Interview with Solarflare Games’ Dave Killingsworth
Solarflare Games is launching their latest project at the end of this month, QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado. Dave Killingsworth, the creator and designer of the game, took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with us. With over 10 successful projects under his belt, Dave shared with us his experiences developing games, running crowdfunding campaigns and of course some more details on Solarflare Games’ exciting new project!
Hi Dave, thank you for taking the time for us! Solarflare Games has a new project coming up called QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado. Could you briefly introduce the game and the gameplay mechanics to us?
Quests is designed to incorporate the elements of a campaign story (written by a best selling fantasy and sci-fi author) combined with light Fantasy RPG, choice driven adventure elements, d20 combat, cards, and dice. The game is designed to have to read the story campaign part and every so often the story will have to encounter an adventure zone. The adventure zones are random card draws that the heroes face and resolve. These can be monsters, traps, events, side quests, and more. When you encounter a monster it indicates how many heroes can work to defeat it. The heroes use their equipment, stats and gear to work to defeat the monsters. You need to complete 8 full adventures and 8 unique boss fights to finish the adventure and save Sorcado.
You have an amazing video introducing QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado (I’ll link to the Youtube video here). Have you used videos to introduce the game for previous Kickstarter campaigns as well? What are the main things you pay attention to when creating such a promotional video?
We like to make sure we can show the game itself. Even if it is a render. We want to make sure the video shares the excitement and fun we built into the game as well as showcase just how beautiful our game world is.
QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado has a lot of storyline and story events to it. How was the process developing a board game around such an encompassing storyline? Did you build the game off of the storyline, or did you start with the game mechanics and develop the storyline around that?
We had a concept for the game. We wanted to merge a D&D like feel and fight, with an epic fantasy story, as well as incorporate elements of the game that felt like the old Choose Your Own Adventure Books. Once we knew that we needed an epic story we reached out to D.W. Vogel and convinced her to be part of the project and bring her best selling fantasy and sci-fi writing skills to the project. She did an amazing job in bringing humor and high fantasy to the game.
The QUESTS campaign isn’t your first rodeo doing crowdfunding on Kickstarter. What were some of the biggest lessons you learned from previous campaigns?
Never assume you know your fan base. Just make a game that you think will be fun and enjoyable for people. Do not over engineer the game, people are smart and over explaining everything can make for a boring and slow gaming experience. Also, you just do the best you can and prepare the best product you can and hope that people like what you have created.
One of the most fun things about running a Kickstarter is the interaction you have with your backers. Any memorable stories from previous campaigns you can share with us?
When we did Lords of Rock we had one of the most entertaining comment sections ever. We were making parody song titles for the game and we solicited ideas from the backers and got over 100 usable parody song titles. It was fun, engaging and lasted the entire campaign.
Kickstarter backers love nothing more than stretch goals, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a campaign without them. How do you go about planning your Kickstarter goals, trying to balance between upgrading components and adding more content?
I look to design stretch goals that are additive to the game. I reserve a certain amount of print space in the game for any good ideas that come up during the campaign that make great additions to the game. Additionally, we have done so many of these that we make sure that we know very clearly what things cost and what the math is that ensures you can add it to the project without endangering the production and delivery of the game.
Anything else you can share with other game designers and publishers who are looking to (successfully) run a Kickstarter campaign?
Make sure you have a good manufacturer that you trust and know well. The same goes for making sure you have a solid relationship with your import/freight company. Find an audience and make sure you bring them to your campaign and be ready to support your campaign the day you go live and build momentum on day one.
We’re very excited that you’re planning to print with Boda Games again. What are the things you pay attention to in particular when selecting a board game manufacturing company to work with?
Customer service and personal connections. I need to make sure I can trust the group I am working with to be consistent with quality and service.
How can people stay up to date on QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado in anticipation of the Kickstarter launch?
The prelaunch page can be found here here and will take people right to the live campaign once we launch:
Kickstarter pre-launch page QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado
The how to play video can be found here.
And our website and social media is as following:
Thank you so much for your time Dave and we wish you the best of luck with your campaign! Make sure to catch the Solarflare Games QUESTS: Heroes of Sorcado Kickstarter, launching May 25th.