Producing Fun #11: Andrew Navaro - Creative Director

Producing Fun #11: Andrew Navaro - Creative Director

Producing Fun is a podcast about making tabletop games from a product perspective.

Andrew Navaro is the former Head of Studio for Fantasy Flight Games where he was responsible for leading the aesthetic execution (illustration, graphic design, even story) of their famously gorgeous looking titles. Now he runs Earthborne Games, a new studio setting out to Kickstart Earthborne Rangers: a sci-fi, environmentally themed card game in the mould of Arkham Horror that embodies its sustainable values in its physical production and manufacturing. In this episode we talk art direction, licensed artwork, building story rich card games and the business challenges of creating environmentally sustainable products.

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I'm James, and this is producing fun, a podcast about making games from a product perspective. Welcome to Producing fun. My guest this week is Andrew Navarro, Creative Director of earth born games. Andrew is an industry veteran in the world of art direction, and is perhaps best known as the former head of studio at Fantasy Flight Games. There it was his job to oversee the entire artistic direction of FSGs numerous blockbuster game titles, encompassing everything from graphic design style to endgame writing, specifying and shaping the incredibly high level of artistic execution that FFG’s titles are known for now running his own studio, he's setting out on a very different but equally substantial project, launching earthborn Rangers onto Kickstarter, a story Rich Card game in the tradition of Arkham Horror with a science fiction environmental theme. anyone who's designed such a game will know the huge complexity and volume of work involved in creating balanced story driven card games like this. This already makes them seriously ambitious projects. But that's not enough for Andrew, he wants to go even further. In the first ever example I've heard of the blending of theme and manufacturing process. He wants the product to embody the game's values by making every element of the physical production itself as environmentally sustainable as possible. In this conversation, we take a deep dive into our art direction, and more importantly, good art direction works. Briefing effectively to artists How to Choose the Right artists for the right projects, and how even props can lead to better results. We get stuck into the sometimes heartbreaking lifecycle of licenced IPs, how earth born Rangers subverts players natural inclination to kill everything in sight. And the tough business end of bringing environmentally sustainable products to market. I personally learned more in this episode than I have maybe ever done in a single episode of producing fun before. So if you have any interest in art direction, or sustainable manufacturing, you may too. We join, just as Andrew is explaining how his career got started. In customer service. FFG


I told the story a few times. So I get the short version. I started there in the customer service department. So I did parts game parts replacements I also handled, organised play, price support, and I answered the phone when the phone rang, and I just started there. I just looking for a job I had there were local to me and I had contacted them previously, like trying to get freelance illustration work, didn't really work out. But then when I was looking for a job, my wife suggested I'd check the website and see if they were hiring they were. So I went and interviewed for the job got it worked in customer service for about two months. And then a graphic design position opened up. And then I applied for that whipped up a  portfolio over a weekend, showed it to Christian Peterson the next Monday, got that job. That's really where my career there started to kind of really just take shape. So I started working on just some smaller projects. And then eventually I got put on like bigger and bigger projects worked on a lot of really, I think a lot of really influential games on the current marketplace at the time, you know, the first version of dissent and horror line of work and everything but the core game got to work hand in hand with a lot of like really great designers worked on the Game of Thrones card game. Then eventually started working on games workshop stuff back when we got like the workshop licence. So I did a lot of graphic design for that.


This is when they was they were licencing out different games. Yeah, a lot of them were games that were from the 80s that they'd made right, they wouldn't do a kind of one thing to rerelease and get another company to breathe life into.


Yeah, so I did work on the the FFG edition of warrior knights. Also that that was the addition of theory of Dracula.


Cool. That was original Games Workshop game. Yeah,


uh huh. Yep. And then the actual like GW stuff proper, like the Warhammer and Warhammer 40k stuff, a lot of graphic design for about six years and then transitioned into being the managing art director. So until that point, the art burden on the company kept growing and growing as we were working on the living card games in particular, card games, living card games like CCGs require a lot of arts as we added more and more living card game lines that art burden just could continue to grow. And then we are also doing more and more RPG lines with Games Workshop RPGs where we just kept adding one every year, and it's not like when we added one we got rid of one just kept adding them on. So the burden just kept growing and growing.


How many art pieces would each of these lcgs and CCGs need,


we got a lot of use out of pre existing artwork, especially for the Games Workshop stuff. So we were able to pull from the old Sabre tooth for those from those old like Warhammer CCGs. And also from Games Workshop's own art library must have been very useful. Without that would have been a lot more, but games like Game of Thrones or like Call of Cthulhu we were commissioning art for all those sets, I use to know all these numbers off the top my head, it's been a while since I've really thought about them, you know, for like a CCG set, it was approximately like 300 pieces of art, we didn't work on CCGs. At that point, it was all lcgs. So it was about 180 ish art pieces per cycle. So that's like every six months, we do about that many pieces of art. And then if there was a deluxe expansion in there, too, there'd be like another 40 to 50 to 60 pieces on top of that in that period of time.


That's also a lot if you think about, like level of execution, right? Because a lot of those pieces of cardboard include characters, and it seems like one of the things I'm only beginning to learn now really, is that that is a lot more time consuming than something like a landscape or like a still life. Generally, or maybe not.


No, no, no, not I would, I would not say that. I think the speed with which a piece is completed depends pretty much entirely on the person who's working on it. Oh, interesting. And the level of communication and the relationship between the artist and the art director. So that's a big part of, of art directing, and art directing at that level, when you're, you know, required to get that many pieces in a relatively short period of time. As I say there's like, you know, 160 180 pieces per cycle, that's for one game. So at the time, when I took over as the managing art director or position was created, then a woman named Zoe Robinson, who taught me so much about art direction, she's really amazing. She, I wish I knew where she was working. Now she's working at an RPG company, doing art direction for them. But she is extremely knowledgeable, has helped a lot of artists along the way. And she really helped me a lot, kind of like teaching me the ropes of art direction. She's just very intelligent. Like before she got there. The art FFG was it was fine, it was fine. It was good. But like when she got there, the level of artwork ramped up immediately. Interesting. So she was really able to go out, find artists who were good at doing specific things and then get them assigned to proper pieces. So that we could like take advantage of their talents.


So what year was that approximately? 


That was around 2009 or 2010? Right there. Yeah, that's when I, that's when I started, like she started there around 2008. I think 2007. When you're commissioning a piece, you really need to consider you know, the artists skills, and make sure that you're giving them something that is appropriate to what you're looking for also style wise, as long as you there, as long as they're working in a style that you like, they'll be able to work faster. But if you're asking them to adapt their style to something else, or something specific, that's maybe not exactly what they do naturally, that'll make things sometimes more difficult as well.


