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Roll Player: Q&A with Keith Matejka


Roll Player Interview

I recently had the pleasure of playing Roll Player, a game that gained my interest by the huge amount of exposure it was getting from people on social media. The game was selling fast and I believe is now out of stock in most places but fear not, when I reached out to Keith Matejka he was full of answers that explained more about this game, its future, and a way to get a copy if you haven’t already.

See below for our conversation and what he intends to add to this already brilliant game...

Roll Player has been a massive success how did the idea come about?

"I've been really happy with how Roll Player has been received by gamers. It has been a real passion project for me. The idea rooted actually from playing another designer's prototype at a local designer event. I was hanging out at Protospiel in Madison, WI and a buddy of mine had been working on a card-based RPG system for a contest. He had a two-card character creation system. I don't really play tabletop RPGs much anymore, but going through his simplified character creation system reminded me of how much fun I had just creating characters when I played tabletop games like D&D, Vampire, Shadowrun, and GURPs when I was younger.

"It got me thinking about how much time people spend tweaking their character when playing Skyrim or Fallout. I was also thinking about Dominion. Then it hit me like ton of bricks. If Dominion was the meta-game for Magic the Gathering, then maybe this could be the meta-game of D&D/Pathfinder. What if there was an entire game about creating an RPG character!? I've rarely had ideas just "hit me" like that. 

"I believed in it 100% from that moment, and I was deathly afraid someone would have a similar idea and publish it before I got it done. So I jumped head-first into the concept. It had to have 18 D6's. It had to have six attributes/ability scores. It had to have dice rolling. I was play-testing 2-3 times per day for months. Changes were rapid. The game was getting better every day. The market was added. Backstories were added. Alignment was added. It was a crazy experience and in the end I still enjoy every play of it."

 Apart from being a really fun game are there any other reasons why you think it was so successful?

"It has a unique theme that really resonates with gamers who have a history in either tabletop or computer role-playing games. Gamers also love dice and Roll Player has no shortage or dice."

How did you find the kickstarter and what did you learn from this experience?

"I've run four kickstarter campaigns at this point. It's a tough one. I love connecting with backers and fans of my games. The Kickstarter platform offers an great opportunity to have a dialog with backers and get feedback on the game. On the other hand it is a nerve-wracking experience. Pushing to get more eyes on the project and reduce the momentum slowdown that is present in most campaigns is tough.

"I learned not to run a campaign right before the holiday season. I also learned that as prepared as you think you are, you're probably not prepared enough. Oh, and make sure you a have a solo version prepped beforehand. One amazing that that happened in the Roll Player campaign is the amazing submissions backers provided for the stretch goal Backstory cards. I ended up using quite a few of them in the final version. It's fun to find ways to get backer contributions into the final product."

Your latest KS is about to start soon can you tell me more about this?

"The Kickstarter for the expansion to Roll Player launches May 23. It's entitled "Monsters & Minions". Much of the expansion is a reaction to feedback on the base game. Players want to do something with their characters after the character building is complete. So, now they get an opportunity to battle a giant monster. There are six different monsters to fight (one for each colour in the game). I wanted the combat portion of the expansion to not feel super tacked on, so it needed to be integrated into the game from the first turn.

"Now players can choose to go on a hunt instead of buying from the market to fight minions, which can help with the final battle, as they gain information about the monster after successfully defeating a minion. Players have also asked for a higher player count, so the expansion supports an additional player (5). Players also asked for more variety in the market, so there are many new market cards added to the deck as well as an all-new type of market card called a "Scroll".

"Scrolls have an instant powerful effect, so timing when they come out and when they are purchased out is important. There are also 12 new classes to play and 2 new races. There is a new resource called XP to collect and spend, as well as a new special attribute die type that is transparent and has numbers that range from 3-8.  And more, I'm sure!"

Will this game be just the run of the mill expansion or do you see it adding more than just a few options to the base game?

"It's a pretty hefty expansion. Lots of cards, chits and dice. It expands the variety within the box and offers new strategic options. Plus you get to fight stuff."

Many people are disappointed at missing out on roll player will they have a chance to get the base game fro this KS?

"Yes! There is a third print run of the base game coming, and backers can also pledge to the base game with the expansion as one of the KS pledge levels."

As gamers we always want more and if the demand of the base game is anything to go by we will blast through the stretch goals with ease do you have enough to keep us happy and can you divulge any info on these?

"HA! I am doing my best, for sure. I have lots of things planned. There will be more opportunities for backers to participate in creating content as well."

The solo mode of roll player is one of the most talked about among my group will you be expanding on this at all or will this expansion allow solo play?

"The solo mode of Roll Player is more popular than I ever imagined it would be. Honestly, I hadn't thought much about designing a solo mode until midway through the KS campaign. The expansion supports solo play even more than the base game. There are specific versions of the monsters for the solo gamer. There are specific additional conditions for the solo gamer for the final monster battle. There's a "lose" condition for the solo gamer with the expansion, and the solo rules have been updated to accommodate all the changes that are coming with the expansion."

What is the future for this game and what other ideas are you working on?

"I've got a lot of ideas brewing for Roll Player. Assuming this expansion goes well, I'm considering doing a smaller expansion that adds some additional fun pieces to the game as well as add more variety to what's already there. Stay tuned!"

Final Thoughts

Keith seems to be listening to everyone’s opinions on the game and adding stuff that we really want. More solo-player choice. A more in depth multi-player and combat with monsters! This is great for everyone who owns the game but what’s really pleased me is the option for people who have missed the game thus far will finally have a chance to get a copy.

I suspect this campaign will fund very quickly and I am going to go out on a limb here and say within four to six hours the game will be funded (if I am wrong I will do a forfeit of Keith’s choice). I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did and it was a pleasure to talk to Keith and if you have any questions he is very active on social media and I am sure he will answer them for you.

Remember May 23 for the launch.