan all of the artwork to create the characters and nightmare enemies. All of the card art was created through old-school watercolors on physical paper. I sketched out the characters and enemies (sometimes several variations, but you’ll get more behind the scenes if you back the Artbook pledge!), then traced those designs onto watercolor paper and inked the outlines. I used watercolor paints and techniques to color and shade the designs, and then we scanned them all and placed them with the graphic layover in Photoshop to create a finished card.

The box art was the most intensive, since it was painted on paper 15 inches wide by 22 inches high!  I wanted it large enough to capture a lot of detail and still scale well.

tl;dr, Yes, it was a little tedious! But it was worth it. I was really excited to try something new and completely different than anything I’ve done before.

KTB: Four player max seems to be a trend of games lately, (or maybe it’s because I have a fifth player a lot of times I tend to notice it more), but has there been any playtesting using a fifth player?

Brandon:  We initially started development with six players in mind, but once we playtested a game that large, it just felt too long and muddy.  It also became a huge challenge to try and balance it with such a variable player number.  As it is now, the players aren’t (very) penalized for having fewer than four players; certain mechanics, such as the number of toy chest cards drawn each round, balance out the possibility of drawing more challenging enemies with fewer players, for instance.  When you are designing a game that could have one player or six, there are too many “what if” problems to balance.

Box ShotKTB: Have you already been working on expansions for the game?

Brandon:  This might bum some people out, but no.  Our main focus has been adding content through stretch goals and trying to make Nightlight as amazing a stand-alone game as possible.  It feels almost dishonest to start thinking of more ways to profit from our fanbase when we haven’t even released our first game yet, so we just want to reward all of our Kickstarter supporters with content that other games might reserve for expansions.

KTB: I know it’s early for you even to start thinking about another Kickstarter, but is there some other goodies that you and your team have hidden behind the curtain that you would like to give a peek?

Brandon:  Nicholas and Brandon have another game already complete, and plan to launch a Kickstarter for it once Nightlight is squared away and doesn’t require any more attention from them.  It’s called Midnight Market, and it’s a simple, fun party game where each player is a terrible thief.  You’ve all pulled off a huge heist, but some of your loot is worthless to you, and the other players may have loot that you want.  The goal is to be the thief who walks away from the table with the most valuable haul!  We’ll launch it sometime in October or November.

KTB: I just wanted to say thank you Brandon and Katherine for taking the time out of your busy schedule to entertain the questions. Your time is greatly appreciated!

Brandon: Thank you!

Katherine: Thank you!

About Jason Hancock

Ever since my early childhood I've had a love for card and board games.I am now married with two children that have moved out of the house and on to their own lives. This new phase of life has rekindled the old passion of tabletop gaming and lucky enough to have a wife who enjoys it also.

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