So it could be that, for example, where I've had some recent not challenge, actually, because the outputs been incredible. But we've been working, for example, with an artist who certainly all the character work seems to take much longer, it's probably because I guess maybe that's just not quite there METI a, in the same way that it might be for another artist, possibly,


it's possible, it also might just be their process, you know, some some people just take longer, it's difficult to rush, what for most people is just a natural process. If you're used to working a certain way, it's hard to change. And I think that's, that's true for anybody. It's true for artists just as much as as for anyone else, like artists had habits, just like everybody else does. In trying to break those habits or trying to push yourself into an area or a speed that you're not necessarily comfortable. You may sometimes end up like wasting more time than gaining time. So a lot of it's just getting getting to know your artists, and having a good pool of artists that you can pull upon draw upon and knowing like oh, and I see in artbrief Oh, this would be perfect for this person, or like, oh, this person would love doing this art piece. And that just makes the whole process go way, way smoother. If you can hand an artist to brief if you feel like they'll understand it implicitly. And then they turn around and give you something great. And you can say Oh, that's awesome. Done. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, there are definitely times when you're working with artists where you know, you send them a brief and maybe it doesn't come back quite how you want it. I mean, obviously you do sketches and thumbnails and do as much as you possibly can tell, avoid a bunch of irritating for everybody irritating revisions on final artwork, give someone something that comes back like nearly perfect, that's like great. And then that then frees you up to do the more delicate and dedicated art direction on pieces that maybe need a little bit more work. You know, when you talk about you know, character pieces taking a while longer, you can get, again, depending upon the art director like and how picky you are, I tend to be very picky. Some things I see and I can't unsee them or I want them a certain way. And I really want them that way. But you know, trying to maintain like an open open communication with artists so that you're, you know, you're not irritating them too much usually helps. But we know we're working on like perspective and proportion and foreshortening and all that stuff with figures. You know, if you're trying to do like a piece where like I'm reaching forward right now for audio listeners, you know, if I'm reaching toward you, and I have like a hand like coming at you whenever the hand like behind me like wielding a sword, and like my head's thrown back. Like the more complex the pose gets, the more the artist needs to understand and have an implicit understanding of anatomy. And use reference to make sure that nothing's looking weird. The biggest danger whenever you're working on pieces, and trying to do something ambitious with poses, or perspective, or foreshortening or like point of view, is making sure you're working off of reference. And if you're not working off reference, you just kind of winging it, it's gonna be a lot harder.

Speaker 1


It's really fascinating. You say that I had a previous guest on the podcast, Annie, who runs a miniatures company in the UK specialising in this sort of believable female miniatures. One of the fascinating things she said that part of her process was taking a selfie of herself when she's briefing into her miniatures sculptor, so that she could make sure that the pose was an anatomically possible pose. I don't think outside of this, I would ever have just thought that Oh, right, you might take a picture of yourself just to show that it's possible. But since then, she started noticing how on some people's models, they really haven't done anything like that. And he was human arm can't do that. Things like that. And so I can see how it could be a real trap in a way that again, I would expect people wouldn't necessarily assume I wouldn't assume from the outside.

Speaker 2


Yeah, well, FFG we had an art department eventually, it took a little while to gather all this stuff. But we eventually had like an entire like weapons closet, like spears and axes and swords and guns and

Speaker 1


actual props. Yes to take to take photos with that. Oh, my god, that's amazing. Yeah. Did you ever just occasionally use it to go laughing or something?


I never did no. Yeah. Wow,


that's amazing to think you're using props to kind of accelerate the process?

Speaker 2


Yeah, no, it's every, the more you can communicate and more I have time to communicate, the easier the process will be. If you just dump a brief on an artist and let them go to final without any direction, that's fine. But you need to be happy with what you get. Because it's not really fair to the artist to go back and say, Oh, I actually wanted this thing like, it has to be back and forth. But in my experience as the managing art director, and then later as the creative director, whenever I would direct pieces, like I was almost always directing really key art pieces, and the packaging, artwork and all that stuff. So I was always personally responsible for, like the big marquee pieces. And some of that stuff, I've worked directly with artists on it, I just kind of go through one of the other art directors as a kind of a conduit, so that if they ever needed to blame anybody, they could blame me and then they could, you know, it's it's just helps kind of smooth things over.

Speaker 1


So you act as a bit of a bit of a shield in some ways as well.

Speaker 2


Yeah. And I found that very helpful. But there were a few artists that were were pretty relaxed, and we had a good working relationship with where I just work with him directly. But I sell that because I was fortunate enough to work with just some of the best artists in the industry, really, really amazing artists. So directing them was pretty easy. All told, their dedication was like top notch. They're like just amazing artists, they're really professional. They want to make it right. And they're excited to work with direction because it helps push them in ways that maybe their imagination doesn't go naturally. So I found like the artists who I've enjoyed working with the most, it's always been more of a collaborative process where it's a it's a back and forth. Well they'll they'll put some stuff out there and they're like, oh, okay, that's cool. I thought about this and like, oh, yeah, that's cool. What about this and it just keeps making the piece cooler and cooler. I think a really great example of that is the dark heresy role playing game second edition cover that I worked on with Matthias Collaros we I think we did a I think we did an article on FMC website about process of that. That piece like started as like a single panel, you know, eight and half by 11. And then eventually turned into this big like wraparound double wide thing with all these amazing embellishments all over it. It was really fun to work on, I kept, you know, dumping more money into it to ask him to do more stuff. But I think the end result was really, really great. It was it was really fun. And I've had a lot of experiences like that working with a lot of amazing artists,

Speaker 1


that must be a bit of a challenge on your position. almost seems like if you have that many amazing artists around? And is it, it gets to a point where you're thinking, Oh, God, I could kind of go overboard here and I could commission all this incredible stuff. But I have to work within a within a budget. Is that? Is that a bit difficult? Sometimes?

Speaker 2


Sure. Yeah, it will you do absolutely, absolutely have to work within a budget to a point in the art budget. And you know, putting up air quotes was always something that it was an easy thing to blame for, like, Oh, why is this project so expensive, all it's the arts fault. And that was like, it's something that we had to fight against for many years and eventually won that fight. Because at the end of the day, arts also sells the product. So if you're not paying for the art, then you don't really have an attractive product. So at the end of the day, you should pay for it.

Speaker 1


It seems like a pretty straightforward investment to me. Like certainly like I mean, every time I looked at it, the spending on art, which obviously can sometimes be quite substantial. Oh, yeah, it is. But I look at the end, I think about the the actual how much the product will sell for what's the key part that is it? It seems like a very, very good investment, relatively, that will pay back huge dividends.

