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One v One with Devil Pig Games

Devil Pig Games Interview

Our One v One series of articles focuses on the company and people behind the games we all enjoy. Often the brilliant games they create are at the forefront with the unsung heroes being left in the shadows.

The first article in our series shines a light upon Devil Pig Games, with Games Designer and Creative Director Clem answering the questions put to him.

A little bit about Devil Pig Games

Zatu: So Clem, Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to speak with us. Can you tell us about the history of Devil Pig Games, how did you start and what is the story behind that amazing name?

It started a long time ago. Yann and I were eight years old and we were sitting in the same class room. Because of common interest (comics, american civil war, plastic small soldiers…) we became friends. We created our first war game after having played the Cry Havoc series and we presented it to its author Duccio Vitale, We were eleven at the time.

After that, life separated us, Yann moving south. But we kept contact and kept playing together.

In early 2000, we started to develop two games, Maelstrom (a 15mm massive battles game) and Frontiers. the second one was the first draft of HoN and was published by Asmodee in 2007. Then we decided to make the WW2 version of it, but Asmodee didn’t really trust it. So we worked on how publish it ourselves. Then Kickstarter was created and we jumped on the occasion. You know what happened since…

Devil Pig Games come from Yann’s daughter who loves piglets and from a game store owner who added « Devil » because of our character.

Zatu: How many people work for Devil Pig Games and what are their roles?

We’re at six. Yann and I, as game designer and creative director, Alexandre Bonvalot and Olivier Derrouetteau, as illustrators and graphic designers, Sandy as our mom and Axel as our community manger and personal Igor.

Zatu: Thats a lot of games you have all created for such a small team. How do you decide what kind of game you want to make next? Do you have a Devil Pig think tank session at Piggy HQ?

We don’t decide the kind of game we want to design. It comes from a thought, a movie we love, a game we played… The only common point is the confrontation between players. We don’t really like co-operative games or games where players are playing their separate ways without interaction, or very few interaction.

We play for fun, for confrontation, for competition. But we don’t mind to lose if the opponents were better. We don’t have a think tank, but we play a lot at the office during lunch time.

Heroes of Normandie

Zatu: Heroes of Normandie is one of my favourite games, the game mechanic is fantastic. Who designed the mechanic of the game and how long did it take before you were happy with it?

Yann and I designed the mechanic. It took us six years for Frontiers but it wasn’t a full time job. Let say it would have take us a year to do it. Then add one more year to adapt it to HoN and enhance it. But you have to take into account years of playing war games, miniature games, video games and board games.

When we started to work on Frontiers, we were about 30-years-old, Yann was married and had a kid, we worked hard to get money, and didn’t have time to paint minis. So we decided to create a minis game without minis, with pre-painted cardboard tokens. What was funny is that the first game we designed, back in the 80’s, used the same kind of top down view.

Zatu: The Heroes mechanic could be used for so many genres and historical backgrounds, if you could create a game just for yourself what background would you chose and why?

The Cardinal's Blades!! Swords, spies, capes and hats in Paris in the 17th century, with sorcery, dragon’s secret society and musketeers. 

Zatu: I’ll certainly have to give that a read! What would you say to someone that has not tried any of Devil Pigs games?

WHAT ? You don’t know this amazing game ? Get the hell out of here and run to the store to buy it!


Board Game Advice

Zatu: Ha ha, I’ll remember that sales pitch. So lets say someone came up to you and asked how to make a game, what  advice would you give?

Don’t! You will lose your family life, your mental health and most of your friends. Your dog will bite you, people will throw rocks at you and call you names, and your bank account will vanish…

Seriously, my main advice is to create the game you want to play, then simplify everything! For every mechanic, check how many times it is used during a game, if it brings something vital to the game. Then test, test, retest, re re test… and don’t hesitate to change everything if it’s needed.

Zatu: I guess if someone wanted to make a game now seems like a great time? What do you think about the games industry currently?

This is interesting times. A lots of things are changing and the quality is increasing. But there’s too many games on the market and a part of them shouldn’t exist, because of bad mechanics, lack of test, and poor production efforts.

Zatu: There certainly are a lot of games at the moment. If you were the host of a games evening and had to bring out a game to play that was not made by Devil Pig Games, what would it be and why?

Depending on what kind of players I’m hosting, I’d bring different games. For a hardcore players game, I would play Walking Dead All Out War, Claustrophobia or Earth Reborn. For a multiplayer night with hardcore gamers, I’d bring Adrenaline or Blood Rage, for casual players, Jamaica or Takenoko. But, it would change next month...

Zatu: So for the last question and I'm going to be cheeky here, What can we expect next from Devil Pig Games? Any hints or teasers you would be happy to share?

First, the main thing for HoN will be Heroes of Stalingrad. We know people are waiting for it, so do we.

Then, as announced recently, Warhammer 40K/Heroes of Black Reach. We’re also working on a race game. We also hope to be able to develop soon a medieval version of the Heroes System. That’s one of our dream for it.

Thank you and play hard!