I am mildly terrified by war games. With hundreds of small tokens dotted around a board (and generally not enough small plastic blokes) they generally appear to me to be the most difficult things ever created in the name of entertainment. One that’s caught my eye, however, is a Kickstarter project called Warparty. I caught up with designer Larry Bogucki to talk about the game and get his opinion on gaming in a crowd-funded world…
So, Larry: first question! Who are you and what’s your story?
My name is Larry Bogucki. I’m 42, married and a father of two girls. I work for a large insurance company in the NorthEast United States and I’ve been playing games all my life, starting with D&D at the age of 9, back in 1978…
That’s a pretty long gaming career, Larry! What are your favourite types of games to play?
I don’t play the RPGs much at all any more. What I mostly enjoy are strategy games and wargames. I’ve always been a huge fan of chess and speed chess too. Really though, I have been working for so long and with such focus on Warparty that I haven’t had much of a chance to play much of anything else for the last several years!
Warparty is, of course, your project that you’ve currently got going on Kickstarter. Could you tell me a bit about it?
Sure. Warparty is a two to four player fantasy based wargame where the forces of evil (the Undead and Goblins) face off against the Humans and Dwarves; it’s two-on-two action. Players control large armies, conquer territory, build cities and upgrade the infrastructure of their capital cities with the ultimate goal in mind being to destroy one of their enemies’ capitals. It’s economically driven in that the more territory you control the more income you have to spend on troops – they can then be placed in any of your cities. You can also use the income to build more cities and upgrades.
There are also dungeons in Warparty that can explored. Each army has a warrior, priest and wizard hero – these are the only people who can explore dungeons and they’ll fight monsters, gaining valuable treasure if they’re successful. Heroes are also powerful fighting units in their own right and can be used in the game effectively against enemy players without ever exploring dungeons.
Each army also has its own research or technology track to unlock more powerful units. For example, the Undead can summon the Bone Dragon into the game; this is their most powerful unit, but it takes a lot of upgrades, time and resources to bring it into the game. There are ten or more different unit types in each army and more than half are unique to that army within itself. Each army very much has its own feel and flavour. It’s a game that’s played with hundreds of counters and almost two hundred cards.
Wow – it sounds pretty in depth! What kind of level would you say this is pitched at? I mean, would you say you should be a pretty experienced gamer to tackle Warparty?
Well, we’ve done Warparty demos at many conventions including at the World Boardgaming Championships where we had over sixty people give it a try. We’ve had all kinds of people play Warparty and while some folks will pick up the nuances a lot quicker than others, it can be enjoyed by anyone who likes strategy games and the fantasy genre.
So you mentioned that you’ve been working on Warparty for some time… How did the design come about? What led you to take that leap and try to get it out there?
I was inspired by Axis and Allies but I’ve always been attracted to the fantasy genre, going back to my roots with D&D. We’ve played Warparty for over a decade as a house game but never really thought we could get it published. A few years ago a number of folks who played kept encouraging me to try to get it published so we took it to some conventions and got some really good feedback from complete strangers. The best feedback they gave me was when they came back to play it a second or third time. It was then that I knew I had to see it through.
So did you shop it around to any publishers or did you go straight to Kickstarter?