Speaker 2


Yeah, you know, obviously, you need to work within your own budget, right. So like, I'm working with an artist right now who's on staff. He's my one, my one staff member that goes to show you like how much I value artwork. I'm not being paid right now he's being paid. Yeah, absolutely. But you know, he's not gonna be able to do all the artwork for the, for the game we're working on, eventually, I'm going to have to go out and, and commissioned some artwork from additional people, I know that my desire, what I want to be able to pay is not what I'm going to be able to pay. So you know, make sure you're finding artists who believe in the project, you can offer them things beyond just like a straight dollar amount per piece, to help kind of offset the expenses. And something you can do as a smaller company, you know, that, that I've been doing with artists I've been working with is not really putting any limitations on what they can do with that artwork, once it's made, they can sell art prints, they can do whatever they want with it, you know, they can't put it in another game, but they can continue to use that art piece to generate income for themselves if they if they want to. And that can make a really big difference, especially when eventually when people are going to be able to go back to shows I know a lot like a lot of artists, I know like they make a lot of their income on going to like game conventions and, and selling art out of their out of their booths.

Speaker 1


And these tend to be sort of game artists.

Speaker 2


Yes. Yeah, absolutely. So like, that's, that's a huge component for them. So like, it makes it challenging when they're working on games that are licence, like for Lucasfilm or something like that, where technically, they're not allowed to do anything with them or sell them afterwards. So in those instances, you know, we'd always try to pay more, knowing that, yeah, they can't really do anything with this RPS other than just we'll print it here, and then we own it, then we, you know, FFG doesn't even own it, then, you know, the licence or owns it, there's really nothing you can do with it. So always try to make those little bit more commission rates.

Speaker 1


So that's actually that's an interesting question. So when you are creating something for licencing, because obviously FFG had so many different licence properties. And I think it's, is it the exclusive licence holder for Star Wars and kind of tabletop games? Pretty much? No,

Speaker 2


no one does exclusives anymore? Yeah. I mean, Hasbro has that licence, mostly FFG, eight, or I don't, who knows? I don't know what their what their current relationship is. But they had a sliver of it. But the world of the exclusive licence is kind of gone by the wayside these days, as evidenced by the the raft of Dune games that are coming out. Oh,

Speaker 1


yeah, exactly. An archive of things going back to the 1970s that are just suddenly reappearing. Yeah.

Speaker 2


Well, you know, and like Marvel's a good example to like, looks like everybody has the Marvel licence.

Speaker 1


Yeah, that's true, isn't it? Because there's there's FFG. Make what make an awful game, but loads of other people make multiple games as well.


Yeah, exactly. Yep.

Speaker 1


But in this situation, the licensor. If the artworks been created for the licence property, the artwork as well goes back to the owner of the owner for the licence. Oh, yeah. Oh, that's it. See, now I hadn't realised that at all.

Speaker 2


It's really depressing. I remember when, when the Games Workshop licence left FG, I had to gather up all of the art that we had done, put it on a drive like a giant like, I think multiple drives and then I ship it back to GW years of work we've done like, hundreds of 1000s of dollars poured into artwork. And it's just like, here you go, here's some amazing artwork for you. It but it was also like very flattering then to see like, you know, because Games Workshop obviously is like, I hold them in very high regard when it comes to art very inspiring to me, especially like growing up. I wanted to be an artist for games workshop when I was young, to see some of the art that we helped make them like turn up as our prints that you could buy on their website. It's a pretty high honour.


Oh, wow, that's really cool. Yeah, there's

Speaker 2


not a lot of stuff that that we made that they've been turned around and then presented for sale. But there's been a couple. So like, those couple is like, Yes,

Speaker 1


we did it. Oh, that is very cool. So a little bit, it's a little bit like watching your children kind of go out the door, and they're going off to university, they've left the home, you know, around anymore. But sometimes you're seeing these pieces get, you know, getting given pride of place sold directly as art prints by games workshop. Yeah,


so that was very cool. That was very cool. With the

Speaker 1


art direction, How much stuff do you do yourself in terms of creating the art and the process? Because I've often wondered this, it would obviously be very helpful. For example, if I had a little bit more illustrative skill, I think when I was briefing things to artists, I'd be curious to understand how you did that.

Speaker 2


And FFG, you know, we worked on so many games, we had just so many titles that we were constantly working on, at the height of the art department, we were getting in roughly like 3000 art pieces a year. Wow. And then, and then being responsible. You know, for the for the covers of the games. We've been working on multiple of those at a time, too. So sometimes I'd have like a very, like crystal clear idea of like what I wanted for a composition. But other times, it'd be like, Man, I don't know, I go to the developers. Luckily, if you're surrounded by creative people, there are no shortage of ideas. So going to like developers and writers and saying like, Hey, can you give me some some options for what we could do on the cover here. And then they'll like sometimes I'll put together like, you know, three or four things and send them to an email and they might not ultimately be what we use, but it's like a good starting point. And then you can, you know, kind of get your brain going.

Speaker 1


These just be like ideas, like kind of verbals for concepts.

Speaker 2


Yeah, yeah. So like more like so like a written brief. If we didn't have like, really anything like super solid, we provide a written brief, but almost almost all of the cover illustrations that I directed, I put together a sketch first, like a thumbnail sketch, and then hand that off to the artist and gives you a humungous, like Head Start on the process. Because that way, you don't really have to futz around too much with you know, figuring out what the composition is, and moving things around. And you know, what have you, they have a good start starting point, and then they go from there. So like, sometimes those would be like, really, like, relatively detailed. And other times they'd be, you know, just a couple little scribbles. But I'm very, very visual director, even after I would hand off those thumbnail sketches. As the art comes in. I'm constantly like, cutting things out in Photoshop, moving them around drawing painting over them, changing details and stuff, trying to be very, very explicit. In my direction,

Speaker 1


was you even you'd be you'd be saying taking a copy of their work and you'd be adapting, but when sending it back.

