Roland MacDonald Interview | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

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    Q&A with Roland MacDonald

    Roland MacDonald Interview - Ruthless Game

    Roland MacDonald is the designer and illustrator of Ruthless, an upcoming pirate themed deck building game coming from Alley Cat Games and Board Game Circus. I asked him some questions about the game.

    You're not only the inventor of Ruthless, you're also the illustrator. Which side do you feel more turned towards - game design or illustration?

    I am a full-time board games illustrator so that is my comfort zone. Notably I have illustrated Western Legends, the Deluxe Werewords and the upcoming Tiny Epic Mechs. There is some overlap in the process of game design and art design though and that helped during the development of Ruthless.

    How did the idea of developing a pirate game with poker elements come about?

    Ruthless didn’t start out as a pirate game. I was hoping not to use a cliche theme but as the game developed Pirates was an obvious fit. Once I had made that decision I was able to focus on integrating the theme, mechanisms and art so that they all support each other an integrate well.

    What do you think is so special about Ruthless?

    I love deck builders but they can be a too non-interactive and often lack excitement and theme. I think Ruthless counters these issues. The flow of Ruthless is very different to other deck builders. As players take turns, to play a single command and recruit, the order you play cards and time recruitment is very important and leads to a much greater involvement between players. It also keeps everyone engaged in the other players choices as they can deeply affect your plans.

    Do you have insider tips for the gamers out there that can give some more ruthpoints in the game?

    Firstly, recruit early. You need pirates to assemble crews. The game is often too quick for big money strategies to payoff, a la Dominion. Secondly, do not forget about the Legendary Achievements. Even if you lose most of the rounds you can still pull out a win but building your reputation on these end game goals and recruiting Captains or Quartermasters.

    Which one is your favourite pirate?

    Illustration wise I really like the number two, Jenny Doe. She is also has great flexibility but the four, Mad Maggs, is my favourite. A great all rounder and so much attitude.

    Is Ruthless the first game that you developed? Are there any more coming?

    Ruthless is the first game I developed from scratch. I also made a card-based version of Cluedo that fixed that game. I am working on two new ideas at the moment and an expansion

    In view of current events: How do you plan your visit of the SPIEL in Essen? What are you most looking forward to?

    This year I will be spending 50% of my time with Ruthless, demoing and signing at Board Game Circus or Alley Cat Games. Essen is usually a series of business meetings for me. Talking to publishers about doing art in the coming year. So I am looking forwards to a new experience and interacting with people interested in the game. I really love demoing Ruthless so can’t wait.

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    Great prices and an excellent selection of games. I know that whichever game I want I can get it from Zatu and cheaper than anywhere else. Great customer service too.

    Great prices and an excellent selection of games. I know that whichever game I want I can get it from Zatu and cheaper than anywhere else. Great customer service too.

    Always great service. Used Zatu multiple times and I’ve never been disappointed

    Always great service. Used Zatu multiple times and I’ve never been disappointed

    Good prices. Real Humans on the end of phone too. Delivery about 2 days.

    Good prices. Real Humans on the end of phone too. Delivery about 2 days.

    Always a good shopping experience when using Zatu. Good range of stock and competitive prices.

    Always a good shopping experience when using Zatu. Good range of stock and competitive prices.

    I called the customer service team to ask if items were in stock, had a lovely person answer the phone who was knowledgeable on the product i wanted to purchase and confirmed the item was in stock where as everywhere else was sold out! placed my order and had no hiccups navigating the website at all! Great, Great job! :)

    I called the customer service team to ask if items were in stock, had a lovely person answer the phone who was knowledgeable on the product i wanted to purchase and confirmed the item was in stock where as everywhere else was sold out! placed my order and had no hiccups navigating the website at all! Great, Great job! :)

    Enjoyed the video reviews in particular...

    Enjoyed the video reviews in particular...

    Really easy to order, love the helpful, detailed reviews. Looking forward to my games!

    Really easy to order, love the helpful, detailed reviews. Looking forward to my games!

    Fast shipping and well packaged, can't wait to get stuck in to Gloomhaven! Thanks

    Fast shipping and well packaged, can't wait to get stuck in to Gloomhaven! Thanks

    I live in Germany and was looking for Harry Potter Death Eaters Rising everywhere, but all the shops I found didn't ship to Germany or it was unreasonably expensive. Then I found Zatu Games and not only were they shipping to Germany but the shipping cost was really low and the game was available for a discounted pre-order price, so I thought I'd try Zatu Games. The game arrived in perfect condition and the customer support via Facebook messenger was really good when I had questions about when they would get their hands on the game and would start shipping out pre-orders. A very pleasant experience and I highly recommend Zatu Games to everyone ordering board games online!

    I live in Germany and was looking for Harry Potter Death Eaters Rising everywhere, but all the shops I found didn't ship to Germany or it was unreasonably expensive. Then I found Zatu Games and not only were they shipping to Germany but the shipping cost was really low and the game was available for a discounted pre-order price, so I thought I'd try Zatu Games. The game arrived in perfect condition and the customer support via Facebook messenger was really good when I had questions about when they would get their hands on the game and would start shipping out pre-orders. A very pleasant experience and I highly recommend Zatu Games to everyone ordering board games online!

    Great game, dispatched very speedily and arrived quickly in perfect condition!

    Great game, dispatched very speedily and arrived quickly in perfect condition!

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