Dan goes inside Originz

This week, Dan explores the campaign of the comic-book themed card game now on Kickstarter, Originz. Dan asks about player counts, play time, and preparation for this super hero campaign.

ORIGINZ - The Superpowered Card Game project video thumbnail

Originz ^

Why don’t you start us off by giving us a brief overview of Originz?

ORIGINZ is a multi-format complete strategy card game in one box.  Players can choose from 12 different pre-constructed ready-to-play decks that are based on an iconic superpower Origins.

From the campaign page

Each deck offers unique mechanics, flavor and combos. Players can also construct their own decks by combining cards from different origins, allowing them to become the super-powered Hero or Villain of their wildest imagination.

Players will appreciate the game’s streamlined mechanics including double sided hero/villain ability cards that allow players to choose to the good or evil side of their favorite Origin.   It also features an innovative “deck is your life” mechanic, which means a player’s health total is the number of cards left in their deck.  No tokens or trackers required!

The box comes with everything players need to play and set up is extremely quick. The game is easy to learn so it’s perfect for casual family game nights or for experienced card gamers who enjoy strategic depth and formats like draft and sealed.

The game seems to have some depth and strategy, but I also noticed that it can also only take 15 minutes as a minimum play time. That seems rather short. Is there a lot of set-up? Is this length of a game common?

For basic duels, set-up is very quick.  Players can open up the box, pick a deck, place the Hero or Villain side of their ability card face-up on the table, shuffle their deck, and draw 5 cards.

Veterans of games like Magic The Gathering or Pokemon pick the game up very, very quickly.  But ORIGINZ is also designed to be accessible for newcomers to the genre.  There are only a few key rules and terms to learn.  Everything is written on the cards.

The mechanics reinforce the quick gameplay.  Each player has 3 energy every turn, which can be spent to prepare cards or activate cards on their own turn, so the action starts right away.  There is no “resource ramp” and no interruptions.

When players are ready for longer games and more depth, there is plenty of it.  They can create custom decks by combining cards from different Origins.  Some players, like my son, Lucas, do this for thematic reasons (he likes to combine Power Armor and Ocean Mastery.)  Others do it to create certain synergies and combos.

Multiplayer formats obviously take longer – but players are engaged every step of the way!

Understandably, speaking of multi-player, can you tell me how (if at all) the gameplay is different with 8 players vs. 2? This seems like a wide range and I am curious how you make the game work at both ends of the sprectrum.

I love ORIGINZ because its really a great game for a game night.  1 vs 1 duels are just the beginning!  ORIGINZ provides such replay-ability and variability because of all the different formats it offers:

Team Battle – 2 vs 2, 3 vs 3, 4 vs 4 (even 6 vs 6!)…heroes vs villains, or not!  Team battle is really fun because you get to strategize with your teammates to try and overcome the opponents.

2 vs. 1 SuperBoss – 1 player gets to play with an overpowered 44-card deck against 2 players with a standard deck.  This format really gives you the sense of those  comic book team-ups which involved clashes against giant monsters or overpowered enemies.

Free for All –  Last man (or woman) standing!  This format is fun because there are plenty of impromptu alliances and backstabbing that occur.

Draft & Sealed Tournaments – ORIGINZ really shines during these more involved formats.  Players follow a fair process to build their decks “on-the-fly” and then battle in a tournament to see who not only built the best deck, but who played it the best too!

This is all great stuff but enough about the game, let’s talk about the campaign. What was the best piece of advice you received about your campaign before launching?

Don’t go it alone!  You can’t have a successful kickstarter without the advice, feedback and support of your friends and family, your local indie game community, and the wonderful people on social media platforms.  You need to become part of this community, and give as much as you get, before you launch.

If you could pick one thing you could say you definitely did right in preparation for this campaign, what would it be?

Tons of blind-playtesting.  We made sure we had a 100% awesome game that people would love.  If you don’t have that, you have nothing.  This was a ton of work.  To give you an idea, we are on the 57th revision of our Rulebook, and the 43rd revision of the cards themselves.

Have you found any mistakes you made that you have since adjusted or fixed since launch?

The timing of launch is tricky.  Ideally, you want to have your major reviews on your launch day. This is a chicken & egg problem – you need to set a date as a deadline for your reviewers to get them to do the reviews.  But reviewers are very, very busy and your deadline is not their priority.   Luckily, everything came in within the first couple days of launch, but if I could do it all over again, I’d try to get my reviews in earlier and avoid the stress.

Did anything happen so far during that campaign that you just weren’t prepared for or weren’t expecting?

It’s exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.  I knew it would be a lot of work, but its got a strange psychological effect.  I ‘m over-anxious and glued to my phone (Dan, you must know how this is)

We used to have a “if you build it, they will come” mentality.   That line of thinking has matured into “If you keep working on it, they will keep coming!”

