Article by: Jillian Schmett
Hey everyone! Welcome to the first interview I've ever conducted. Martyn Poole, the designer of Robin Hood and the Merry Men (coming soon to a Kickstarter near you!) has graciously agreed to be my test subject for the occasion. So, without further ado, let's dive right in.
1.) How and when did you first become interested in "hobby" board gaming?
I am fairly new to modern board games, I played games like Cluedo (UK over here) and Battleships as a child but video games is where most of my time was spent. Around two years ago I bought Heroes of Normandie and was shocked at how difficult the rules were (something that is sadly more common than I first realised). I did some research and came across kickstarter and let's just say the rest was history. I found a local club and fell in love with boardgames in a short amount of time.
2.) What is your current favorite game?
I have to say Azul, a game my partner, who isn't a 'fan' of games, will play. The ability to play at home really makes a game that much more enjoyable to me.
3.) How long have you been working full-time in the industry? What would you say is your favorite part of doing so?
I started full time in November 2017. This was after I was doing full time hours on Robin Hood and working a full time job. But there is a common misconception in this industry that most paid jobs are paid well. I was VERY lucky to get an opportunity to help two publishers out which meant I could leave my job and devote my time and effort to this industry.
4.) Your first game, Robin Hood and the Merry Men, is coming to Kickstarter soon. Do we have a known launch date yet?
As of writing this there is not, but watch for an announcement very soon!
*Jill here; I will include a link at the bottom of this article where you can subscribe to stay up to date with the latest news about RHMM!
5.) How long were you working on RH before you felt that you were ready to move forward with the Kickstarter?
This is a hard question as I can't give a set timeframe, but what I can do is spread light on the whole history of Robin Hood and my partnership with Final Frontier.
I watched a VLOG from James Hudson a few days back and his words of, "the harder you work, the luckier you get" really hit home. For the past year I have been told by many people how 'lucky' I am. To an extent I agree but without working two jobs and putting myself out there none of this would have happened. The idea for Robin Hood was a dream of mine and I thought maybe in 2 or 3 years I could get it to KS. I spoke to Toni from Final Frontiers about it and within 3 months I had signed a contract. 12 months later the prototypes are on the way to reviewers and we are days away from announcing the release date!! Hard work, risk and dedication go a long way in this industry.
6.) What was the biggest challenge you faced while working on the design?
Easily the distance between myself and Final Frontier. This restricted what we could do together but we were resourceful and after a month or two everything seemed to flow. Skype, Facebook messenger and weshare were our best friends.
7.) What do you anticipate will be the biggest challenge you face with the upcoming KS campaign?
I am so lucky that Gonzalo from Thundergryph Games let me help on the Spirits of The Forest KS so I am now accustomed to what it invloves.
The sheer amount of work responding to backers was definitely a surprise and one that I am glad I will be prepared for.
Other than that a huge tip for every creator out there, and one I actually ignored when it was first given to me, "You wont please everyone." This is so true and handling peoples' requests that you aren't able to fulfill in the correct way is a skill I hope to carry forward.
8.) What has been the most rewarding moment/feeling for you so far in this process?
Easily seeing people play and enjoy the game, being told a player prefers it to X game and it being more fun than Z game. Its a huge relief when the game is a success. It's also great when players give you feedback which helps make the game better. A games creation is not just your ideas but a mixture of getting feedback and, as much as it hurts, changing the game if needs be.
9.) Any advice you can offer for aspiring future game designers?
Don't be afraid to be told 'NO'. If you ask every designer, I am sure they will tell you that not all the ideas they have had are successful. Write down your ideas, make a prototype and test test test.
10.) Are there any more upcoming design projects we can look forward to seeing from you in the near future?
I have two big design/develop projects on the horizon but I just want to focus on this KS before I can devote any time to that.
So there you have it, folks! Special thanks to Martyn for agreeing to and helping with this interview! Be sure to check out Robin Hood and the Merry Men when it hits Kickstarter!
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