A Sci-fi story driven game from SunTzuGames

Hello Emil. First of all — congratulations with the successful Kickstarter on you new game Rouge Angels. When this interview hits the reader it is probably very close to the campaign ends – but I am still excited to hear about the game. Tell us about it and also why you think your first Kickstarter failed?

Rogue Angels is my take on how to merge an adventure game with action and RPG elements. I wanted to create a Mass Effect of board games, and Rogue Angels is my answer to this challenge fused with video game inspired mechanics and streamlined execution.

Rouge Angel Art

I think the Kickstarter crowd and board game market has changed a lot over the last 5-8 years. With the rise of direct to shipping campaigns and pre-order marketing style tactics on Kickstarter, the playing field for indies have shrunk and become less accessible.

the playing field for indies have shrunk and become less accessible

My first campaign failed for a lot of smaller reasons that accumulated, but the major issue was me still believing the same crowd could be drawn in. I needed much more visibility, many more reviews, a lot more gamers involved and so on.

With those issues fixed and with a more appealing campaign, it has been easier to gain momentum and have a better campaign overall this second time around 🙂

You definitely nailed something looking at the numbers. Here on Greenhookgames you previously featured with your game Burning Rome and you also have some other games in your portfolio. Do you have a different approach to how you got the art for this game made.

Most of my activities related to development, testing, and production have been refined over the years. I would say that my approach to collaboration with artists have remained roughly the same. I have had to learn a lot on many fronts, but my people skills have always been well tuned towards freelance collaborations and such.

I found a few new artists with specific skills for character drawings and map drawings, which has made it easier for me to create outlines and convert prototype materials into more final looking stuff.

Rouge Angels Map – one of many
Rouge Angels WIP art
Rouge Angels Prototype Playtest

When in the process did you start adding more final looking art to your prototypes?

After my third or fourth play-through with different gaming groups, who all proclaimed that this game and the mechanics had something special to offer (even though they were just looking at black and white printed paper), I started getting in touch with illustrators.

From around 2020 I started putting more and more artwork into the prototype, also when it moved online to Tabletop Simulator.

The game also comes with some awesome mini figures. Can you tell a little about why and how that is made possible – are there any things to be aware of when you want to add minis to you game.

The miniatures were not initially part of the plan, but this was also one of the many smaller issues with the original Kickstarter campaign. As it did not have the eye candy for those eager to get some plastic.

I therefore chose to go the Gloomhaven route with miniatures for the heroes (alongside standee if you are more into that) and standees for the enemies. It would have been a much heavier game if I were to create plastic miniatures for the enemies as well, plus it would reduce the accessibility of the game and gameplay.

Rouge Angels Minis

The challenging part of creating miniatures for a game is that you must be true to the source material/original illustrations, but also make sure the model can actually be cast in a mould. There are certain limitations to that depending on manufacturing method, so there you should ally yourself with some people who know how to do this.

Thank you for your insights — is there any final things you want to tell to the readers.

Rogue Angels is indie through and through, so what you see is my attempt at making it through a very narrow strait in the middle of a blood red ocean of competition. I would therefore always advice people to do a lot of research before attempting to do the same.

I am always available for a chat, and should Rogue Angels be of interest, please consider giving it a push towards reality 🙂

A Shout-out for Jacqui Davis new project SUL

Previously Jacqui shared her story on making art for board games. And she has now contributed to a great number of games, like the latest Almenac – Crystal Peaks by Scott Almes. When I heard about her personal fantasy novel project I wanted to share it here on GreenHookGames even if it is not a game (yet! – keep reading…) I asked a few questions about the upcoming kickstarter for the first book ‘From Gold to Iron and Rust’.

Tell us a little about this project and your co-artist.

Sul started out as a written role-play between a fellow illustrator, Katy Grierson, and I, back in 2007. Since then it has grown to span many, many docs and lots of history. We decided it would be fun to share this with others by writing up a portion of the lore as a novel. Due to life events it got set aside for a few years, but in 2021 I decided to finally re-write and polish up the story.

What inspired you when building the universe of SUL.

I’m mostly inspired by reading, mainly history, and documentaries. When I hear something interesting I love to see how we could apply it to the Sul world and characters.

It is amazing that you both write and draw. How does that work? Did you write everything before you started painting or was it back and forth.Tell us a little about the process.

For the book, I wrote everything first. Then, for each chapter’s illustration I re-read and chose the scene that most fit each chapter. Or what stayed in my mind the longest after writing. However, I’ve been drawing the characters so long I don’t really need a description of them anymore.

What is the future plans on Sul?

