We were lucky enough to speak to Vincent Vergonjeanne of Lucky Duck Games. Read on to learn more about the publisher's history, their current Kickstarter campaign, and what we can expect in the near future.
How did Lucky Duck Games begin?
I spent 12 successful years making video games, particularly Facebook and mobile using the “free to play” model. Vikings Gone Wild was one of those games.
Three years ago my brother, an amateur board game designer, asked for some artwork to use in a game. I said he could have it, but I didn’t want him to make just any game, I wanted him to make the tabletop adaptation of Vikings Gone Wild, which at that time was our top grossing game on mobile and Facebook.
He took six months to create the game and when we met up at our parent's house, he introduced me to it. It was brilliant and for the next six months my 24 employees of our video game company play tested it every day!
Realising that a video game company is very different in logistics to a board game company we created Lucky Duck Games and two months later in June 2016 we launched Vikings Gone Wild on Kickstarter which was a huge success for us.
With my knowledge and expertise in the video game world and seeing the success of the adaptation to tabletop, as Lucky Duck Games we decided to see what other games we could bring over into the board gaming world.
How did you get other video game companies on board with you and what have you learnt from it all?
Being from that world and knowing the big companies we went to them and chatted to them about their games. Zombie Tsunami had 200 million downloads, Jetpack Joyride, 800 million downloads and Fruit Ninja had 1.5 billion downloads!
The sad story of this though, and steep learning curve for us, is that Zombie Tsunami and Fruit Ninja are the least successful games we’ve developed and produced in the history of our company. But we’ve learnt that it’s not about the reach of a game that’s important, but about how well people connect with that game.
After this I realised that although we can do video games and run a successful Kickstarter campaign with all the production and logistics that go with it, we needed to have someone on board with us who understood board games better than all of us. So, we brought on Filip Miłuński to join our team as Creative Director. Filip designed several successful games such as CV, Capital & Vampire Empire, and is the winner of the 2017 Best Polish Game Designer Award.
For those who live under a rock and haven’t seen the Kingdom Rush Kickstarter, what can you tell them about it?
Kingdom Rush: Rift in Time is a tower defence game with lots of replay-ability. It's fully co-operative and there are a variety of skill levels to work your way through as the game becomes more and more frantic and aggressive, in fact just like the video game version by Ironhide Game Studio. The component quality is outstanding and we’ve had fun bringing the game to life with the amazing miniatures.
We are super excited about how well the campaign has gone and how much game backers will get for their money! The community have done it again and smashed through stretch goal after stretch goal. There are just a few days left to get out from under your rock and get involved!
What’s been your favourite Lucky Duck game so far?
Ironically, my favourite and our biggest selling game to date, selling 100s of thousands of copies around the world and being printed in 14 different languages doesn’t have a video game IP. Chronicles of Crime merges all we’ve learnt about producing board games with all we know about creating mobile apps.
We love the community that Chronicles of Crime creates, both from the Kickstarter campaign with everyone voting on ideas created and taking a role in shaping the expansions, and now how there is a growing number of both amateur and professional writers wanting to contribute.
The last stretch goal from the Kickstarter campaign is in the final stages and when released on the app will bring in a fantasy genre. Vampire in The Fog has been written by Mark Ren·Hagen, the Vampire King himself, and we are very excited about it, and believe everyone else will be too.
We are now working on Season 2 of Chronicles of Crime which will bring in new locations, characters, new universes and opportunity for more writers to tell the stories, so watch this space for more information soon.
So, what does the future hold for Lucky Duck Games?
We are excited about where we feel we are taking it. As we’ve grown in confidence and knowledge over the years, we feel our identity as a company that makes tabletop adaptations of video games is going to change. In fact, Kingdom Rush is the last game we will produce for now under this identity.
We feel we want to go forward creating app driven story-based games, like that of Chronicles of Crime. We are talking to big board game companies about working together on this and creating something unique to go alongside well-known game titles.
It’s a full pivot for Lucky Duck Games but we love the depth this can bring to the board gaming world, both the hobby and the companies involved.
If you could create an app driven story to go with any board game which game would it be?
I would love to do one for Gloomhaven!
Wow! This all sounds very exciting. I can’t wait to see what’s next from you guys. Thanks so much for spending the time to chat with me, I love your work and hope to see you at UKGE.