Speaker 2


Yep. Oh, interesting. Yep, yep. And then and then astronauts in that because think of my first year, art directing, I was working on a piece for the Deathwatch role playing game artist named Michael Philipe. Did all those covers, most of them. There was like one instance where we've gotten the cover, like almost it was it was done. And then I went back to him was like, Oh, actually, can we do this? And like I did this, like really big invasive thing. He was like she was not happy about. I can imagine not from that moment on, I made sure that anytime, if I ever needed to change after a certain threshold, that always meant more money, along with the revision. It's almost less about the money and more about like, I thought this was done. And now I'm still working on it than anything else. Because they have schedules to keep to because they have other clients out of respect for the artist process for their own personal schedules. Like I said, I worked with very professional people, just trying to be as clear as possible with every note so that there was as little room for interpretation. If I knew precisely what I wanted. I'll ask for precisely what I want instead of just writing out in general idea and then you know, putting ours hands and it comes back and then I need to do it again. But if there's something that that's going on that I don't necessarily know the solution to kind of circle it talk about what is not feeling right to me about it? And then, you know, give it back to the artist as a question. You know, like, what this is what I'm feeling about this space? What can we do here? And then kind of creating that dialogue. It's a lot of fun

Speaker 1


that yeah, that it does actually sound sound really cool. It's really interesting to hear this because there are so many aspects of that, that I've done in terms of the artistic process for both magnate and the new game that I've got coming out. I'm hoping to announce fairly soon, a bit later this year. That one's been interesting a second project, because it involves an enormous amount of art. So we're starting relatively for me. So we have about 80 pieces of card art we're doing for this one, when when you were telling me about the the amount needed for LCD or 3000. I think, before getting involved in this and someone said 3000, over like 3000, it's a big company, they probably could just go through that easily. This time around. I've worked briefing in 80 pieces with someone who I've got a great relationship with you super easy to work with. And even then the volume that that represents to properly conceptualise all of those pieces, brief them out, and then go through that iterative development process so much work.


Yeah, it is a lot of work. So it's great to

Speaker 1


hear, to hear your your precious that sounds really exciting. I definitely think some some useful tips in there for me certainly think about in terms of how you annotate and getting really close with the pieces of data, right?

Speaker 2


Yeah, and it's like an investment of time, right? The pieces I was working on are like V pieces, like, that's the piece that's gonna live on the shelf forever, you can spend the time working on that it's really important. Because that's the thing that's like selling the product on the store shelf. When it comes to the individual pieces. Now you really have to be making sure you're budgeting, you're budgeting your time, and making sure that you're getting it as good as you can get it in the amount of time that you feel like you can spend. Otherwise, you know, you'll be working 24 hours a day, having a support system around around you, when you're when you're doing projects that require a lot of pieces is invaluable. Part of the process at that Fantasy Flight was especially at the end, which we got into like, as you can imagine, like over time, we eventually gotten to like a very regimented schedule, where everything, I wouldn't say it worked like clockwork, maybe like a rusty clock. But eventually everything worked. Where the game developers would put essentially put together and the producers on the game would put together the first draft of like all the art briefs, and then those would go to the art department. And then whatever art director was working on that project would then review all the art briefs, ask questions, make sure that they had proper reference for everything. And then essentially like groom those, the grooming meeting before those then were passed along to artists. So then it looked at the briefs, and figured out you know what the needs of the set were, and then they go to solicit artists in batches. So that was always done with a essentially like a blast email out to a curated list of artists that we thought would work well in the project. They'd respond, say like, Yep, that sounds cool. I'll take three pieces, or some people always or I'll take 20 pieces shouldn't do that. Usually,

Speaker 1


I have to be careful not to give these people what they want, right? Because I guess they're probably going to overload themselves quite easily.

Speaker 2


Exactly. Well, sometimes, you know, a lot. Some for some people, it's just like, you know, they look at the rate, they multiply the like, I would like this much money. So I'm going to ask for this many pieces. But anyway, you get those responses back to the artists. Then you take the artists list that you got back and responses, which usually like about 50% of your list will get back to you. And then you take those artists and then start to apply them based on their skills and portfolio to the art briefs on the project.

Speaker 1


That raises a lot of different questions for me, because there's so many more people in that process obviously then involved than I am at the moment.

Speaker 2


Yeah, it's that's like big business, Art Direction stuff like art department stuff. It's not typical at all.

Speaker 1


So first thing kind of to note from that is that it seems like nearly all of the artists are contract, whereas you're the developers and writers tended to be in house. Yes. Okay, interesting. Why particularly Did you follow that approach as a business rather than have like a small, like permanent salaried art team? Well, it

Speaker 2


was never my decision. I always wanted to have more artists in house. Like I said, I the first hire I made with my own company was to hire an artist. So at the time, they had one bad experience hiring an artist. There's a lot of things done at FFG that were like this one thing went wrong once so we'll never do it again. And that's kind of what happened is that they had an artist on staff didn't go great. And then they just never did it again. It was just given the sheer volume of art that needed to be done. It's not really practical to have artists on staff doing all that work. Eventually, during my tenure there, we had more and more art directors who were also artists. You know, I worked with a lot of a lot of great artists slash art directors like Taylor Emberson is one of my favourites. He's gone on to be a senior art director at Wizards of the Coast who worked on magic now, which is very cool. I was very sad when he left to work there. But it was his dream. And I was like, go follow your dream, but I can't tell you to not do that. And Preston stone, I'm not sure I'm not sure to work there anymore. But he's another great artist, and Jeff Lee Johnson, very talented artists, also good art director and really amazing person. So I would always look for opportunities for those individuals to also do artwork or helping form or would be commissioned more through their art. With Taylor, I tried to get him to do like more of his own stuff that we could then pass off to artists as reference so that his style could then kind of permeate. Preston ended up like working on the character illustrations for descent, Third Edition. And he did some more art in there, too. I don't know that I left before that project was complete. And Jeff is an artist, he he started as a contract artist, and then then came on board as an art director. So his art is, you know, all over the place. And he stuff, I think he would do a piece from time to time just to kind of fill in the gaps. But it's also really handy to have artists on staff to like address licensor concerns like if, you know, submit a piece to Lucasfilm they're like, oh, yeah, we want the Stormtrooper like, right. Sometimes that feedback doesn't come back for months after the artist has already moved on, right. And sometimes they, you know, say like, oh, you know, that art piece we approved two years ago, that's no longer approved, we need to change this thing. So having artists on staff who could then do that work on the piece that we have on hand, it was super, super helpful. So that's where like having artists, on staff at a company of that size is valuable, to help kind of inform the arts that you're going to then commission or to help six art pieces, if they need to be adjusted, after that artist is like, you might not be available to make that adjustment themselves or have the time or the will or energy to do it.

Speaker 1


That sounds enormously practical. Because if the sometimes the approval process with the licensees or the licence ors, I think technically are the ones that are taking that long. Yeah, that must present so many challenges. The whole process having constantly waiting around for the idea owner to get back to you to say yes, there's this Stormtrooper looks okay.

Speaker 2


Yeah, well, it was a lot of back and forth like it's kind of constant back and forth. There's we had weekly meetings with with Lucasfilm to do approvals. The danger is that they can always rescind their approval at any time. So even if it's something was approved, in a moment, when the rubber hits the road, they might end up disapproving it and you know, have like last minute like the things about to go to prints, you got to change it. And there's no time to wait.

Speaker 1


Oh, wow. Did you ever get that process happen after the print run had begun?