Well, first I plan on writing and illustrating Books 2 and 3 in this particular story. There is so much history to get through that the problem isn’t running out, but rather choosing what to do next. I’d also love to bring out an audiobook and, of course, a boardgame.

If you find the project interesting you can get more info on the SUL website and sign up for notification when it launches.

Thanks for checking in on Greenhookgames. If you have a project I should know about – feel free to reach out.

MUD – a new pill in the box?

Pillbox Games – the creators of the beautiful Side Effects are launching something new. Last we talked with Ben Bronstein about his art – which you can read here. So I welcome Pillbox back on GreenHookGames to tell us more. Digital marketing may include a full suite of methods like social media advertising, email newsletters, affiliate programs, online trade shows, marketing video etc. With so many methods and techniques, you may have a hard time developing a marketing strategy for your business. That’s why you should narrow down your options and choose the best strategy that works.!!It is best for your to read this post here, for the best marketing services.

Start by telling us how Side Effects was received. 

I couldn’t be happier with the reception we got, especially considering it was our first game. Every person who worked on the project gave something special to it. Have to give credit to Panda GM for how fantastic the final product came (especially the pre-press team).

Work in progress

Good – now let’s hear about the new game ‘MUD’. Why did you make it and what is it about?

I think it was inevitable that given our interest at Pillbox Games in making real world systems into games that we’d eventually make our own spin out of the ultimate real life game: Politics. Especially given the current environment there has been constant fodder for game scandal concepts. That being said, we made a concerted effort to draw bipartisanly from a wide range American history and not to focus too much on current events.

MUD by Pillbox
Work in progress
Work in progress
Work in progress

That sounds wonderful and explosive 🙂 Looking at the images we see that you are somewhat staying true to your elaborate and perfected graphical style. It looks great. What considerations have you done about which art style to go with?

I think if you enjoy tabletop gaming to any extent, you have to enjoy systems, and figuring out a system to convey the information we had in mind was incredibly fun. First we wanted to reference actual American documents, so government emblems, campaign posters, vintage ballots, political cartoons and currency were the first thing we collected and referenced.

Then we had to figure out a system of conveying numerous parallel suits to our cards without confusing the player too much. (A little confusion can be a good thing, as it allows a player to sneak by or deceive their opponents during gameplay). Rather than having multiple suits in the style of a poker deck, we realized that utilizing the entirety of the card was the best solution, click to see the game and start playing. We basically have 3 suits; political leaning, economic class, and region. After a lot of tweaking, we realized the background pattern was best for political leaning, the border was excellent at conveying economic class, and then a central piece of art could clearly show a regional map. After that, we just had to figure out unique and differentiable color schemes for each category. 

Work in progress

Is there any place to go if we want to stay updated on the release and your works?

  • Instagram @Pillboxgames
  • The PillBlog on our website (pillboxgames.com)

I’d say Pillbox’s official instagram is the main place you should stay updated for all our games. Once we launch, I’m sure our Kickstarter page will also be just as prominent. My personal social media postings have basically dried up since the pandemic. 

Kickstarter launches on October 6! And you can still buy copies of Side Effects at pillboxgames.com.

THANK you! We will keep an eye out. And thank you for sharing a print and play here.

Print & Play: 

On the cover with James Churchill

You know those box covers that just seem to not only capture the atmosphere of some distant place – but also are soo well balanced it is the perfect board game cover? That is how I feel about James Churchill’s illustrations. I hope you can be inspired by this interview about his art. Welcome back. If you changing your home or office the most important things that you have to consider is the moving company.

Tell us a little about your artistic background?

I studied Graphic Design and Fine Art for 6 years at University from 1985 to 1991, which included life drawing, illustration, painting, photography and sculpture. For the past 30 years, I’ve been working in Theme Parks, Feature Films and other areas. I’ve only been working in the game industry for the past five years. 

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Illustrations on the border to board games – by Evgeny Viitman

Is a digital board game a board game? Where do you look for artists for your game? I find inspiration on behance.net among other places – and that was where I found Evgeny. I immediately fell in love with his strong expressive comic characters – and several of his works looked like digital games playing with analog references, while if you want to play games to make money online there are options like robin roo casino for this. I hope that he will be working on a board game project soon – his art rocks! If you enjoy board games you may enjoy to online gambling at http://cityout.lt/what-are-no-deposit-bonuses/ you can find all what you need to know about this kind of games. Check out the casino seuz to enjoy this game.

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Hi Evgeny – where are you from?

Heyo! I was born in sunny Alma-ata in Kazakhstan which is right on the border with China, surrounded by beautiful Tyan Shan mountains. When I was a teenager my family moved to Siberia (still a big mystery for me, why), at the age of 23 I moved to Europe, to Prague, where I spent good 6 years of my life, then moved to Berlin, now me and my family are based in Barcelona.

