So, I just wanted to take the time to first introduce ourselves. I am, of course, Jazz Paladin from EverythingBoardGames.com , and today we are here to talk about the minds behind an up-and-coming game called Silver Coin : Age of Monster Hunters. While the game is still a ways off, I wanted to meet with the group behind this game because it has definitely caught my attention.
How are you all, and can we let everyone know who you are and what your role is for Silver Coin?
We are great, personally just got a newborn child, so living the time of my life. 😀 Otherwise, I myself, Lan, am a game designer as well as the project lead and together with our graphical designer Maki, we have started the entire thing. People have to realize that we are a self publisher and that this is or will be a product of love and pure labor. Because the project was too big for the two of us, we got the artist Rok and my brother Gal who is handling the marketing side of it on board as well. But then there is an unofficial development team and many people from the community itself who are willing to help us out in a plethora of ways.
Congratulations on the newborn!
Did only half of the job, but thanks 😀
As for self publishing, I know that can be a challenge, but thankfully, it looks like you have a great team already. Where is the team located?
We are based in Europe, specifically within European Union in a small country of Slovenia.
And you mentioned your project is a labor of love, how long have you been working on it so far?
Started 8 years ago, with the initial idea. Hand-drawn map, bunch of handmade cards plenty of fun and no big plans whatsoever. But all of it changed in September of 2019 when we took that idea and started developing it day after day. It was also a point in time, when we had to discuss things with our loved ones and explain, that this is going to take away a big portion of time as well as energy and resources. Without their approval and support we wouldn’t have started it, but ever since thousands of hours have been spent on it and now, we are in too deep to backtrack… so to speak 😀
I totally get the undertaking and commitment this must be, I know I have had similar discussions, it can be difficult planning family matters alongside work and then new ambitions all concurrently! Have you had a chance to try Tainted Grail out? (For those reading, I initially met Lan when talking about Tainted Grail in a message board, and he asked if I would be interested in trying their new adventure board game)
Of course, I own practically the entire package. We actually started the campaign with 4 players.
Very nice! My wife and I are playing the base game a second time with the new Echoes of the Past add on and ever-essential pack donkey! That gives us a great starting point for conversation! With that in mind, would you say that Tainted is similar to Silver Coin, or a totally different style of game?
I think, it is a very good question. They share the initial idea of a grand adventure type game. But they have a lot of big differences between them. Tainted Grail is a campaign game, Silver Coin: AoMH in its essence is not. Tainted Grail is also story based or rather narrative driven game, again Silver Coin Age of Monster Hunters is not. We love games like Tainted Grail, Gloomhaven and so on and especially lately I feel we are getting a lot of those type of games on, the market (For example I also backed Aeon Traspass Odysey, Etherfields, ISS Vanguard etc… But as much as we all like those, we felt there are some lost opportunities there. So, what I and the entire team wanted to do is touch upon those elements that we felt are lacking and we wanted to see out there. One of those is the option to play a competitive adventure game, we feel most of the games of this type and genre that are being released are solo or cooperative game and not many are giving an option of competing against other players. So, while we are designing our game to also have a solo option, the primary focus is on the competitive nature. Speaking of this we come to a second point, which is that we wanted to create a game that can be played in one sitting and does not require a constant commitment of time and same groups of people, which a lot of these campaign adventure type games do. Also, because we are going in that direction, we really tapped into the potential of the high replay-ability. And I know that lately this is a generic answer to give about almost any game, but I cannot stress enough how strongly I believe that in that sense this game is special and extremely replay-able. We are talking about unique starting positions in each game, unique set up of Kingdoms, herbs, missions and in general the entire world. So, in that sense you are creating a different story and experience each time you play. I truly believe that. And I could probably go on and on about what I think makes this game different, unique, but maybe as the last one to mention would be the different play styles because of a variety of characters and constantly changing world that forces you to adapt. Adapting and making the best with what you got is very important aspect of this game in the ever-changing state of the board.
No, I totally get what you are saying, there are a lot of narrative/campaign based games out there now, and they have their strong points, but I was just in the process of reviewing Mage Knight, which sounds like it has a similar approach to your design—make it a fun, one-off adventure that can be played in a multitude of ways; coop, competitive and more. I also believe that if you create A great base game engine, you can always modifify it later to encompass all the other things—story, persistent world etc. But without a strong foundation, none of that is possible, so it is great to hear that you are focussing on the basics first. With that being said, is there anything you feel that Solver Coin is doing that hasn’t been done yet? What is most unique about it in your opinion?