Speaker 2


No, no, no, no. All that stuff's approved. That that's on them after that. Yeah. Yeah. We've had to like retro actively change things after the things have been printed. But yeah, they, it would take a lot for them to say no, you got to, you know, burden that production.

Speaker 1


Right. Yeah, that makes that makes total sense. That makes total sense. Well, there are so many more ins and outs that I would actually love to explore another time with you, and spend a bit more time talking about how FFG works is you talked about for example, like a producer role. That's what I've not heard before in relation to board games. So I'd be really cool to explore that another time. But I'm really aware that today, one of things I'd really like to talk to you about is your project. So Earth born ranges. Why don't we just start right at the beginning and tell us what what the whole project is all about?

Speaker 2


Okay. So earth born Rangers is the first game from my own company, my own studio earthborn games, founded on the principle of making board games sustainably, and putting, like environmental sustainability at the forefront of production, instead of it being kind of like, oh, yeah, we could maybe do a little bit of that. And earth born Rangers is a game that thematically fits within that as well. For the first game, I wanted to try to do something that was what I felt would be, you know, relatively easy to accomplish sustainably, so I chose to do a card game. If people are familiar with games like Lord of the Rings, living card game, Marvel champions or Arkham Horror, it's a game that's very much in that same lineage. It's it's a similar style of game.

Speaker 1


A LCG sets a living card game, the idea would be to release multiple expansions over time for guys to plan and it's a co op game with a small number of players.

Speaker 2


Yep, it's a co op customizable card game is not a living card game is that is a registered trademark of asthma day. Ah, of course it is. I forgot that. Yeah, it It doesn't really mean anything anyway anymore. Living card game, really all it really means now is it's non collectible. And it's also a style. It's like a CCG style, like level of complexity, it's texts on cards, and cards do things and that the tradition of like the CCGs of old, all descended from, you know, matches the gathering. I had originally envisioned it as a, you know, hey, this will have like monthly releases. But as I just explained, like all the work that goes into, like making something like that possible, I don't have those resources anymore. So, so the game is right now, and honestly, if it does, well, yeah, I'd love to do expansions on it into the future. But for the time being, it's going to be a course and an expansion that'll be available during the Kickstarter, which is, which is pretty exciting. If that, you know, that takes off, then we'll, obviously we'll do more. Yeah, so the game takes place in the far future of Earth, year 4441. Humanity has not very long from now essentially, like, come come together to undo the harm that we've done to the earth. It's a sci fi game, it's a sci fi setting, instead of it being like, kind of like boring solutions, like we do now. Or it's like, oh, yeah, well, you know, we'll just dredge the ocean and, you know, pick up the trash. It's more about like, creating, like Cool Science Fiction projects. So what ends up happening is that the people Earth, they agree, like, oh, we gotta, we gotta turn this around, or else we're not going to have a home to live on. And then they kind of like break off into their own communities to create these, these projects that will then sustain and clean up the Earth called, like, the generational projects, these last four, take hundreds of years to complete. They result in all sorts of like fun, sci fi things like you know, weird creatures that then go around and like eat up toxins and things like that, or like the like geothermal generators. And these large arcologies are self sustaining. People have played SimCity or whatever I apologise, yeah, are, you know, just like large scale, self sustaining cities that are completely encapsulated within themselves, and are completely like, essentially neutral in terms of their impact on the environment. And then people kind of just hunker down over the next several 100 years as Earth heals itself and goes through a lot of tumultuous change. And then years and years and years pass, and eventually, people leave the arcologies as they start to break down and then kind of resettle the earth. The thing that was really interesting for me and for Sam, Gregor Stewart, the guy who worked on creating the setting with me, was trying to imagine a culture that what people would be like, you know, if it was ingrained in us as like a core belief that, you know, we need to care take the Earth, we can't live without it, we're part of it. And how different would we behave? What would we value, if that was just kind of ingrained in everybody. So trying to get into that headspace was really interesting and fun, then that led to us creating this culture that the game is based on who live in the, what used to be called the Rocky Mountains, called Rocky Mountain. They're called Rocky Mountains in the future. They live in this mountain valley that is relatively recently settled, they've been itinerant up to that point, and they've settled there a little over 100 years ago. The valley itself, it has a lot of like really cool secrets in it. It was like home to an old like science facility that fell into disrepair over 1000 years ago. So there's all sorts of vices really cool, cool, like weird structures and ruins and you know, the ruins but they're weird sci fi ruins. And the valley itself, in a world full of strange creatures and mysterious ruins. The valley is like, is even more so trying to get to the bottom of like, why the valley is the way it is, what the creatures there are like and what they're doing and, and living in that environment and trying to be in harmony with that is really at the centre of the game's narrative. You know what I said? It's like those other cooperative card games, how it's different is that it's not a game. That's where you're going to sit down to play and immediately be assaulted by everything in the environment. It's not a game that prioritises violence, you can respond to situations violently if you want. The idea is that you will be able to work with your surroundings and achieve what you're trying to achieve in a different way. So it's been really interesting to watch people play Who are you know, familiar with games like Arkham Horror, where like, like an animal like come down and like be in front of them? Yeah. And their first response is like, oh, I need to do to kill it.

Speaker 2


You don't need to kill it. I mean, you could, but you don't need to. Oh, yeah. So like, it's been really fun to watch that dawn on people. It's a play because you it definitely provides a different experience. So what you'll be doing in the game, like I said, there'll be a narrative campaign to it, it kind of has a thing, kind of different that it's bringing to the table is it's a kind of like an open world video game in a way where you'll travel around the map. And, you know, if you're familiar with the Lord of the Rings card game that was like plot the those like plot decks, or like the, or like the agendas, I always forget what, what the bad guy side of the Arkham Horror deck is, yeah. But anyway, it has those stacks of cards, right, where you're kind of progressing through them, and you're kind of progressing the narrative, this is different, where you can imagine the valley itself is like a giant stack of cards, it's like, you know, like 40 ish, different locations, you can go to, each time you go to a location, you're putting all those cards into place. So you'll, you'll be making progress on those locations and exploring, you'd be pulling cards out of the deck, it very much in the same fashion as you do in those other games. But when you complete a location, you can then go to one of the other locations that's adjacent to it on a map. And based on the trail that leads from one place to another that'll inform the deck that you're that you're going to be playing, right,

Speaker 1


that this is very cool. I mean, to me, that sounds a little bit like seventh continent, in terms of some some ideas that are a little bit a little bit similar to that. Yeah,