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how did you end up working with art for games?

I am coming from a family of theatrical artists (my parents are scenographers and character designers working for theatre and also teaching painting, drawing and sculpting at the Art Academy, so I was exposed to art since I was born. Nevertheless, because of my teenage rebel feelings I wanted to become everything else but an artist, I chose to study physics, but life has directed me to follow the path of my parents and with time I switched to art anyway. My first experience as a game artist was in 2006 when I was working for Unigine.corp as a 3D artist/animator. Then it all started – I tasted the gamedev and dived under it’s muddy waters.

Have you ever worked on any board games or card games? 

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Vibrating lines from Cam Kendell

Illustration by Cam Kendell from the game 5-Minute Mystery

Some of my favorite game art is polished yet expressive and distinct at the same time. When I came across the board game 5-Minute Mystery I knew that we needed to feature the vibrating lines from the illustrator here on GHG. The name is Cam Kendell and he is from Utah, USA.

Tell us a little about your artistic background? 

I grew up drawing countless Ninja turtles, He-Man characters, and an endless supply of Jim Davis-esque animal characters. Comic Strips were my main form of artistic outlet. I drew a lot up until High School when I slowed down to focus on Music and learn to play the accordion.

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Zoom in on Sophie Wainwright

Just before Essen, I was contacted by a Núria Casellas, from Cucafera Games. She was curious if I would take a look at their newest game ‘Zoom In Barcelona’. If you attended SPIEL19 you might have seen the game. I am always happy when designers or artists contact me about their project so I Zoomed in on the game. It is with great joy that I share this interview with the English artist – based in Barcelona: Sophie Wainwright.

Tell us a little about your artistic background? 

Without sounding like too much of a cliche, I’ve always been interested in art. I was drawing at a young age and it’s something my parents have always encouraged. 

As a teenager, I used to play online games and would sell illustrations of players’ avatars to make gold etc.

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Obscurio artist Xavier Collette says – ‘be yourself’

Recently there’s been a hashtag on twitter I love to follow. #10days10cards – It is a great source for beautiful card arts.

Post by @notplayingtowin on Instagram

SO when the Instagrammer @Notplayingtowin chooses to post this image I can only agree – it is wonderful. And the artist that stands behind some of the iconic visuals from the beloved game Mysterium is also behind the new equally beautiful Obscurio -published by Libellud. That is the Belgian Xavier Collette now living in France. I bet that I am not the only one that is awestruck by the incredible skills showing in his art. I’ve asked Xavier about his art beginning like always with his background.

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Mad hat designs from Paolo Voto

It is not an easy task to create art that draws you closer with a vivid and magical atmosphere that matches the one in the fairy tales of Lewis Carrol. If you attend Gen Con you can experience just that in the game “Hats” designed by Gabriele Bubola and released by Thundergryph Games. Let me present you the incredibly talented artist Paolo Voto from Bologna in Italy.

Tell us a little about your artistic background? 

My journey in the illustration world began as a child. I cannot tell exactly when because, from what I remember, I demonstrated a great interest for drawing straightaway. For this reason, I have studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts for a couple of years. Indeed due to personal circumstances, I did not graduate.

The first professional tool which gave me the chance to earn some money is the airbrush pen. The same I have used to customize several choppers motorcycles. After that, I worked for a confectionary company where I used to decorate chocolate eggs and similar products for many years.

Meanwhile, I came closer to digital, I made my first illustrations with Photoshop getting more and more skilled.

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Art with a vibe from Shirin Rafie

I regularly visit ‘art & graphic design for tabletop gaming‘ on facebook – mostly to learn from the different feedback on art. I cam across the works of Shirin Rafie from Singapore on the game Jumpship. The kickstarter for Jumpship has gone under my radar and was apparently cancelled. It seems on the backers that they look forward to a re-launch. The game is available as Print and Play here. But the state of the game does not change the fact that the artwork on it is really incredible and personal. Enjoy the interview.

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how you got into making art for board games like Jumpship and March of Ants?

I got most of my art background from studying Animation in University, where back then I was very interested in developing my skills under pre-production and concept development.

I got into board games through a contact who eventually became a good friend of mine where he engaged me to work on art for various educational board games for schools. Having more familiarity with job scopes like these, I took my chances in finding more work over at Board Game Geek in order to find more opportunities!

Sometimes the style you think you have is great until you fit them all together and realize that they don’t work well together with other nitty gritty things, like the font or the graphic design.

Shirin Rafie
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