The Third Law: David Harbord Interview


The Third Law Interview

Anyone that read my piece on Kickstarter will remember Mark Swanson explaining that having your game looked at a while before its launch is a great idea as it gets people involved in your game.

One such company that has done this is Primogenisis Ltd. David Harbord spoke to me about his upcoming game, The Third Law, and I asked him to explain what it was all about and I was like a kid in a sweet shop when I saw his answer.

Introduction

Describing the game, David said: "The Third Law is a skirmish level miniatures game where teams of robots are used in battle by various nefarious factions to compete for power, influence and resources. Basically, think Robot Wars meets Fight Club with a bit of Death Race and Bladerunner thrown in."

Doesn’t that sound awesome I thought, but his infectious ability to make his game sound great is something I've fell for in the past. I would rush out to buy the latest video game after hearing great reviews only to be disappointed by a game that had been released to early, with no quality control done before launch.This is where the guys at Primogenisis are one step ahead. They have just released the print and play version of the game for all to see. They are looking for as many people as possible to play and refine it before it launches.

The Third Law: Ideas behind the game

Primogenesis was formed by four long-time friends who have been gaming together for around 20 years. Having made the decision to try and write a game some time ago, they had been knocking ideas around for months but couldn’t agree on any until Mark threw ‘robot arena combat’ onto the table.

This idea fired all of their imaginations and it wasn’t long before they had sketched out a world in which this seemed a reasonable and fairly plausible concept.

When I spoke to David about the creation of the game ideas he summed it up perfectly:

"As the Creative Director for the company I have a bit of a tick when it comes to world building and I insisted that anything we did had to have some sort of grounding in plausible reality.  Research soon showed us that many reputable scientists were predicting that as a species we would exhaust the available fossil fuels within the next century, as well as this planets ability to support an exploding population.

"As soon as we had found a thread that allowed us to avoid a generic plague/nuclear war/extinction event scenario we started to firm up our ideas for this future earth and a number of news stories about advances in robotic/drone technology gave us our combatants."

What are your main game influences?

With ideas this vivid surely there had to be some influence and when questioned the answer was ‘too many to list.' This shows that the guys at Primogenisis are gamers first. This excites me as a game made by gamers for gamers has great potential.

Why release Print and Play?

I had to ask why they had released the print and play version of The Third Law. Did they share Mark Swanson’s view on getting people to view and offer feed back to help a project grow?

David explained: "Two very simple reasons; we wanted to give people the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’ and we wanted to open the door as widely as possible to feedback. We have all become more than a little addicted to Kickstarter over the past few years and one of the things we always find ourselves looking for is a solid and well thought out rule set, be it for a board or miniatures game. 

"We felt that if this was something we always looked for, it was likely that others did too. We are really proud of how robust and innovative we think our game mechanics are and we think they will be a key factor in determining whether or not backers decide to invest their hard earned cash."

Feedback

By releasing the print and play David will gain valuable feedback and advice on how to take the game one step closer to its KS launch, but what will he do with this feedback?Many designers shun it and are blinded by the love of the game they have designed. So what feedback do they want and how will they use it to their advantage?

David responded: "All and any! We want people to give us the honest and unvarnished truth, in our opinion it’s the best way to improve and move forward. We have already had a number of very thorough and thoughtful comments from people who have dived straight in and these are helping us to improve the game in a number of ways. 

"We want people to talk to us about the art, the world, the miniatures, the gameplay. We would like to think we are an approachable bunch and we can guarantee we will give all feedback the up-most consideration."

Kickstarter Launch

The Third Law is launch in Spring 17 and are on course to do this. As with any Kickstarter project they have to deal with any number of unexpected bumps in the road but they anticipate nailing on a precise date in the next few weeks.

Over this period I plan on trying out the game and giving you a preview as it launches. I leave you with one final quote that has really got me excited for this game and I hope it does the same for you guys.

"We wanted to make a game where high quality robot miniatures bashed each other to pieces inside ad-hoc arenas, cheered on by the remnants of humanity. A sort of robotic gladiatorial spectacle captured in a table top war game!"

Credit to Primogenesis Ltd for the images of The Third Law.