Interviews

Interview with Simon Gerring – Designer of Scrooge The Board Game

 

Wooden Shoe Games:

We’re here tonight with Simon who is bringing Scrooge – The Board Game to Kickstarter soon. Good evening Simon

Simon

Good evening in the US, good afternoon in Australia (where I am) and hope you’re sleeping well UK

Wooden Shoe Games:

Well good afternoon then and good night UK. Also, happy gaming to everyone at Gencon right now!

Simon

Wow, Gencon looks amazing doesn’t it John!

Wooden Shoe Games

Yes, yes it does!   So can you tell us a little about Scrooge?

Simon

Definitely!

Scrooge – The Board Game is essentially a fast-paced survival adventure game for 2-6 players (though you can play the board if you really want too!) targeted at families and, what we like to call, fun-loving adults!

Inspired by Charles Dickens’s beautiful and charismatic characters, with A Christmas Carol theme running through the game, it’s a game to battle it out against other players (or what we like to call ‘scroogers’) to be the first player to beat Scrooge at his Moment of Truth Challenge!

On the face of it, it is a family survival game, but there is a lot of hidden strategic depth, with endless tactical choices to make around movement, set collection and how (and if) you build your strength through deck building!

That aside, we believe it’s a lot fun, with oodles of interaction between players and mini games! This is important as wanted to not only create a tabletop board game, but wanted to bring the World of Dickens’s to life on a board!

Wooden Shoe Games

That sounds like a lot of fun. When can we expect it on Kickstarter?

Simon

Kickstarter is launching in less than 20 days on Tuesday 5th September 2017.

We are super excited about this, bringing 3 years of hard work together, not to mention 30 years of dreaming for Peter – my father!

Wooden Shoe Games

Wow! Wynken wants to know what gave you the idea for the game?

Simon

Hi Wynken! Excited to speak to you!

The ideas has been 30 years formulating in Peter’s head. We have a 10-part blog story on our website and Facebook page which takes scroogers through the evolution, but put simply, Peter is a Dickens’s nerd and always has been! Peter pioneered the annual World Famous Dickens’s Festival in Rochester, Kent which attracts millions of visitors. Peter also attempted a card game 30 years ago, but being honest it was an EPIC fail!

As a family, we’ve always played board games and believe in the value it brings to people’s lives. 3 or so years ago, my brother and I found Peter’s card game in the loft and, as families do, we talked and one Christmas we thought, let’s bring this dream to life…

3 years on, after 1000’s of hours playtesting, redesigning and testing again, we are ready to bring this game to market!

And are SUPER excited about it!

Wooden Shoe Games

That’s a lot of work, Blynken is jumping on now and wants to know if you have any planned expansions or stretch goals you can tell us about?

Simon

Good evening Blynken!

We have A LOT of ideas. We thought about expansion packs, and anyone who’s been on our website, will see we original were going to release 3 expansions, Scrooge’s Chase, Scrooge’s Bag of Tricks ‘FIRE’ and Ghost ‘POWER-UP’. These were going to be complimentary to the game, adding variations, however we decided to pull back some months ago…

After plenty of research, we wanted to focus on creating the most amazing board game and that’s where all our love, time and energy has been spent.

Our vision was to create a game that added excitement and fun to families lives, not to make money. So, we were dedicating to improving the core game and everything about it. That’s why our initial stretch goals are all focused on improving on, what is already, a high-quality game.

Reviews we’ve had so far talk to how high quality the prototype is, and that’s only 60% of what we are delivering in the standard game on Kickstarter (without any stretch goals built in!).

To provide a sneak peek into variations and stretch goals, we are looking into a 1 player APP and developing further the junior scrooge variation (which is already part of the core game); this will all be after the Kickstarter though! And for stretch goals, improving the component experience with even higher standard material, like bigger/engraved dice!

FYI standard game = core game to avoid confusion

Wooden Shoe Games

It definitely shows and from what we’ve seen so far it looks amazing so we can’t wait to see what improvements you have in store for the campaign. What was the hardest part in designing the game and what was your favorite part?

