Hi Adam, firstly thank you so much for giving up some of your time particularly as you are so close to the release of your next game on Kickstarter and a retail release os another title.
So, clearly the first question has to be how on earth do you get the time to do all this?
I’ve been known to bite off a bit more than I can chew and I always say I can sleep when I’m dead. I also surround myself with talented people that have really great taste and a sense of feedback and can help pick up the slack where I might miss out.
Your company Adam’s apple games, how long have you been around? Who are you and what’s the back story? The company started in 2015 after our first Kickstarter for a game about craft beer called Brewin’ USA. I’ve been a gamer my entire life but have been into board games for less than 10 years. I didn’t know this at the time, but Adam’s Apple Games has been an extremely fulfilling endeavor meeting great people and spending my time trying to create awesome things.
I’ve already mentioned the Kickstarter release later this month. Can you let us know a little bit about Planet Unknown, what’s it like and how does it play?
So Planet Unknown is a huge project for me and it’s been in the works for 5 years. About two years into the project, I handed it over to another designer friend and he came back with a backend to the game that was absolute magic. We’ve been a strong co-design duo throughout the remainder of the project. Planet Unknown has one of the coolest hooks in a component with a “Lazy Susan” turntable that serves players polyomino tiles. This game was inspired by Starcraft and 7 Wonders initially and evolved into a much heavier than usual polyomino game compared to the titles in the market. It was designed based on one of my biggest pet peeves – finding a high player count game that is crunchy and yet plays in a short amount of time. This was sort of a pipe dream, but the Lazy Susan is the key. The lazy susan component allowed us to design a drafting mechanism that lets players draft polyominos simultaneously because it rotates to face a player. Because everyone is playing every turn, we can keep the decision space small on a single turn yet unlock tons of depth over the course of the game.
I got the chance to play Planet Unknown recently and the Hairy Game Lords absolutely loved it. What are you most excited about players finding when they get their copies?
Clearly the Lazy Susan space station is the obvious answer here. However, I think that players will find exploring the different play patterns we’ve designed into the game super unique and interesting. There are 49 different asymmetric combinations to explore and it’s just mind boggling to me still that they all bring something unique to the game.
Do you have any nice stretch goals or treats planned for the campaign?
Stretch goals are always a big consideration, and to be honest we’ve packed in a ton into the base component set. We do an extra planet or two up our sleeves, and we’re carefully designing in loads of modularity that won’t become evident until the future. If things go well enough it’s possible we’ll bring that out in the stretch goals. Additionally, we do have a pretty unique stretch goal to offer a digital version of the game to backers before they receive their copies. I’ve partnered with a company called Sovranti who I think we’ll be hearing a lot from in the future. They’re doing some really unique things on the digital front and I’m excited to see how it all comes together.
Not only are you preparing for a kickstarter, you’ve got a game ready for retail release: Truck off the food truck frenzy roll and write. Now, roll and writes are seeing a real surge in popularity. What makes Truck off stand out from the crowd?
I love me some Truck Off! The roll and write stands out from the crowd because it is packed with theme and it has a polyhedral dice set versus your typical roll and write D6s. There is a really clever push your luck mechanic that is intertwined with routing around a town. It’s possible to plan and unlock bonuses, but also keeps you on your toes.. I am an uber fan of the Roll and Write game trend but I want to see people continue to push these further. They don’t need to be just colored boxes and numbers, and I think we’ve seen the thematic roll and write games start to pull ahead of the pack.
Clearly you must be struggling for free time at the minute. When you come up for air and get a chance to get some games on the table, what three games from your collection would be top of your list to play?
Lol as I’m writing this I’m tucking my tail because I’m delivering it super late and also finalizing the Planet Unknown kickstarter page. I do have a weekly live stream where we play roll and writes so I’ve been lucky enough to get in some good gaming. Top of my current list in the collection would be Orleans, Mystic Vale, and Ra.
If you could add a game to your collection that you have never played, what would you pick?
I have enough of a problem getting through the games already in the collection :). We do an awesome job with convention trades and tend to fill out suitcases on the way back from a convention. So from that list would probably be Lockup, War Chest, Cavern Tavern.
Before we go, have you got any other games in the pipeline or design phase at the minute?
Absolutely yes. We are still in the manufacturing process to deliver a game call Thrive. It’s a two-player abstract strategy game that is basically deconstructed chess. You build your own chess piece as you play. I also signed a smashing game called Four Humours partnering with a local designer. It’s got a very unique and quirky pharmacy / early medicinal philosophy theme, and the game-play feels like a mashup of work placements meets prisoners’ dilemmas. The artwork is about 90% done as of this minute and the art surly has a lot of “monty python” style humor built in.
Adam, thank you again for your time and we all wish you well with Planet Unknown and Truck Off.