In Raids, you take on the role of a Viking leader, sailing through the ocean to seize the best opportunities in each round. There are monsters to defeat, new Vikings to recruit, resources to grab and to sell, etc. You can move your boat as far as you want, but the further you go, the more you will have to wait, for it’s always the turn to play of the last boat in the route! We go deeper into this game with its Project Manager at IELLO, Ludovic Papaïs.
When the game was presented to you as a prototype, what grabbed your attention?
Raids is a game that has a great mechanism of turn order, we love this. That is the original part of the game. But, beside this, we found that the game has something more. For us, the difference between a good game and a great game is the little detail. In Raids, the little detail is the fights. We love this part of the game, it does add something important. Without it, the game would be good, but lacking the little spark. The fights are not predominant in this game, it is not a battle game. But the threat induced by the battle is enough to give the game an atmosphere that is the sparkle we were looking for.
How does Raids fit the philosophy of IELLO?
The philosophy of IELLO is great games that are accessible to the whole family. They are usually fun games, but we are open to more composed games that are clever and simple. I think that Raids is a clever game where you have to be an opportunist. It is explained very quickly, you just need few rounds to get the main mechanism and understand why it is smart.
IELLO have worked with Brett J. Gilbert and Matthew Dunstan before with Pyramids and, more recently, Fairy Tile. Can you explain how different these three projects have been?
The difference on this project is that we highly improved the material of the prototype. Matt and Gilbert proposed a small card game in-which the cards were placed in a circle on the table. The game was good but it was not immersive enough. The ships are moving just into this circle in order to gather the cards. We imagine that it would be more immersive to use a board to settle the cards that became tiles. The board illustration is a wide sea surrounded by lands where the tiles are laid. The first idea of the game was a light card game for £19.99 at the maximum. We thought that the experience of the game deserved more immersive material, such as the board, the metal coins and the wooden pieces, which have been developed into the final game.
There are so many ways to score in this game. Can you tell us a bit more of the process of balancing the game?
The game we received seemed balanced. Matt and Brett played several times with their games. We also played it several times internally and we didn’t notice any unbalanced things. Some players noticed that the monsters could be a winning strategy, but it was always due to a player quietly taking all the victory points linked to the monsters. Despite that, we wanted to be sure that it is unlikely to have a bad experience in this game. So we changed details in the rules just a little to make sure the game is always engaging and challenging at every turn.
How much did the artwork matter for this game?
To make Raids stand out from other Viking games in the market, such as Raiders of the North Sea for example, we decided to create our own graphic style, to make sure to bring the “IELLO touch” to it. We have made the choice to work with Biboun. He is someone we work with easily (he is also the illustrator of other IELLO games, such as Nyet! and Happy Pigs), so we are used to working together, and he is an immensely talented artist.
We spotted artwork he had created of a Viking for a Facebook contest. The character he did was exactly what we were looking for. We were so impressed by his creation that we decided to use this character on the box side of the final game!
Biboun is really good at doing quirky artworks, but in the same time, he does impressive realistic textures. The talent of Biboun is to draw wood that seems to be wood, metal that looks like actual metal, etc. It could seem basic, but not too many artists are as skilled to render the material they are drawing.