If you’re following the funded but still live Kickstarter for Raid & Trade then this is an interview for you. We ask about plans for the games and stretch goals. Alternatively, if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about and haven’t even heard of MAGE Company then this Q&A will act as a good introduction for the international board game company.
What is MAGE Company? Who are you, where are you and what to do you?
MAGE Company is more than a company, it was our dream since 2001 to make board games. At that time we could not open MAGE but we were designing games, preparing ourselves for the future. Year by year we finally opened MAGE at 2010 originally in Bulgaria but now we also work in USA too and moving forward to grow our line. MAGE Company publishes all kind of games. We do not focus on toys, or miniature games and so on. If we like something, we publish it. My work has to do with the financial stuff of the company and the public relationships. Of course we all help each other here so you may find many times to playtest games, or design new projects.
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How did you get started?
We were funs of board games since kids and at the end of 2001, I and my partner Mike decided to make a new cards game and since then we just make games. This is our like and our work. It was tough when we opened MAGE Company since we had to prove that we are not some jokers playing around but people who had a vision and a program. I don’t think we could do something different from what we do right now. As you can understand, our whole life is full of games :)
You’ve run some successful Kickstarters and are currently doing one for Raid and Trade. How important has Kickstarter become?
For us is quite important cause more people see and evaluate our work. BUT it changed the market both in good and bad ways. Why is that. There are people who want to publish games and use KS as the mean to connect with the marker but also there are those who just play with KS.
Tell me about the team that’s worked on Raid and Trade?
Well Charalampos is the original designer of the game but the game has changed a lot from that point. He gave us a prototype. Then we asked from Malte Kuhle from Germany to work on it, to develop it, add more ideas, cut some stuff so Malte did it. Then I, Mike my partner and 2 more folks, George and Theo helped us with the game’s final stages. So the game was in a constant phase of changing rules every week for at least 2-3 months until we found the gold line! Add to this team the illustrators, the miniature sculptor who had to make the minis according to the gameplay, the rule editors etc. You need about 10-12 people until you have a ready a good prototype and the playtesters come and the reviewers and give feedback and then again changes. Charalampos is from Greece as well as I am too. Mike is half Greek half Polish, Malte is from Germany. We also have some people in US. The sculptor is in France, the illustrator is in Canada so imagine to talk through emails, Skype, phones. Is a nice and well made madness :)
Can you talk a little about the design process?
Checking the prototype. If we like it we make a contract.
Then we see further the game and send it to one of our team to develop it more and deliver to us a game based on what we have asked.
Then we take the game and start checking everything. art, costs, progress, development, final components. etc.
We find the artists, sculptors if needed, the appropriate factories and we build the game checking always the costs and at the same time we have playtesters from several countries who give us feedback.
At the final stages everyone work on the game as you can understand.
When all this madness ends we send prototypes to reviewers and design the campaign we will make for the game and then the marketing and sales part begins. This is how it goes pretty much, however each title I give you here has many subtitles. We need 1-2 years of preparations before we start the marketing stuff and depending on the game.
Can you talk about some of the stretch goals for Raid and Trade?
First we have the Outpost miniature. The Outpost is a place in the game where you can visit and through a series of Actions you can collect Favor Points. And this is one of the winning condition! so it’s a cool component and you will need it during all your games. Then we have 2 more goals with new event and quest cards which are exclusive for and they are exclusive items those 2 goals. We watch always with this matter. I don’t know what happens to other campaign but we keep our word on this matter as we want people to trust us.
After that we have prepared metal coins and a scenario so stay tuned!
Who is designing interesting board games these days?
I think the smaller publishers cause they have the will to do great games. We know the big companies and how they work and each time we see some games and we wonder.. what the hell is happening? You know… At the same time we see many gems from smaller ones and that’s good. It means that the creativity is not lost yet!!
Are there any significant differences between the American and European board game markets?
I believe yes a lot. For example the artwork. American markets likes more digital and adventure artwork while the Euro marker focuses mostly on simpler themes with few exceptions mostly from Poland who create heavy games regarding the art. Also the mechanics.. in Euro market the mechanics in the games are based mostly on mathematic models in order to create a strategic feeling in the games + there is a combo of mechanics that affect each other.
What can we expect to see from MAGE Company next? What projects are you working on?
After Raid and Trade, we will launch on December a campaign on Kickstarter a small expansion for 12 Realms called: Ghost Town and is a new scenario for the game. On January we launch the expansion of Hoyuk, Hoyuk: Anatolia where we extend the gameplay of the basic game and around on April we launch the last box of 12 Realms, the 3rd edition called: 12 Realms: The Last Story.
Other than that we already have chosen our titles for the next… several years but we do not reveal anything yet since is too early. When the time comes, we will spread the word and let you know :)