Yes, spreading the word the entire campaign is key! How are your advertising or spreading the word about this game?

We are:

  • Doing every interview and podcast possible.
  • Doing as many high-profile giveaways as possible.
  • Exhibiting the game and demo-ing the game as much as possible.
  • Delivering as many prototypes to reviewers as possible to keep the reviews coming in.
  • Posting, tweeting, sharing, engaging on all the major social media platforms as much as possible (without spamming too much, I hope.)
  • We’re doing some Facebook advertising, but its really all about a constant flow of content creation and engagement.  There are no short-cuts.

Stepping back and looking at the entire campaign page as a whole, I love the homage to classic comic books. I also really appreciate the entire page layout right down to the how to play description being set just like a comic book, very nice touch! You must have been working on this for a while. How long would you say it took to get your campaign page together and set up?

Thank you.  We wanted a kid-friendly style that appealed to fans of golden/silver age comics but also modern day comics.  We worked three 3 years on the game itself.  We also worked concurrently on the campaign itself, for at least half of that time.  If we did it again, it wouldn’t take as long.  The first time is always hardest.

Nate Brett of Wilderland Campaigns has been extraordinarily helpful in many aspects of the campaign, and his graphic design on the Kickstarter page speaks for itself.

You have had amazing success with your $500 custom tier, congrats on that. Do you think reaching out to backers and getting the pieces completed will hold up production?

Thanks – the Supreme Being tier is so fun because it adds a vanity alternate art card to the game for everybody to enjoy!  Players get to get a double-sided Hero or Villain Ability card created in their own likeness.   We’ve tested this process with each member of my family, and verified we can do it quick with quality.   Like I said before, we had LOTS of practice.

On the subject of the custom tier and art, I noticed you have 156 pieces of unique art. That is quite impressive. How was the task of actually coordinating it all, communicating what you were looking for for each piece and then actually getting it all and formatting into cards?

It was lots of work.  We wanted to create a game which looked like the open pages of a comic book when it was being played.  This meant tons of variety, which translated to no more than 2 copies of any card.

We found an amazingly talented and responsive artist, Matthew Ryan (MattR Illustration), who was just a machine, pumping out drafts and revisions of multiple cards, based on our direction, every other day.  It still took us the better part 18 months to complete all of the art.

Art is fairly subjective, so we had some healthy debates, but it was so much fun.  Every day I’d check my email and see the world of ORIGINZ coming to life!  I can’t wait to do it again!

There is also some cool art on the playmats! It is neat that backers can choose which playmats they want in ordering the tier that includes them. Do you foresee this as complicating the logistics of fulfillment vs. just having standard sets of playmats included?

The playmats are really awesome – featuring 2 awesome pieces of art (a “Team” scene and a “Battle” scene) featuring all 12 Origins and functional slots for set-up.

Our current plan is to manufacture the playmats separately (which are much lower quantity) and deliver them direct to our fulfillment center, to be packaged with the game itself.   We’ve discussed this with all parties involved and confirmed that it shouldn’t be a problem.

That being said, I really hope everybody wants 1 of each version, because they are so cool.

You funded quickly, which is amazing! You are starting to unlock stretch goals which look like you are adding more cards into the game. Have these cards been extensively playtested? Will they be Kickstarter exclusive? Why didn’t you include them in the game to begin with?

We’ve planned the Power Cosmic stretch goals for a long time.  As first time creators, we know we had to offer something really special to our Kickstarter Backers.  Although they are lots of fun, they are balanced and they are completely unnecessary to play the game.

These cards will be exclusively free in the Kickstarter edition of the game.  If the game is a success at retail, and people are clamoring for Power Cosmic cards, we’ll make them available via a separate purchase.   But our backers will get them first, and for free.

I noticed that you are actually close to unlocking your final stretch goal with a lot of time left to go. Do you have more planned before the end of the campaign?

We have so much more planned!  We have 3 more Power Cosmic cards, and lots of other stretch goals.  These include a satin fish on the cards, a big box upgrade (which include more room in the box for expansions), a molded insert like you see in games like “Smash-Up”


Lastly, say that I have enough super hero themed games or I am just not sure if yours is one I would like to back, what final words do you have to convince me that this is the game for me?

Every person that has actually played the game says the same thing…if you like comic books, superheroes, or card games, you will love ORIGINZ.

Most superhero theme games let you pick a character and play as that character.  In our game, you choose your powers, and the rest of the story is yours to tell.

The game was carefully designed to be fun!  Although its filled with challenging decision making opportunities, it leaves out all the over-complicated rules, overpowered rare cards, and  cumbersome tokens and trackers.

Try it for yourself with the free Print & Play or Tabletop Simulator module.  You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you so much to the guys at Flavor Faction Studios! If you love superheroes and you want to check out more of this cool campaign that is already funded, head on over to the Kickstarter campaign page and check it out!

Watch the Originz video ^

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