This week, Dan delves deep into the dark world of the dystopian future in which a determined team of do-gooder hackers try to take down a dastardly corporation. Or at least you talks to the Hackers Guild #Kickstarter creator about the campaign. For those interested in the preview of the game itself, check out Fairway’s preview.
The Hacker’s Guild ^
- Launch date: Oct 3, 2016
- End date: Nov 3, 2016
- Goal: $29,500
- Cost for a copy of the game: $59.00 CAD
- Designed by: Raymond Northcott
- Published by: Games By Ray LLC
- Campaign Link
Why don’t you start us off by giving us a brief overview of The Hackers Guild.
The Hackers Guild is a one versus many, action selection game for 3-5 players ages 14 and up that plays in about 150 minutes. All but one of the players take on the role of members of the Hackers Guild and are trying to complete the 5 objective hacks within the 8 round limit.
The final player takes on the role of the Network Administrator for Monolith Global Inc and they are trying to prevent the hackers from completing their objective by either delaying them to the end of the eighth round or by having them all arrested and sent to jail.
That sounds very cool but right off the bat I would like to point out that I have only done two of these interviews and this is the second one with a Hacking theme. What is so appealing about this theme?
I think part of this is simple coincidence, but it is a pretty funny one. For me the appeal was three fold:
- I have a computer networking background and one of the many roles of a network administrator is to protect their networks from cyber attacks or hackers
- The basic theme of hacking lends itself to many sub themes that can provide designers a little more freedom than maybe other themes
- With the popularity of TV shows like Mr. Robot, I feel that computer hacking is once again at the forefront of pop culture which can make it attractive to designers
What do you do differently than the other Hacker themed games? Why should we be interested in yours over all of the rest?
The majority of the hacking themed games that I was able to find on BGG are card based games. There was a couple with a board component, but one was competitive and the other was cooperative but the end goal was different.
The Hackers Guild is also the only game that adds the Network Admin as one of the roles the players can take on. It mixes dice rolling, action selection, and press you luck mechanics with beautiful art and a unique “hack the evil corporation to save humanity” twist on the theme.
I feel that the theme, inclusion of multiple mechanics, great art, the hacker powers, computer upgrades, and hacking tools that will combine together to create a game that will capture players’ attention and keep them wanting to play again and again.
That is great, I love the idea of the Network Admin being involved. In your preparation for this campaign, what was the best piece of advice you received about your campaign before launching?
Timothy Cassavetes has provided me with a lot of excellent feedback, but back in March when I was considering launching in April he reminded me of the importance of ensuring you take the time to build an audience and get the game properly tested before launching was probably the feedback I needed most.
That is great advice, building your audience is the #1 most important thing you need to do prior to launching a campaign! So how did you build your audience? How are your advertising or spreading the word about this game?
This is a great question. I started writing a review/game design blog at gamesbyray.com back in September of last year. Unfortunately, most of those entries were lost a while back when my hosting company went off the radar. However, I have continued to blog at thehackersguilldboardgame.com, trying to add at least one post a week.
I’ve also spent a lot of effort trying to be a part of the community on BGG, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a variety of other blogs. Jonathan McEnroe, who is the artist for The Hackers Guild, has made some amazing promotional items I’ve been able to use, along with the efforts he’s been making with his followers. I’m also a proud member of the Indie Game Alliance, as well as a group of game designers that tries to meet over Google Hangouts every other Saturday.
I was a guest of The Cardboard Architects podcast a while back and have plans to be involved in other interviews, like this one :), leading up to and through out the campaign.
The Hackers Guild has also made it to the table at Prairie Con this past July, and was available for play at Gen Con 2016. It is also available for play on Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator, and I’ve had the chance to meet some great people while playing on these online platforms.
Another really great resource that I have access to is the local support I get. I’m a member of two Manitoba based Facbook groups, as well as I’ve playtested The Hackers Guild at a couple different gaming events put on by local game stores. The gaming communities in Manitoba, and even across Canada, are really great and it seems like they are always willing to help out a fellow Canadian.
If you could pick one thing you could say you definitely did right in preparation for this campaign, what would it be?
I feel like the art and visual aspects of the campaign, once finished, will be one of the campaigns strongest features.
The art actually is quite gorgeous! However, I noticed the game is $59 CAD but it is hard to tell from the image what is actually included. Can you list the items included in the game?
[Note: the deluxe version was reduced to $49CAD after the interview]
- 1 game board
- 6 hacker mats
- 4 Linux OS cards
- 4 malware cards
- 12 target cards
- 10 objective cards
- 5 Level-1 (blue backs)
- 5 Level-2 (grey backs)
- 15 tool cards
- 15 Network Admin cards
- 27 six-sided dice
- 10 hacker dice
- 11 Network Admin dice
- 6 tool dice
- 2 black tracker pawns
- 12 player cubes (3 each in 4 colors)
- 20 action discs (5 each in 4 colors)
- 24 credit tokens
- 100 credits (10 tokens)
- 250 credits (7 tokens)
- 500 credits (7 tokens)
- 1 alpha hacker token
- 3 choose die result (CDR) tokens
- 3 reroll tokens
- 4 value-10 hacking cred tokens
- 13 cyber attack defence point tokens
- 1 CAD point (5 tokens)
- 5 CAD points (5 tokens)
- 10 CAD points (3 tokens)
- 1 rulebook
There is a lot more included that what I expected. You should try to convey that a little better on the page so your backers understand the value they are getting for their pledge! Speaking of backers, it looks like you are going to need a good amount to hit your goal of $30,000. This goal is pretty high, especially for a first time creator. Are you nervous about such a high goal? How have you built your audience to ensure that you will bring a good portion of the backers to hit this high goal?
Through some discounts available as a member of the IGA [ed: The Indie Game Alliance] I’ve managed to get my funding goal down to $29,500 [per the comment below, this goal was reduced to $22,000 after the interview] which I am pretty excited about. I am a little nervous, but I feel that the work I have done building my potential backer list through the blog, game reviews, exposure at conventions, local play testing, and community involvement I outlined previously will make a big difference. Also the help I’ve received, and will continue to receive, from the IGA will probably make the biggest difference.
I noticed that you ran a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to help you prepare to run the kickstarter. I have never seen that done before, can you tell me a little about that?
As many project creators know, there is what at times can seem like a never ending list of expenses to cover leading up to Kickstarter campaign. Some of these include prototyping, shipping, paid reviews, rulebook editing, and art.
As the date of my launch continued to get pushed back, the little funds that I had available to cover these expenses quickly dwindled. I also originally was expecting to have access to some corporate credit through my LLC which, for many different unimportant reasons, hasn’t panned out. When it became obvious that I had incurred expenses that I didn’t have the funds to cover, I decided to reach out to my community of friends and family for support through the GoFundMe campaign.
Lastly, say that I have enough hacking 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?
The Hackers Guild provides gamers with a highly thematic board game that looks amazing and plays even better. Whether it is the combination of certain hacker powers, upgradable computer hardware, or the luck mitigation provided by the hacking tools, I feel The Hackers Guild will provide you with entertainment you will be able to enjoy time after time.