Ah! Martyn Poole. One of our own. His game design for Robin Hood and the Merry Men has been picked up by Final Frontier Games and is looking very promising indeed. Ahead of the planned Kickstarter release in February, I pepper him with questions...
How long has the idea for Robin Hood been in your head?
I love Robin Hood and I remember playing Stone Age and Champions of Midgard and realising that a worker placement game set in the world of Robin Hood would be amazing. However, the first time I got ideas down on paper and in prototype form, it was very different to what it is today.
What came first - theme or mechanics?
The theme for sure, I wanted to make a TRUE Robin Hood game that felt thematic. I like Sheriff of Nottingham but to me it’s not very thematic. When I first reached out to Final Frontier, myself and Toni looked over my first ideas and we changed almost everything. We tested everyday changing things and adapting it.
Being 1000's of miles apart (they are from Macedonia), Skype was our best friend. Knowing that they did well with Cavern Tavern and that the campaign for Rise to Nobility was going very well, I listened and learnt at every opportunity - and the things I have learnt are priceless.
How hard has it been to let other people take your ideas and develop them further?
Good question, I am confident in my own ability but would I have got this game to a stage comparable, in the same time frame? No is the answer, yes, I can’t say it’s all my own idea, but the help and the things I have learnt has not only made the game better but it's made me a better designer.
This was the first time Final Frontier had collaborated too, so both parties learnt a lot during this development. In fact, they will be looking for more designers to pitch mid to heavy euro games to them soon, so I guess its been a success on that front too.
What are the most exciting things you have done since being in the industry?
Meeting amazing people is the obvious answer but aside from that I have visited Philadelphia, Essen, and Italy already since joining this industry full time. I still get a buzz when I help arrange reviews for an indie project and I see people comment ‘Backed’. There is no better felling than helping a publisher get backers and a gamer find games they will enjoy.
Do you have plans for a return to Sherwood Forest if the first game is successful? Or do you have other ideas?
I have a lot of ideas, ideas are the easy part. Now I am in this industry full time I have 101 things to do each day and design is sadly not one of them. Depending on what the future holds I would love to do another game based on this lore, who knows maybe an expansion....
What piece of advice would you give anyone for designing a game?
For me it's to get your ideas down on paper. We all have that moment when we think of something and then we either forget or it's on our mind so much we can’t think of anything else. At the beginning of Robin Hood and The Merry Men I had a few hundred sentences of ideas in a word doc. If I hadn’t of written them down I would have exploded.