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.
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.
Rouge Angels Map – one of manyRouge Angels WIP artRouge 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.
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.
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.
Moogh is a game that I both did the game design but also illustrations and graphic design. The great thing about being 360 is that you shape the story you want. I am so proud that the game is out there being played as Print and Play but I am also very grateful to anyone who backed the campaign.
I want her to tell you how I worked on Moogh illustrations. See the campaign here
Imagining a world long time ago
I think one af the big difficulties when illustrating Cavepeople and prehistoric animals is that the preserved history is made of some cavedrawings and archeological findings. So I wanted everything to feel like part of the Moogh universe – all from icons and interface to illustrations. But I also wanted to add flavour to the classic view of cavepeople, giving them more character and funny clothing. During the development icons changed several times but my original caveman laid the style. The following writing is more tips for illustrating than a Moogh specific story.
Size and format
Having to redo artworks can be a pain. I always try to get the right resolution and aspect on my artwork before I start. I Sometimes make sketches to test the full workflow from sketch to game. I often use https://www.boardgamesmaker.com/ to find templates for standard cards.. When all is right format and color space I can start.
cmyk, rgb, 72 dpi or 300 dpi or a4 etc. This is something many designers want to know. I often hear designers say “ I don’t want pixel size – just centimetres” or “you don’t measure in pixels for print – you use dpi”. Fact is that dpi, pixels and measure are a holy triangle. Change one and at least one of the others needs to change. DPI (dots per inch) makes most sense for printing material since it measures how many “pixels” will be put on the paper in each axis within one inch (2,5 cm ish) – so you shouldn’t think or talk about dpi when you make anything online. But a monitor is often 72 dpi or 96 dpi if you really want to have a measure.
Imagine you got a facebook post – which is normally 1080×1080 pixels. How long is that in cm? well it depends on the dpi. If you print one dpi then it will be 1080 inches long (762 cm). So if you change the pixel amount – you either need to change the dpi to keep the length or visa versa. I probably lost you by now.
For print 150-300 dpi is sufficient. Print Shops usually want 300 dpi . But when you make a standard card this is not very many pixels (about 1122px high). When I say not many – I mean for artwork. If your artwork is only in poker card size 300 dpi.. You won’t be able to scale it much up. So for cards I often use 600 dpi for the artboard – and then I later have the option to crop the image without losing quality (for a 300 dpi print)
Everyone learns that print art should be cmyk (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). And our game should be printed right? What colour space do I use for illustrations then? RGB. Yes, that’s right. Why? Well because you are probably not only going to show you art on print but also online lots of places. A monitor (since it emits energy from each led) can actually show more vibrant colors that we can put on print. Choose the most saturated pink in photoshop in cmyk and then change to rgb and you will be able to make it even more vibrant. This is the simple reason you make art in rgb and converts it to cmyk – because if you go the other way you will not have the best looking images.
rgb (lots of colors) -> cmyk (less vibrant colors) / cmyk (less vibrant colors) -> rgb (still not vibrant)
For Moogh I tested to sketch in Clip Studio Paint instead of Photoshop. I just love CSP – it is super responsive with your pen and has awesome functionality like using sketch layers lines to control fills on different layers or gap closing lines when you fill. I am also thrilled about CSP blending brushes – but with Moogh I exported the sketches with some fill layers to photoshop for painting. Over time I have collected and sorted photoshop brushes and I keep trying to make groups of brushes that relate to a project so I can always go back and ‘replicate’ the initial style.
Go wild. In moogh I really played with many different tones of skin color – and I really like that.
Import to indesign
Sometimes I import a photoshop with several artworks into illustrator. The problem is that if you at a later stage change anything in layers visibility – InDesign will lose the connection and all images already placed will often swap. That is why it might be better to export each separate artwork in the file..
Moogh art has been done with care. I really tried to incorporate a lot of stone, plants and leather. And the characters should range from cool to dumb. I really hope you like the art and will have fun playing Moogh.
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 PillboxWork in progressSketchWork in progressWork 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?
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.