Hi Chris and Dan, thank you so much for spending some of your time to chat with me.
So, tell us about Clever Unicorn games, who are you, how do you work and why are you clever unicorns?
Chris: I am Chris and I create games, liaise with designers and produce and edit a lot of our online content. I also look after The Unicorn Collective, our Facebook community, which is now over three thousand members strong.
We created Clever Unicorn Games to bring people together over the table, face to face, to enjoy board games and RPG’s, whether our own, or other companies games that we enjoy ourselves.
I have played both weird alchemy and fractured galaxy and let me say how much fun and how good both games are. With Fractured galaxy, which is a much deeper game than weird alchemy, how do you go about designing a game like this?
Chris: I like to draw on games I have previously played and then try to adapt mechanics from those games into a genre or theme I like. Fractured Galaxy kind of started as an homage to concordia but in space, with it’s cool deck building mechanic mixed and its economic engine construction. We have spent years testing and changing the initial rules and using the team of avid gamers at our disposal in our area to make a truly easy to learn but complex 4X experience and while most parts that were borrowed from Concordia are now gone it is still the game that got me started on this one those many years ago.
Both games have been released through kickstarter, what lessons have you learnt through this process that you would help designers who are at the start of their journey to bringing their game to market?
Chris: Do your research, there are so many blogs and write up about approaching KS’s out there, read them all but then also expect to learn new things. Also don’t let ego get in the way, just because your first kickstarter is a hit doesn’t mean your next will be. I think after Weird Alchemy made 400% of its funding goal I automatically assumed it was easy and the next one was a sure thing. Only after the launch, when we realised Fractured Galaxy had missed its mark, did we learn that this was not the case.
Dan: Theming and artwork is critical when launching a KS. Our biggest failure was not building our audience around the style we had chosen long before the KS. We had marketing running but we should have included more of the artwork and asked for more feedback, like we did with Weird Alchemy. This is no fault of our artist though as this was exactly what we asked for when commissioning him and he delivered 100%, we just missed the mark with what the market wanted.
With two games already designed, what else have you got in the pipeline, can you give away any of the secrets so that we can get excited about what is coming next from Clever Unicorn? Please give us as much detail as you can.
Chris: We are already working on a redesigned KS campaign for Fractured Galaxy later in the year but also have a few other projects in the pipeline, one RPG, one board game and one online content based. The weird alchemy universe will also be back in force with new artwork from Juan Moore. If you ever wanted to be a Fowlzerker or wanted to know who would win in a fight between Cowthooloo and a Were-Carrot then keep watching us over the next few months.
Having seen your Facebook page it is clear that you enjoy playing games as well as making them. When you’re planning a game night what are your top go to games to create the near perfect night at the clever unicorn table?
Chris: I would say anything where you get to build an engine and then watch it working out for you. Also worker or action pawn placement games are up there. Dominant Species is my favourite game but I am always happy to bring Feast for Odin, Carson City or Paladins of the Western Kingdom to the table.
Thank you both for spending some time with me and good luck with all the exciting things you’ve got planned for us over the coming months.