Speaker 2


well, so seven continent, you're building a board, you know, so like, that's a card game, but it's kind of a board game, because you're creating tiles, and you're tiling those out. And it's also like seven continent has a very fixed narrative. This is more there's a, there's a main story to it. I mean, there will be like main quests, and that will proceed in a nonlinear fashion, there'll be branches along the way, but so that'll be the thing that kind of pull you through the valley and take you on the big journey, you know, top to bottom. But there are also, you know, side quests and things that you can do on the side, and there's emergent gameplay that comes out, it's not as fixed as like a seventh continent, where you're like, oh, there's that thing there. And like, Oh, I'm gonna do that thing. And then the next time you find it, it's like, it's always the same, the story will kind of change and evolve based on what you do. Right? There might be things that, you know, you might play through a campaign of the game, and you just might never do with a certain quest, or meet a certain character, it's entirely possible or, you know, like, the order in which you might encounter them can also change the way that you perceive the game. More like

Speaker 1


a kind of computer game RPG, right? Where you there are whole bits, you just might never see it like something like a boulders gate where there's like, so much stuff, you might never do all of it. Right. Right. Yeah,

Speaker 2


if you wanted to, you could just do critical path and just do the main the main story and you know, just go from point A to point B, and you know, you'd have I think you'd have a really good time with it. But the game also tries to encourage exploration, and reward you for when you spend time in a place and kind of dig through the deck and, and find what's there and then interact with the people or like explore ruins and, and things like that.

Speaker 1


It doesn't sound very ambitious from a component perspective and has the cards. But from a design perspective, that already sounds like a pretty chunky product. Just yeah, the game design and writing needed to pull that off, especially if you've got a lot of flexibility for players. That's so much work. Do you have other people working with you on that bit as well?

Speaker 2


Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I'm, I'm the creative director on this project, which means it means more than it's meant to ever on any other game I've worked on. I've been creative director on lots of projects that, you know, I've had varying levels of responsibility, like on Arkham Horror, like my main responsibility, there was the fiction, and the artwork.

Speaker 1


So the writing as well as the visual stuff. Yeah, yeah, that

Speaker 2


was for that was all part of my thing. So but you know, like, I was writing it myself, we just work with the writers, we talk about what we're going to do, and then they'll submit it approve it, but it was your job to kind of bring it together into a coherent vision, though. Yes. Did submit visions and then we talked about it, we'd get approve it and there's a lot there's paperwork. There's less, there's a lot less this kind of paperwork. I've done a lot of contracts for this. So I've had that paperwork to do in this game. I've been very involved in every aspect, you know, from design to writing to the artwork, everything. So yes, I'm working with a lot of other people. So I started off working with Adam and Brady Sadler, veteran designers, they worked on street fighters Ultra quests, Warhammer quest, the adventure card game. Brady Sadler's like a big cooperative card game fan. So like I knew right away, I was like, Hey, let's start with them. Let's get design go and see what we can do. So we had like a core design from them that we started working on or working with someone who I'd worked with in the past at FFG. Named Brooks Pflueger, Levitt, brought them on to work on the content for the game. And then while we were working on that, like it, which I've done multiple times of the project, got pretty dissatisfied with where it was, and then I went and then I did a redesign of the project of the game. And we worked on that version for a while until this past winter. And then kind of at the end of the winter, beginning spring, I brought on another veteran designer Andrew Fisher, who I worked with a long time at FFG. And he's taken over the design at this point has really helped it become really what my original vision for the game is, which is this kind of like this open world exploration game that focus more on story and exploration than on being oppressed by a foreign entity. That was like trying to ruin your day, which is kind of the biggest difference between. Obviously, I've described a lot of differences between this and those other games. But I think the fundamental one when it comes to like the structure of the game round, and the experience is that there is no opposing force. There's no mythos there's no, from Arkham, there's no like Celeron and Lord of the Rings, there's no villain from Marvel champions, there's no one trying to wreck you, and ruin your day and make you lose. It's more about exploration, and challenging yourself, and trying to accomplish as much as you can like in a day. And a day is like a game term, as much as you can in a day to push the narrative forward.

Speaker 1


And there's some in the story, presumably objectives, the characters are trying to trying to compete for their settlement, their village, whatever they're trying to go out and achieve something in the world.

Speaker 2


Yeah, there's lots of exploration like going out and finding things. There's search and rescue missions. There's all sorts of like fun things, as the community tries to be unbalanced with the world around them, and sometimes making mistakes and needing to rectify them. There's also a lot of like, more traditional kind of adventure elements to it. There's an adventure II style story that happens, but I don't want to spoil any of

Speaker 1


that. Oh, of course. Of course. It's I mean, I have to say, that's very, very cool, though, certainly as the way you've explained, it has made me just only more interested in it as well. That's really cool. I think, whenever you sort of have, the future has become the past. I think that's, that's always very rich, creative veins mind because it gives you all that really interesting things to play with around this sort of forgotten technology that's already way futuristic compared to our time, but is the ruins of their world. That's so cool. And I can't think of another certainly another board game like that, that comes to mind that has that kind of setting, which is really, really cool.

Speaker 2


Yeah, yeah, it's a it's been fun to have this like mix of technology and nature, the property that's probably you know, closest, and the in like, popular media is probably like Horizon Zero, Dawn, that's still trades a lot in human misery and people being awful to each other. And that has technology in it. But it's often treated with suspicion. And this is more like, technology has just evolved to be very practical. The technology that these people would have is, is also very advanced. But it's all in service of working with their hands and doing things directly as best they can. So like I was talking to Sam about making is like imagine they have the most amazing farm tools, whatever tools you need. It's like it's the most incredible tool you've ever seen. It's like It's like almost like space magic. How cool technology is. It's definitely kind of in that. I wouldn't say it's a hard science fiction setting. It's definitely more in that kind of like Star Trek realm where there's hints of like real technology and in modern thought in there, but it's been taken to the nth degree to make it a cool like fascinating, fantastical thing. Yeah,

Speaker 1


because that that lets you tell sort of interesting human stories and lets you tell, again, a more compelling adventure narrative, and if you have some very hard sci fi, where everything is very realistically extrapolated, but it ends up in some very weird, challenging places that make it sometimes hard to tell stories. I mean, it's funny, you say this, I've literally just been rewatching bits of Star Trek Next Generation, and keep stumbling over the fact and like, boy, if these transporters really existed, I just don't think their society like this routinely back people up. That's the first thing that I don't I don't quite understand so. So I think your your that makes all the sense that if you approach it approach with that deliberately soft science fiction approach, and I think that sounds unbelievably cool. Oh, it's awesome. Can't wait to try it will be the first time it'll be possible to play test the game or play it in any form.