Simon

Mmmmm….there were A LOT of challenges let’s just say that, not more than the fact we are a family who live on opposite sides of the world. The hardest part has to have been the time in which, on top of our normal jobs, the game has taken. We wanted to put all our love and passion into making the game the best it can be, and let’s just say family holidays have been board game focused!

We are indebted to our partners for their love and patience in us, as we bring the 3 year journey to life!

Outside of that, the communication across continents has been a challenge and also working within a family budget!

Social marketing, photoshop, photography, ad designs, content writing – to save costs, we had to learn a lot of these skills, and that’s taken time! But we’ve loved the experience!

And as I’m sure any board game designer can attest the frequency and ongoing redesigning of the game through play testing! We’ve rigorously tested the game and that takes time and a need to be objective with yourself and your game! Let’s just say decision-making isn’t any easier as a family!

In regards to the best part….wow….there are so many…

Meeting people in the tabletop world has been a whirlwind experience. Everyone is so forthcoming, supportive and honest – this has been amazing. That said, hearing the reactions from our scroogers on not just the artwork, but the game play itself (from reviewers), the story of people’s lives and how the theme resonates with them has been humbling! And finally, the fact we, as a family, through all the ups and downs, have a tangible tabletop board game coming out is so fulfulling! It gives me the fuel and energy to bring this dream to life! We truly believe the game has the potential to be massive (whether that’s me being the optimistic person I am, I will leave to the readers!)

Wooden Shoe Games

We’re jumping back to Wynken again. Do you have any other games in the works with all those new skills you’ve learned?

Simon

I’m sure if you ask my family, no But, there are other ideas floating around and potential partnerships with other designers in the mix! That said, our focus now is bringing Scrooge to family tabletops around the world!

Tabletop is growing and growing fast. We love tabletop games, all I will say is “watch this space!”

Wooden Shoe Games

One more from Wynken, What is your favorite game?

Simon

I have 2 to be honest, but there is a back log of great games I love, like Scythe, Settlers of Catan, I’m super excited about Lucidity and games like Island of El Dorado. But my favourite 2 are Ticket to Ride and Risk. I love strategic games and whilst both have elements of luck in, I think every game does. I love epic everything, tabletop, films, music, which is why those 2 games really appeal to me.

Wooden Shoe Games

Ok, Blynken wants to know if you have any advice for new game designers (he’s asking that a lot, I need to keep an eye on that kid)

Simon

Hehehe, love that question and set him free

Based on my experience I would say 3 things: 1) Believe and be dedicated

Creating a tabletop game is not easy and it requires resoluteness. Be prepared!

2) Be objective and very open to feedback. Not only that, ask, ask and ask more questions. Don’t hold on to your idea, but work with people to innovate and improve! This gives you the best chance of success!

3) Play test as much as possible, with as many people as possible Both blind and in the room. I do not know how many versions of the game we developed, but let’s just say more than all the hands in my family!

Wooden Shoe Games

Ok last few questions lets go to Nod to finish us up!

What is your favorite Dickens character?

Simon

Hi Nod!

Has to be Jack Hawkins, or otherwise known as the Artful Dodger! You will see him on my Scrooge card as my avatar or even on my Facebook profile!

Artful Dodger is a skilled pick pocket in Oliver Twist. He has such a colourful character and despite being a villain, you can interpret Dickens’s fondness in the character in the way he describes his behaviour!

Our artist, Marcin Warzecha, has really brought this character to life

Wooden Shoe Games

What is your favorite version of A Christmas Carol?

Simon

I like the Muppets, haha, but seriously the 1938 version with the Lockharts in or the 1999 Patrick Stewart versions are awesome!

There are so many of them!!

Wooden Shoe Games

Lol the Muppet version is great in our opinion too.

I think that’s all from us, looking forward to the campaign in a few weeks. Any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

Simon

It’s been super awesome talking to you John, Nod, Blynken and Wynken!

My final thoughts would be, come join the Scrooge Family on Tuesday 5th September and grab a copy of the game. Our game has been built by a family for families and fun-loving adults. We promise you won’t be scrooged-over! Can you out-scrooge, Scrooge?

Lovely meeting you all and good night to all gamers around the world, where ever you are!

Wooden Shoe Games

You too, have a great afternoon, great night to those in the UK, and Happy Gaming to all our friends at Gencon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *