Intervju: Isaac Vega

Dead of winter: the long night brädspel spelglädjeMin kärleksaffär och uppladdning inför leveransen av DEAD OF WINTER: THE LONG NIGHT fortsätter. Jag skriver dessa rader med en något starstrucked och självgod min eftersom jag (lilla jag!) har fått den stora äran att intervjua en av spelets konstruktörer Isaac Vega. Trots mina obefintliga kunskaper i intervjuandets ädla konst känner jag mig ganska nöjd med resultatet; Isaac är verkligen en toppenfigur att ha att göra med och det känns som att han lade ner tid på att besvara frågorna jag hade sammanställt. Och förresten, nog bygger han på hypen ytterligare?


First of all, tell us a little about yourself. Why board games? And how did it get from just playing games to developing them?
I was first introduced to board games by some high school friends that I used to play card games with. I had moved back home and it was something to keep me sane during the time. 🙂 As soon as they got me into it I was hooked, and shortly after I started designing my own. About 6 months into playing games I met Colby (Dauch reds. anm.) and was able to show him some of my designs. He encouraged my ambitions to become a designer and eventually signed one of my games. From that point on he couldn’t get rid of me.

I had faith in Plaid Hat Games and worked hard and volunteered for a long time before Colby and I got the company to a point where I could be hired on full time. Since then board games have been able to afford me a life I once thought impossible. I have been very lucky to not only be doing what I love, but being able to make a living at it too. The industry has given me a place to belong and has introduced me to wonderful, kind, and intelligent people that I truly love. I love what I do, it’s just a part of me now.

How long have The Long Night been brewing in your head? And how long has the actual development time been?
The Long Night was originally a much smaller expansion that started being worked on a little over a year ago. Some of the ideas where things that were thought of for the original game, but most of the content came out of my thought process after we were purchased by F2Z. They suggested that we may want to consider doing a standalone expansion. This was an interesting opportunity to do something bigger than what we had originally planned.

The challenge however it would require a lot more work and that I wanted to make sure that the game had enough value for the new players as well as those that already owned a copy of the original Dead of Winter. That led me to reproach every card in the game, think about what changes could work and what would have to stay the same in order for the core of Dead of Winter to remain. That led to a major reworking of the Bandit & Improvement modules that was already part of the original idea, development of the Raxxon Module, creating new crisis, crossroad, item, main objective, secret objective, and character cards. As well as the addition of new tokens and rules for the game.

What has been the focus in The Long Night; adding more of all the good stuff we found in the original Dead of Winter, or to develop and change the game experience?
The main focus for me was to introduce a unique cast of new characters and making sure that the standalone expansion could offer a fun experience that was adjustable for fans new and old to enjoy in the way they felt would be best. The Long Night offered us the opportunity to really dive into a cast of characters that are not seen much in table top games and tell stories that other games can’t. It was very important to me to see a wider spectrum of characters that offer more people a chance to connect with them.

Dead of winter: the long night brädspel spelglädje

The Long Night is playable as a standalone game, will playing it by itself be a big difference comparing to playing just Dead of Winter?
You can play this version very similarly to the way you played the original if you want. There are a few new tokens that are now part of the standard game, but everything else can be the same if you want it too. However I highly suggest trying out the 3 new modules, they can be a lot of fun and you can add and subtract the ones you think would work best for your group.

It probably connects with the question above, but why did you decide to create a standalone expansion instead of just a regular expansion like, for example, Arkham Horror and all its big expansions?
Like I said earlier it came out in talks with our new owners. But once it was in my head I defiantly felt it was a good idea. It offered us an opportunity to do more for the fans. Plus time between the expansion and the original release was an issue. Expansions tend to do better when they are closer to the original release. It now it has been about 2 years since Dead of Winters original release so we needed to make a bit of a splash. 🙂 Plus allowing our customer base of having the option of getting the Long Night if they still don’t have the original was good too since the original has kept selling out.

What´s your thoughts about how the game should be played? As a standalone or merged with the original Dead of Winter? What´s the recipe for the ultimate Dead of Winter experience according to you?
Well personally I think the best mix is to play with all the new modules at once, and bring over the characters, crossroad cards, crisis cards, secret objective cards, and exile cards from the original and mix them in there corresponding decks. Choose a main objective from the original or the Long Night and get to playing. You can mix in or sort out the new location decks with the old ones in any way you choose, but I suggest playing it without that option first because it can add more difficulty and set up time.

Will the expansion add more game time to each game, or it is the same as the original, just with more goodies in it?
At first I am sure that it will add a bit more game time to people that are getting familiar with the new interactions. But in time it shouldn’t be too much longer than the original. Playtesting has shown that all the main objective time suggestions still sit within about the same time frame as the original game.

Dead of winter: the long night brädspel spelglädjeAt several occasions I´ve had to choose to play other games than Dead of Winter because of its 5-player limit. Have you ever thought of adding possibilities for more players? And more traitors maybe…?
Yes, but it won’t be in this expansion…… 🙂

Can you say something about the mechanic with several colonies? Will you be able to play in teams against each other? Will exiled players have the opportunity to join the competing colonies?
Let’s just say there is something in the works that I would be happy to talk to you about around the same time next year. 🙂

I´ve read about the possibilities to evolve your colony, does that mean there is a legacy element in The Long Night? If so (or if not), how does the evolvement actually work?
No Legacy style elements right now I am afraid (tune in next time kids). The way that this works currently is contained per game. The Improvement module allows you to build up useful structures in your colony that either give players an added bonus, ability, or effect that protects or enhances the colony is some way.

Speaking of legacy. In the recent boom of legacy games, do you have any plans or thoughts about a legacy game in the Dead of Winter universe?
Hmm I wonder if I am being too subtle. Yes, yes there are plans. No promises, just plans.

When I pre-booked the original Dead of Winter game I answered a question about where I wanted the next Crossroads game to take place. Since then
I´ve not read or heard anything about it, is there any future plans for more Crossroads games or is Crossroads just the same as Dead of Winter now?
Yes we are working on additional crossroad games. But none of them are far enough along to start talking about them or confirming any sort of release.

And finally, I´m already extremely hyped about playing this game, but is there anything (a little easter egg maybe?) you can add to build the hype further?
Currently 2 other expansions are in the works, I think I hinted at them enough above. 😛 Everything is subject to change of course when it is this early in the development process, but we are very excited about what’s been going on lately. Oh and one more thing…to the infected go the spoils…take that as you will. 🙂