Speaker 2


So we'll be showing playthroughs of the game during the Kickstarter, we have a what we're calling a vertical slice of the game, which is a, you know, not necessarily like anything that will be in the final product, but it will give you a very good idea of how the game will play it. You know, I mentioned that large map. It'll be like a smaller portion of that map that will kind of contain the demo to once those rules are in a more digestible form for the for the general public. I think we may make that Available on Tabletop Simulator. We haven't on Tabletop Simulator right now, but it's really unattractive. I don't want to show it to anybody. But we'll have, we'll have a pretty nice printed version that we'll be showing on the team covenants. If you're familiar with Team covenants, they are a American retailer, they do a lot of awesome card game streams are probably like the most experts in card games on the internet. I've they know everything about every almost every card game, it's amazing. So they'll be doing live streams of that every Monday during the campaign. So people will be able to watch and check it out. And then yeah, we might make that demo available later on. But this is a Kickstarter, this isn't like a like a seam on Kickstarter where the product is done. And you are pre ordering finished products, and you're just, you know, you're gonna get a thing, and it's gonna look just like the thing. No, this is the people who back this project are actually backing the project, you know, if it's back, if it's successful, the better we do, the more amazing we're gonna be able to make it. We'll be finishing the project over the next several months, hopefully being done, you know, by the end of the year, so that we can deliver the products next spring, summer.

Speaker 1


And so yeah, so probably what you're doing, presumably have vertical slices, because there will be actual content that you're creating on the back of the Kickstarter, like the artwork and some of the scenarios and the storyline elements of those.

Speaker 2


Yeah, yeah, we have all the storyline built, we have a lot, we have so much writing done, we have a lot of cards done, you know, a lot of the work is done. But but the playtesting for card games is really, really important. There's a lot of interactions, like in every card game I've ever worked on, changes often throughout development, sometimes up into the last minute, because you just need to make sure you get a feeling right. Right now it feels very, very good. But you know, we have more content to make, there's so many interactions with the different cards that come out of the deck, there's so many ways that you can build your own decks, yours really need to carefully play test it so. So we'll be starting that up again, shortly after the Kickstarter, like this fall, once the dust settles on, it will be starting up playtesting again, so hopefully, I've already gotten a lot of people asking to play test, I'm building a list. So hopefully, after the Kickstarter live even more people who will be interested in playing, because the more people we have on it, the better. Luckily, we have a lot we also have a lot of art to do. So that'll take time. We have a fair amount of writing to do, they'll take less time. But there's there's plenty of other things to do follow that testing and development is happening makes

Speaker 1


makes tremendous sense. Yes. I mean, think about it, as you said about card games, even what little I've been involved in development of them. The complex interactions, as you say, means that there's just a vast amount of what I like to call empirical playtesting, which is just literally play testing the game through observation, you can't just sit with a spreadsheet mat out and go, well, that will balance because you just don't know. And then the other way this project is is ambitious to come back to this point about the production is this really interesting meeting point of theme and production process, which is kind of a new one to me, right? Because theme and mechanics. That's something we're very used to as a discussion. But it's a game about a future concerning questions about sustainability in the environment. And you also want to try to produce the game in a way that is sustainable as possible. Exactly. What's your kind of battle plan? Dare I say? For that bearing in mind? Yeah, the quite a few challenges to making this really work?

Speaker 2


Yes, no, absolutely. I've been talking to several manufacturers over the past year, seeing what's possible, like through like, the main channels. So you know, I've spoken to like, you know, manufacturers in Germany, and in the States, both both of whom are relatively green already, you know, so they do a lot of things on their own. And I think that's really good, like whoever we work with, will all want to be able to say that they're, you know, carbon neutral, or maybe they use like alternative energy sources, or source their materials from suppliers who do the same. But you know, working with those larger, more established printers, it's a little more difficult to do things differently. Like if there's like one component, like if I say, Hey, I would thinking about doing this cardstock in an alternative material, the response is like, well, this is our cardstock so because you know, they're big, right? So they have to but they buy that that cardstock in massive quantities and that's what allows them to do the pricing the way they do them. So there will be challenges there for sure. My hope is that we'll be able to look at every component in the game and know where it came from know what went into its, its creation like know where that if it's, you know, if it's traditional Paper, what forest did that come from? What supplier gave that to us? And what was their process for harvesting those trees, creating that paper stock? How was it shipped all that stuff, I'd love to be able to say for each of those things, this is how it was done. Like you said, thankfully, it's a relatively simple production. Insofar as that where there's not a lot of materials like we'll have the cardstock, we'll have the material for the rulebooks, the material for the rulebooks, I think you'll have a lot more latitude there to try to do different things if you wanted to maybe do like an alternative fibre. That wasn't paper, there's a lot of options there. We'll have chipboard for the for the punchboard. There are options there that that could be recycled, that can also be native, also sustainably sourced FF done SSC, or even done through an alternative material. And then we'll have the packaging. So the idea with the packaging is that we'll make it as as streamlined as possible, the core set will will also have a little storage system in it. So the course that box intentive it will be that's where you store your collection. But then the additional products like we have two additional card products, one of them is the ranger card doubler. So in traditional copy of card games, that the coppers card games that that FMG is produced, or you know, any of those lcgs. Oftentimes, you have to purchase two core sets, in order to get to get a full play set of cards, for earth born Rangers, we'll have a full play set of cards in the standard core set, just like Marvel champions does. But you know, kind of similar to Marvel champions, Marvel games is a little bit more diverse, because you can't actually make all the heroes with a core set, you can only make four in earthborn Rangers, you'll be able to have everything you need to play with four players. But when you get to that fourth player, their options are going to be very limited. Right? Yeah, yeah. So it's like, you know if but so if you want like a lot of customization, and you want to be able to like double up your ranger types you want to be able to because you're part of the game is also you're creating characters instead of playing as predetermined personas. So you'll be able to create characters that have more commonalities between them if you want to experiment with that type of thing. So the Ranger doubler is ranger card doublers. there for people who want that the single player two player experience, you probably don't need it again, unless you're like a big time enthusiast, and you just never like to like break up your decks like that's also good for that. But it allows you to have those cards without the waste of purchasing a full core set.

Speaker 1


does the auditing of the supply chain. Going right back to things like the forest, as you said, there's the energy use and the supply chain, which is something it's really interesting think about in terms of where are the different partners in the process, all deriving their energy from because the thing that big companies have struggled with a bit around to work out whether they're like net zero or not on carbon emissions is like, fine, we are on our own production process, maybe even our energy sources, but what about our suppliers, energy sources? And then the third part is that as you said, there's really two things. There's a product design question, and how do you design the product to actually you're really smart about it to minimise waste. And that makes total sense to me the idea of saying, Well, look, if you're a super fan, you probably want this extra thing. And presumably you can design that with quite minimal packaging. And then if you are a regular person don't feel they have to buy two boxes, and one of the boxes is going to end up just being immediately recycled or thrown away. Because it just is all a bit surplus to requirements when really most players. So the non STL level players. I actually don't need all that extra content.

