When I first saw Eye for an Eye I knew it was a game for me. Real time arena combat with great art and super cool miniatures. Since then more modes, including a turn based variant, have been added by Ben and Shae the couple behind Darwin Games.
Hi Ben! You are one of a growing number of Australian board games developers and publishers. What is the board game scene like in Aus?
G'day Nick, the board game scene in Australia is beginning to really develop. We've got a lot of passionate designers and people supporting the industry with content. I like to think of it as a bit of an untapped resource as we are so far away from where the core of the scene is, in the US and EU. There are lots of groups and companies that are very supportive of the local designers and the conventions that we hold here in Australia are growing in numbers each year as new people find the board game niche.
You have created a world for some of your games and a race of creatures, the Occulites, how did this come about? Did you always have board games in mind for them?
The Occulites have always sort of been around in one form or another. They are a mixture of my childhood passions and imagination. The first iteration was for a game I made called the Grass is Greener and involved little orbish creatures trying to get home to their cave before a big storm. These creatures evolved in my mind and a full blown backstory of their discovery and secret lives was developed. This naturally spread into games.
Eye for an Eye is a real time verses game crossed with a miniature skirmish game, why did you want to mesh these together?
Eye for an Eye can be played as both real time and in turns. But the impetus for the real time version was born from a feeling of 'how would these guys really be feeling in an arena fighting for their honour?' They probably wouldn't be waiting for their turn to knock the other one over the head. So we experimented with doing it in real time and after a bit of development found that it worked really well and was very exciting to play. We wanted to evoke the feeling of being in an arena and we feel that we've accomplished that.
What is your favourite thing about the Board Game Community?
My favourite thing about the board game community is that we are all passionate about board games. This means that quite often it is a community that brings people together who may not have been brought together otherwise. It is a diverse and energising community that is only going to get stronger as it grows.
You work with your wife Shae, what's it like working as a couple? Who get's final say on board game decisions?
Working is a couple is likely going to be very different depending on the couple. Shae and I are a strong team. We are very different people, but hold the same core values and morals and I think that's what helps make us work well in a team context. Any big decisions are made together after robust discussion and so most often than not, the right answer becomes clear through testing or the discussion.
I think in any team, if you value integrity and trust your teammates then it is pretty hard to go wrong... so to answer your question... Shae. Nah we pretty much come to an agreement together on most things.
Finally you can only play one game for the rest of your life - what is it?
Wow. That's a tough one, it would likely change by the day! lol If I'm ignoring all the games that we've designed, I would say Battlelore First Edition. That's an incredibly difficult decision though.