Tag Archives: Colby Dauch

Episode 53 – Storytime with James, Colby and David!

This one’s quite the epic, comprising of three interviews with designers who tell their stories in very different ways!

You’ll be aware of the work of James Wallis, ‘the godfather of indie RPGs’ – with games like Baron Munchausen and Once Upon A Time under his belt, he’s built quite the reputation in the gaming industry. Now he’s back with a blast RPG called Alas Vegas; a tale of amnesia, violence and life in the desert. We talk about the game, his experience with Kickstarter and much more. There’ll also be a few lies in there, but it’s up to you to work out precisely what is true…

Colby Dauch of Plaid Hat Games then returns to discuss how the company has expanded in the space of a couple of years from producing only Summoner Wars to having a massive range of titles in their catalogue. With new releases on the way including City of Remnants and a tie-in with the forthcoming Bioshock Infinite video game, Plaid Hat are moving up in style. There are also a few revelations about what they have planned for the future, including a brand new design from Colby himself.

Finally, David Malki! from the excellent webcomic Wondermark joins me to talk about a new game he’s co-developed – Machine of Death. Set in a world where the technology exists to reveal the method of your demise, Machine of Death has spawned a book (along with an upcoming sequel) and now a party game of ‘creative assassination’. Brace yourself; this isn’t your average dinner party extravaganza…

Want some links? You got ’em!

Direct Download link for the episode: https://archive.org/download/LMDEpisode53/LMD_Episode53.mp3

This episode’s sponsors are Artipia Games, promoting the rather charming Drum Roll on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/magecompany/drum-roll-the-board-game

James Wallis’ campaign for Alas Vegas: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jameswallis/alas-vegas-an-rpg-of-bad-memories-bad-luck-and-bad?ref=live

Spaaace – James’ company site: http://www.spaaace.com/

Plaid Hat Games’ site: http://plaidhatgames.com/

Machine of Death on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1234131468/machine-of-death-the-game-of-creative-assassinatio?ref=live

Wondermark by David Malki!: http://wondermark.com/


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Episode 32 – Essen 2011: Day Two

The second of four Little Metal Dog Shows live from the show floor at Essen! From award winners like Qwirkle and 7 Wonders to brand new releases, this one’s an epic. With twelve interviews with game designers old and new, this latest episode should give you a good flavour of what goes on at the world’s biggest board games fair… Download it here!

This episode has interviews with the following splendid people…

Christine Goutaland from Days of Wonder – http://www.daysofwonder.com/en/

Jeroen from Splotter Spellen  – http://www.splotter.nl/english/index.html

Repos Production’s Thomas Provoost – http://www.rprod.com/en/index.html

Kris Gould from Wattsalpoag – http://www.wattsalpoaggames.com/default.aspx

Flatlined Games Eric Hanuise – http://www.flatlinedgames.com/

Colby Dauch from Plaid Hat Games (who was really there representing Playdek) – http://www.plaidhatgames.com/ / http://www.incineratorstudios.com

Bart from White Goblin Games (and Mark Chaplin, designer of Revolver) – http://www.whitegoblingames.com/

Michele Quondam from Giochix.it – http://www.giochix.it/edizhome1e.htm

Susan McKinley Ross, designer of 2011 Spiel des Jahres winner Qwirkle – http://www.ideaduck.com/

Radoslaw Szeja from Kuznia Gier – http://kuzniagier.pl/english.html

Nobuaki “Tak” Takerube from Japon Brand – http://japonbrand.gamers-jp.com/

Anna Genovese from Ghenos Games – http://www.ghenosgames.com

I’m joined – as I was for Day One – by Paco Jaen from GMS Magazine, a fantastic site and podcast that you really should check out over at http://www.gmsmagazine.com/

Episode 33: Day Three should be available soon…!

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Meanwhile at the Front: Summoner Wars on iOS – Preview

Well, there was no chance of me getting to GenCon this year – it’s too far to travel and my bus pass just isn’t enough to get me over the Atlantic. A few weeks back I received a message from Plaid Hat Games‘ founder Colby Dauch with some exciting news – his fantastic creation Summoner Wars was coming to a handheld near you (assuming you’re part of the Apple fanboy team). How gutted was I to not be able to see it? Very. But I knew a man who could help – Patrick Nickell from Crash Games. Here’s what he saw.