Speaker 2


Yeah, exactly. So we'll have that net, like you said, that will be in a very minimal box. So that'll essentially, it'll just be a brick of cards and a very simple package that will be 100% recyclable or maybe compostable, that'd be great. And then we have the campaign expansion, which is similar number of cards to the ranger card doubler. And that will come with mostly it's just cards and then there'll be an additional book with it. So like that, that's the one thing that I've been, whatever we do with that, I want to make sure that that packaging is as minimal as possible. And the book is the is the thing that makes it complex, because we could just do another brick of cards, but then there wouldn't be a book, the book itself, you know, is much much larger. So trying to figure out a way of of doing that. So that maybe it's like super flat and like the cards are all kind of like in a grid or I'm not sure the best way to do it, but you know, something to try to make that like super, super compact whenever we do. And those are the those are the main products and we'll have a few add ons and things too. But I will be doing some play mats, those will be all natural rubber. Instead of neoprene. We're also going to have an add on for some Deluxe tokens that will do it in a in a bioplastic. That's relatively easy to do.

Speaker 1


This would be a one that would break down the natural environment quite quickly.

Speaker 2


Yeah, it would break down the natural environment. It's it would have no petrochemicals. custom tooled and moulded bio plastics are pretty much indiscernible from from petrochemical plastics. At this point,


I'll be a lot more expensive or similar kind of price.

Speaker 2


They're a little more expensive. Yeah, that definitely everything's more expensive. I know how much this cost to do in China. I looked at the price and like, oh, my gosh, this is like, why am I doing this the hard way, but it's good. You know, I think it's important. I feel like that's where a lot of people kind of like break down the process is they look at the cost, like, oh, we can't do that. So I'm trying to hopefully prove that, yeah, we can do that. And people are willing to support it and happy to support it. How much? Hopefully that's what will happen, how much

Speaker 1


do you think it will change the price point of the final part to the consumer,

Speaker 2


it doesn't really change the price point a whole lot. Honestly, the price point for the course set, we're going to be offering it for $80 in the Kickstarter, but it has about 500 cards. So like, you know, by comparison, like a Marvel champions course that maybe like 350 ish cards, this has, you know, a couple 100 more cards. So it's like 20 extra dollars, if you actually like do like the dollar per card math on a, like a cycle of, you know, LCG cards, it's less expensive, but their retail, the retail price will be $100 USD. So it will be more expensive. But it's also costing a lot more to make. My the margin on it is not anywhere near. And when I say margin, like the the profit margin for the publisher for scoring games is nowhere near what it is on a game like Marvel champions that's like mass produced in China. That's one of the biggest things that gets in the way of other companies going this route is that they see the expense one, they're not interested in making less money. So they're not going to make that decision. And two, if they were kind of okay with making less money, they're really afraid to charge what it's worth. And to ask fans for support. If you you know, buy a copy of this game on Kickstarter, obviously, if you back at you'll, you'll be saving, you'll be saving money. But you know, even if you were to purchase it out in the world, you'll know that you are supporting something that is that is really good. And it was done thoughtfully. And that was done with a lot of attention to detail about every bit of the process from beginning to end. And you can feel really good about the thing that you bought. And on top of that, it's gonna be a really cool game with a lot of really amazing content, which has value in and of itself. So yeah, so So yeah, so it's it is more expensive, but I'm hopeful that people will be, you know, supportive of it because of what it stands for.

Speaker 1


Completely. I'm sure they will I'm sure they will I was just intrigued to hear that you actually do plan to do it as a silver as a retail product. In some ways I can imagine that's, that's challenging. Because there's a question about box size and box, look in the kind of box you have to do generally, generally, always generally considered that in return anyway. And secondly, if your margin is a lot thinner, that can be really hard to meet, like distribution or retailer margin points. With something like that, because even with a regular game made in China, people often don't realise that the publisher is not seeing like very much price at all. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's interesting. So he just just going to take a bit of a hit on the retailer side of it, and and then just and then the packaging wise, how'd you how'd you kind of go about navigating that

Speaker 2


one, not really gonna change anything, what I'm planning on doing for packaging, there won't be any excessive packaging. This is still envisioned as something that is more envisioned as a direct to consumer product. But I am open to working with distributors who are supportive of the vision, whoever I work with on it will also need to support the vision and get down with what we're trying to do. But I feel like I don't know if we can actually, you know, support, like the distribution model, at least not in the States. I do feel like it can support working with individual retailers, three, not three tiers, but maybe two tiers, I think it'd be worthwhile. But obviously the the more that we can sell direct, the better. That would be really, really helpful. But you know, starting off as like a your own Web Store, your mileage is gonna vary how much you know, traffic, you get how often people actually come and purchase from you directly. So long term, I would love to be able to sell like more direct, short term, I feel like the message behind the game, the message behind the mission is really valuable. And the more that we can get that out there, the better. So if there are retailers or distributors or foreign publishing partners, like just announced today that we're going to be offering a German edition of the game during the Kickstarter, from frosted games in Germany, who also share in this vision of sustainability partners like that, who really care. getting them on board, I think is is really important. So yeah, I'm willing to do that and you know, maybe taking a little bit of a hit in the short term and in service of the long term goal of, of hopefully changing changing the way the industry approaches these things?

Speaker 1


Yeah. Oh, it's very cool. And it's very laudable. It's something that I do think about a little bit occasion myself thinking about how we can do certain kinds of projects. I think, certainly for some of them, like with magnate was just far too complicated to explore to do that one. And unfortunately, in, in Europe or in the US, for example, certainly, I would love to explore some of those kinds of options, just because I think it's, I agree with you. I think if we can make these kind of changes and make them work, I think it's so positive. I think it's such a cool project. I can't wait, this Kickstarter. Sounds really exciting. And I can't wait that long.

Speaker 2


It's not long now. Yeah, we'll be launching on the 27th. So yeah,

Speaker 1


fantastic. Well, absolutely. I just want to say thank you so much, again, for joining me today. There are so many questions that I still have for you. So we'll definitely do another one. And yeah, when we do, maybe after your Kickstarter launch, or wait, the manufacturing process, it would be really cool to see how you're getting on both in terms of sustainable production, and that kind of development process as you begin hitting all of those kinds of issues and working out how to get over them. So please do come back again.


Yeah, thanks for having me, James. It was really great.

Speaker 1


Producing fun is produced by naylor games. You enjoyed the show, follow us on Spotify, Stitcher or other major podcasting platforms. Remember, producing fun is also a product, and it thrives on feedback. So please leave a review wherever possible, or simply send me your feedback directly. You can message me on Twitter at NaylorJames or write me an email Until next time.



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