Cardboarding with Carla: Legendary Creatures Interview

Today, Carla chats with a legendary game designer and publisher, Edo Baraf, and discuss the current Legendary Creatures Kickstarter campaign.

Hello, Edo! Welcome to Cardboarding with Carla and thanks for being on this interview! Could we start off with you telling us a bit about yourself?

Hi, Carla! Thanks for the interview. I’m a Game Maker and Board Game Content creator from Mountain View, CA. I’m married with two boys and like to rock climb when I have time.

Can you tell us more about Legendary Creatures?

Legendary Creatures is the latest game on Kickstarter from Pencil First Games (my company). I collaborated with Chris Hamm, Lou Catanzaro, and Sebas Koziner to bring it to life.

Legendary Creatures is a deck and resource management game where you cleverly combine your creatures’ abilities, magic spells, and powerful amulets in a race through four elemental realms to become the next Druid of Nature’s Grace.

What really makes Legendary Creatures stand out against other board games?

Legendary Creatures stands out in a few ways. From a gameplay perspective it is rich with interesting decisions and powerful creature combinations giving the player a strong sense of both tactical and strategic gameplay. It has solid depth and replayability. Visually the game is stunning. It is both bright and colorful while still have complexity and intricate character design.

I definitely agree with you that the game is stunning! Just look at that art! 

Can you tell us more about how Legendary Creatures came to be and your involvement?

Early in my career, I ran a game studio: Blue Fang Games (this was after the Zoo Tycoon series). While there, we were working on a follow up to World of Zoo which launched on the Nintendo Wii. We wanted to use mythological and fantastic creatures. Ultimately, it missed the Wii lifespan and was set aside. I acquired the IP and decided to bring it into the world of board games. I’ve known Chris for some time and love the design work he did on Strife. He joined the team and designed the Legendary Creatures we have today. Since, I’ve handled development, kickstarter, publishing, etc.

You’re working with three others on this project; do you have any advice for people looking to work with good people and work well with them?

I wrote a great League of Gamemakers article on Distributed Development. I suggest checking it out:

What do you feel was the most important thing you learned during playtesting with Legendary Creatures?

Big Box, longer games take a lot more time to playtest! Many of Pencil First games can be played quickly so it is easy to get a lot of playtesting in. We needed just as much playtesting for Legendary Creatures, we just had to schedule many more sessions with it.

It seems like you have a typical amount of playtesting that you do with each game, could you go more into detail with that?

I wouldn’t say that we have a typical amount of playtesting so much as a ton of playtesting. It really depends on the game. It starts with the game development team, then friends and family, then friendly designers/gamers, then blind tests and random players at game stores and conventions.

What was the biggest change that you made to the game based on playtesting and why did you have to make the change? 

The biggest change was player interaction. All the mechanics were working, but there wasn’t enough player to player play. The amulets and spells spawned from these playtests. They were a great addition.

Do you have any interesting stories to share about Legendary Creatures?

Coming into development, one key restriction for Chris was that he only use the base set of creatures I already had art completed for. After some revisions he came back and had added an additional 13! It turned out the design was awesome, so I had to go back and find the original art director at Blue Fang (Lou) to do new creature creation. It was unexpected, but great to work with Lou again!

What’s your favorite legendary creature? Is that creature in the game? If so, is it your favorite to play?

Oh, man. I have tons of favorites. Thanks to Chris (see above) we have a huge selection in the game 😛

You’re pretty experienced with Kickstarter campaigns at this point. Is there anything that you learned or did differently for this campaign that you didn’t do for your previous ones?

Funny you ask, I filmed a video on that exact topic!

Excellent! You were definitely prepared for this interview. What is the one thing you know you definitely did right for this campaign?

Always hard to say. Ask me once the campaign is over!

Do you have anyone that you’d like to give a shoutout to that gave you some really good advice? Feel free to list more than one, if you’d like.

Jamey Stegmeijer, James Mathe and the FB Kickstarter groups.


Thanks again to Edo for being on Cardboarding with Carla! Legendary Creatures will be on Kickstarter until August 4th, so make sure to check it out before then! 

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