If you are really into board games, you've probably heard of the dexterity game Catacombs from Elzra Games. A standalone expansion titled Catacombs & Castles recently launched on Kickstarter to much success. The game's designer Aron West and I have been chatting over email about the expansion and future plans for Catacombs. Read our interview below.
PopWrapped: I'm sure everyone wants to hear about the board game, but let's begin with a few fun questions to get to know the you a little better. If you can remember, what game originally got you into the board game hobby?
Aron West: Warhammer 40K
PW: Other than your own games obviously, what board games do you play most often?
AW: Usually a selection of the latest titles that our gaming group purchases to keep up with what is happening in the industry. Our group tends to focus on worker placement and area control games.
PW: Now there has been a few movies based on tabletop gaming (Battleship, Ouija, and Dungeons & Dragons) with even more rumored to be in development. You've created a whole Catacombs world with characters and creatures, how many years until we see a Catacombs movie deal?
AW: Not sure about a movie deal, but we are in the early stages for a digital version of Catacombs.
PW: That sounds cool. When you get stuck at a point in your game development, is there anything you like to do or watch (TV, movies, etc.) for inspiration?
AW: Hiking, yoga, reading, working out.
PW: Was the Catacombs series your first venture into board game design or did you make unpublished games prior to it?
AW: I remember making an expansion board that went around the outside of the standard Monopoly board where you could buy a Space Port :)
PW: That might actually make Monopoly fun to play. Before we discuss Catacombs & Castles, I'd like go back to the game it started with, Catacombs. For our unaware readers, Catacombs is a dungeon adventure board game mixed with crokinole. Most dexterity games are sports related, how did you come up with the idea to mix these different themes together?
AW: When we decided to create our first title, we pursued a few different design ideas before we focused on the development Catacombs. It was originally code-named "Nudgeon Quest".
PW: Catacombs won several awards from the board gaming community for its innovation. How is Catacombs & Castles continuing to improve and innovate?
AW: Catacombs is the industry's only fantasy, dexterity dungeon crawl. Catacombs & Castles aims to be the industry's only fantasy dexterity team skirmish experience that offers fast paced, cooperative and competitive play modes. In other words: set up quickly and start flicking with minimal down time.
PW: Catacombs is mostly a co-operative board game with a group of players battling one player. The new standalone expansion, Catacombs & Castles, is going to have a fully competitive play mode. Is this mode players fighting other players, or players trying to be the first to defeat the Catacomb Lord?
AW: When playing cooperatively against an Overseer player, the Catacomb team of heroes is working to defeat a Castle Lord. The competitive mode pits teams or individual catacomb and castle heroes fighting against each other. It supports both individual and team player versus player (PvP). No "Overseer" player is required and player elimination is optional. You can play with heroes from Catacombs Third Edition and the Cavern of Soloth expansion.
PW: You already have two new Catacombs adventures on their way, but for those of us who can't get enough, do you have any other games in development? Or even just concepts we can look forward to?
AW: Ryan Amos (one of the co-designers of the first/second edition of Catacombs) and I have been working on a Catacombs themed, fast to play, cooperative card game.
Big thanks to Aron for taking some time out of running his Kickstarter to answer my questions. Make sure you check out the Catacombs & Castles campaign page and give Aron and Elzra Games some support. More information about Catacombs & Castles can be found on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to ask Aron something we didn't, tweet him @AronWest.