We’ve all been there before, we hear that our favorite board game is being developed for the iOS and we chomp at the bit for any tiny peek or piece of news that is out there. Weeks and months go by and finally the game is in the App Store ready for purchase and we scream with glee as we watch the download meter progress. At last, the game is ours! How did we ever live without it?! Oh no, wait a minute – this can’t be right. The excitement quickly fades and the initial disappointment sets in as we realize that the iOS version looks nothing like the game we know and love – even worse, it doesn’t even play anything like the game we want. Thankfully, fans of Summoner Wars will not have to experience the above mentioned scenario… In fact they will have quite the opposite experience.

Recently (at GenCon 2011) I had the privilege of sitting down with Colby Dauch of Plaid Hat Games, designer and creator of Summoner Wars, as well as the team from Incinerator Studios to take a very special sneak peek at the Summoner Wars App that will soon be released for iOS systems. Since the physical game was out on a demo table for GenCon attendees to learn it was quite easy to look over at the physical game to compare while being given a guided tour of the game on the iPad. The transition of the look and feel of the physical game compared to the App was nearly seamless upon my first initial view and things only got better as the demonstration progressed. Fans of the beautiful art that makes the cards stand out in the physical Summoner Wars game will not be disappointed as that same imagery is found in the digital game. To sweeten the pot just a little bit, the developers at Incinerator Studios have added scrolling background artwork to some of the cards and there are plans to add in more movement based art to indicate damage and health in the final version.

The phases for the game were clearly listed so that players will know exactly where they stand currently in the game. Double tapping a card brought the card to the center of the screen and enlarged it so that players can take a detailed look at any of them if they need to jog their memory. It really feels like you are playing the actual board game with each and every move yet the cumbersome task of set-up, break down and shuffling is simply bypassed in a digital game. Many of the features that board game conversions lack when initially launched on iOS (such as online functionality and pass-and-play) can certainly add to an immense amount of fan frustration ; that will not be the case for Summoner Wars.

The development team at Incinerator Studios has taken great care to ensure that right from the get go players will have a strong list of features that include: Quick Play that allows players to jump right into a game, “Hotseat mode” which allows pass-and-play for 2 to 4 players, a tutorial mode teaching new players the basics, an adjustable difficulty level, a rule book, glossary and – most surprisingly – the ability to save multiple games. Players can expect to be able to have asynchronous online play, integration with Apple’s Game Center as well as player profiles with achievement tracking. Time is being taken by the development team at Incinerator Studios to ensure that the quality of Summoner Wars is second to none. The game will be released as a Universal App for the iOS which means both the iPhone and the iPad will support the application.

After having the opportunity to sit down and play Summoner Wars on the iPad I am truly impressed at the level of quality and gameplay. While there were some aspects that weren’t quite fully developed they were unimportant, minute aspects of the game and after seeing the level of quality and the commitment of everyone involved I am sure the game will be extremely sharp by the time it is ready to be released. When I pressed for a more exact release date I struck out and was told that Fall 2011 is the aim but after seeing how much is already done I cannot help but think that it will be sooner rather than later. Summoner Wars on the iOS is a must buy for not only fans of the game but for anyone that appreciates polished, very playable games in the App Store.

Don’t forget, the analogue version of Summoner Wars was reviewed here (and the new version of the game, the Summoner Wars Master Set, is due for release by the end of 2011). Thanks to Patrick for checking out the game! You can find him contributing to the excellent Dice Hate Me podcast as well as on Twitter: @Crash_Games)

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Fight Test – Summoner Wars review

A long time ago, way back in the mists of time on episode two of the Little Metal Dog Show, I had the pleasure of speaking with designer Colby Dauch. If you’ve not listened to the interview yet, I heartily recommend giving it a go – he’s an interesting guy who had such a belief in his idea that he went and set up his own company in order to publish his first game. While this is a risky thing to do, Colby had something very useful in his back pocket – the game he had developed was actually bloody good. The industry picked up on it, hype grew and grew, and his company – Plaid Hat Games – had an actual hit on it’s hands. That game is Summoner Wars.