Always difficult to answer as there are many many, many games out there that I have not tried or seen yet. So even if I think we did that, I may be wrong. But if I were to say what are the truly different and unique aspects of this game I would probably say that for me those are giving you a feeling of traversing a vast world, driven by the machines such as Monster Missions issued by the 6 Kingdoms, game play that is driven by mechanics such as action selection but in general has a strong theme behind it as well and the way the world is built that pushes you towards travel but every single time in a bit different way. This game is about slaying the monsters, but not in a traditional sense of being a hero. You are playing a character who does it because that is how he / she / it makes their living. I am a lean management specialist by profession and this game main theme I guess is slaying the monsters, getting the coins and figuring out the puzzle behind it how to do it in the most efficient way possible. As VPs are your coins and you need those coins to prepare yourself to fight those monsters, but also you need to learn magic, knowledge, learn new skills and all of it takes time. So, what amount of time, actions you spend on certain things to be as efficient as possible in the end I would say is a very interesting and constantly changing puzzle. That feeling to me is very unique.
I will admit, games that involve monster hunting have always been magnets for my wife and myself, she in particular just loves smashing faces in game worlds.
Are there different classes of characters or classes you can use?
Yes indeed, we are currently working with 15 different character designs, with different play styles and abilities which can be upgraded during the game. Some are more complex and some more beginner friendly in their design. Some are more focused on movement, some on battles and some change the way the game is played.
To give you a glimpse of what I am talking about, we for instance have a character called the Shapeshifter that uses its ability to shape-shift into the very monsters it has slain along the way. So, playing that one is an entirely different experience. In the end we will pick the ones that work best, and we are definitely going to be developing and trying out new ones in the future.
Wow, that is an amazing number of choices! I had no idea the number of classes had grown to such a number! I also need to let the audience know that I have read the old ruleset available on your website and have seen the game map/board. It is absolutely huge! Do you have a picture you can show off of it? Any idea how many cities or points of interest there are on it?
Yes, for the Map of the world, as for the landscapes, those might be coming in the art book where we would like to also show and talk more about the world of Atosia where everything is happening. As for points of interest there are in total 90 cities across the map. Among those 6 are the capitals of the 6 Kingdoms. In addition to that there are 4 locations where you can learn magic, 12 herb locations and 1 location where you can learn Ancient knowledge. But do not be intimidated by those numbers. It is all very streamlined for the base game, however if we are given an option to expand on those, there are plans for multitude of scenarios where we can expand on the already vast world.
Very nice. If people look at the map, they can see different color-coded kingdoms, can you briefly tell us the significance of having a distinct area for each kingdom?
Sure. Color coding is very important because many systems in the game are region/kingdom based. Kingdom cards, herbs, contracts, knowledge, and so on. Also, its a lot easier to differentiate between kingdoms if everything is color coded. Plus, it looks nice right? Just kidding looking nice is always secondary to the functionality. Always.
Yes, the functionality is key, and I love seeing how different Kingdoms could sometimes require different cards and resources for players to effectively function within each area.
Another thing that caught my attention in the scale of time and seasons…
While we might not be able to discuss this too much just now, can you tell us about the role that “time” plays in Silver Coin? How is it marked and how much time passes in the game world during a play session?
The time aspect in this game is extremely important. So, time is tracked on what we call the calendar board. The game itself lasts 2 in-game years or in other words 24 months/rounds. Thus, you get that thematic connection. However mechanically speaking, players will be experience different seasons, weather, time of day. Depending on those, monsters themselves, as also the characters, will gain and lose strength and abilities. Certain monsters can also only be fought/found at specific time of the day, weather. Weather is also affecting the movement across the map itself and then there is the concept of flow that is ever present in this world and on certain intervals the amount of »flow« in the world of Atosia will increase and with it the characters will gain additional abilities and become more powerful.
This face of Silver Coin was perhaps the most appealing for me, I loved to read about the effects of weather, and how that can change your experience game to game.
I am really excited to get this to my table, do you have any idea when the game will be released or go to crowdfunding?
And is there anything else your team would like to ask or share?
Then you deserve to see the new backs of the weather cards.
As for the release date. We always say it will be done when it is done, but still our plan is for this year to hopefully attend the Essen Spiel (fair) and after that if everything goes well at the end of 2021 or start of 2022 to have the crowdfunding for the game where you guys will tell us if we make it and in what shape or form, we do it. And then about 1 year or so after that with your blessing this game would see the light of day. 😀
As for sharing or asking yeah. Basically, if you think this is a project you would like to see made, share the word, come help us develop it as best as possible we are a small team and we do not have any giant marketing apparatus behind us to do the job for us. In the end it is simple. If you believe we are doing something that is worth the support help us make it a reality if not don’t do it and rather give your support, time and energy to those who you see fit. We take it as our responsibility to make this the best possible game but ultimately, we are creating this game for you, not for ourselves. So yeah, we are thankful to anyone that takes the time and listen to our story and we hope we can repay you all tenfold and in the end we can be proud of what we have done.
Oh, I am most definitely spreading the word on Silver Coin, for sure! I am excited to see this game come to life, and look forward to chatting with you again in the upcoming months about some more of the specific details behind Silver Coin: Age of Monster hunters, as well as developmental changes.
Gladly and once again big thanks for taking the time and reaching out about this interview.
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Jazz Paladin- Reviewer