Zatu catches up with Luke Seinen the designer/publisher of Carthage a game of Gladiatorial battles. I had a chance to play this on Tabletopia with him and thoroughly enjoyed it. Check out the conversation we had.
Hello Luke it's a pleasure talking to you, can you give me a bit of background on yourself and how you got into gaming?
Thanks Martyn. I’ve always been a gamer.. But since college and many nights of Catan and Dominion marathons I’ve really seen the social benefits of board games. I’ve now been a youth worker for 10 years and I’ve always included games into the interactions and connection I’ve made with the teens I’ve worked with.
It’s so cool to see youth put down their mobiles and get fully immersed into a the theme and strategy of a tabletop game… so many cool things have come out of my experiences with youth and games including board games camps, long lasting play groups, and for the benefit of Carthage.. Committed play testers!
What can you tell my readers about Carthage and how it came about?
For a long time I’d been thinking about designing a game that gives you the engaging and strategic elements of a LCG or heavy deck builder but includes a more tangible play field like a miniatures game; but I couldn't connect a theme that really works. One morning I woke up early and it just came together in a real way. GLADIATORS! Oh freaking yes.
I have been lucky enough to play Carthage and I honestly believe it feels like one of the best games I have played this year from a first time Kickstarter. The mechanics are really tight, what experience do you have in making a game?
Thanks so much man. Yeah I think we’ve made something special with Carthage. In my youth work I pretty much make up all types of social and interactive games for teenagers each week. Carthage you could say, is a bit of culmination of 10 years of “game-making” put down into a board game format.
I’ve made custom versions of Werewolf, and lots of great social interaction games over the years for our kids. I want games to be engaging and easy to get into for anyone but still have enough strategic elements and diversity to give players a complete experience. Combine this with my love and knowledge of our hobby, and boom! Here comes the Gladiators.
The art is fantastic and really fits the theme was this a conscious decision throughout development?
Thanks man… It sure was intentional to make something unique that stands out of the typical look of board games. Carthage draws inspiration from lots of stuff, but being a big fan of Graphic Novels and that art style; it was obvious the direction this game needed to go. My wife and I worked very hard on the illustrations and graphic design of this game and it turned out great!
The way Carthage adds a twist to the familiar (overused?) deck building mechanics is great and you have done it in a way that fits the theme how did you do this?
In every deck-builder you need to have a currency, and in pretty much everyone its money in some form. In Carthage the way you build a better deck of actions is by gaining the crowd's favour. Favour is the thing that compels gameplay and draws you in as a player to fight harder. Favour is everything in the arena..
In addition to the favour, what makes Carthage unique is the fact that the combos you see in a traditional deck-builder are actually built into the cards you play.. And you play cards one at a time in turn order.. I know this might sounds odd to you (if your thinking about traditional deck-builder) but when your cards played directly affect your players movement or damage on the game board, when and where you play your cards becomes a vicious tactical gladiator battle.
You are already funded and are unlocking stretch goals quickly did you ever dream the game would do this well and what do you put the success down to?
I knew we had something unique, there are not a lot of great Gladiator games out there.. but I was incredibly surprised when Carthage took off the first few days in the way it did. Being a small company up in Canada you never know if anyone will even notice you in the midst of some of Mega brands from south of the border. But man, its been incredible to see the Kickstarter community support and back us! It was great to see some super backers give advice to me early on that helped us make the page better and get the word out even more. Between the backers and a few choice reviewers… Carthage owes its success to once again.. The Board Game Community itself.
I understand your main focus is this game but what can we expect to see from you in the future?
I do have more ideas.. Some are really fresh, but I’m excited about unleashing them on some of my family and play-testers soon, but for now I really do need to focus on making Carthage right. Funding is just a step, there are lots of details to continue to figure out to ensure we get this product done right for all those who backed us!
I would like to thank Luke for taking time out to talk to me and with about a week left on the campaign why not go and check it out.