As with many games that I really enjoy, it has a basic premise that is easily understandable. Just because it’s simple to pick up doesn’t mean that it’s easy to win though – Summoner Wars actually requires a fair bit of strategy in order for you to beat your opponent. Ostensibly a two-player game (though you can expand it to three and four players with extra decks), you play a Summoner (half magician, half warrior) with one mission – be the last one standing.

There are two starter sets available at the moment, but both come with the same set-up. Two decks of cards (one for each player), a bunch of dice, a playmat, wound tokens and the rather concise rules. Playing is easy – after your initial set up of some units, you draw a hand of cards (up to your limit of five) and see what you have. Move around a bit, perform some attacks – ranged or hand to hand, checking attack values and rolling a few dice – discard any cards you think you can get rid of and… well, that’s it really. Discards actually are useful in this game though – they help form your magic pile (as does killing an enemy unit, so be aggressive!), which you’ll need on your next turn in order to summon new units, so the question is this: do you sacrifice some cards that could prove useful later on in the game in order to bring on less powerful attackers, or hold on to them hoping your current forces can hold out? Striking the balance between what you’ve got and what you could have is the key to victory in Summoner Wars, and will have you constantly wondering if you’ve made the right decision…

There’s also something else to consider – walls. These are cards with, curiously enough, walls on them. They’re IMPORTANT. If you don’t have a wall on your board, you can’t summon anything to fight on your behalf and will lose the game in a spectacularly quick fashion. As with everything in Summoner Wars, they are vulnerable to attack, and even though taking one down is hard there’s an immense satisfaction when you manage to destroy one – victory for your forces will surely be at hand! There’s also event cards to consider which you can play for free that will help you even more – stealing magic from your opponent’s pile, for example.

Each faction has different abilities, strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll invariably find a side that fits your playing style. As I mentioned, there are two starter sets available at the moment – Guild Dwarves vs Cave Goblins and Phoenix Elves vs Tundra Orcs. Some factions are your smashy smashy powerhouses, leaving trails of destruction in their wake, while others rely more on tactics and ranged combat, trying to stay out of trouble while picking off enemies from afar. I must admit that my favourite set to play with is the Vanguards deck, one of the two recently released expansions (along with the undead style Fallen Kingdom) – they have healing abilities alongside their abilities to dish out a fair amount of pain.

There’s only one gripe I have with Summoner Wars, and it’s very petty – the board itself is a bit meh. It doesn’t detract from the game, and I understand why Colby went for a printed paper affair – it keeps costs down and means the game is nice and portable. Cards can sometimes slide around a bit, but after a few plays you’ll get used to it. Plaid Hat announced a while back that they’re making a ‘premium board’ available, and it looks utterly lovely – sure, you’ll have to pack the thing separately, but it’ll solve the (admittedly very minor) issue.

All in all, I’d deem Summoner Wars an essential purchase. I’m normally happy to play pretty much anything, but if someone suggests getting a game of SW going, I’m there. You’ll learn how to play it in next to no time, develop your own strategies within a few plays and find yourself wanting to experiment with the expansions as soon as you can find them. Even better, it’s a truly independent release, and Colby should be applauded for believing in his ideas. I look forward to whatever he and Plaid Hat Games have coming up next!

Summoner Wars is published by Plaid Hat Games and was designed by Colby Dauch. It’s primarily for two-players, but can be expanded to three or four with the addition of a second starter set. Games take about 20-30 minutes, and you should be able to find it in all good gaming stores for around £15-20.

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The Little Metal Dog Show – Episode 2

The podcast is back again! After the first episode, people’s responses have blown me away – over 550 subscribers already. Thank you, every single one of you. I suppose a follow up is in order, so here you go: it’s another Little Metal Dog Show available now for your listening pleasure. Episode 2 has a talk with Tyma Hughes from http://www.zappedgiants.com – the UK’s leading site for all things regarding the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game (and lots of other ones besides). There’s also a great interview with Colby Dauch, designer of Summoner Wars and founder of Plaid Hat Games. You can grab it on iTunes now, or if you’re impatient right-click and save on this link right here.

Thanks for listening!

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