So, I am really pumped to share this interview with you! It has been a bit of a wait, but I understand the time constraints after a successful game. I am very honored that Daniel Schloesser of Second Gate Games took the time out of his day to answer a few questions, I loved the look of his Kickstarter and I hope many of you got the chance to be part of it. I personally didn’t get the chance because I was saving money for a trip to Thailand, but once I get back – this game is on the short list for picking up.
Chris Michelotti: I am interested in why there was a name change for this game. Initially, it was titled M-lands, why the shift?
Daniel Schloesser: The name M-Lands was a working title that was born as a follow-up from our first title, B-Sieged. Our group played with the hyphenated letter to create something “similar” to B-Sieged, and the name M-Lands finally stuck with the game for its 2 years of development. However, when starting to take it out to the market, to reviewers, playtesters, and fairs, we noticed that M-Lands had a problem of relevance, it was difficult to remember or understand for many, seemed odd.
We did a little research among reviewers and business connections and everyone agreed that Monster Lands would be a much better name choice than M-Lands. People taking part in the research included David Waybright and Jeremy D. Salinas from Man vs Meeple, Paul Grogan from Gaming Rules!, Thomas Covert from Boardgame Revolution, and Robin Brooks from GeekDad. So we changed it to Monster Lands and are very happy with the name now.
CM: How did this world come to be? What was the world building process like?
DS: The world of Monster Lands is actually a continuation of the world in B-Sieged. Creating a game in the same environment was a given for us, since we put a lot of love into creating the world of B-Sieged. The world building process was done in-house, based on ideas by our graphics team. Remember, that Second Gate Game is born as a spin-off from a graphic design agency, so cool graphic environments are a MUST for us, in any games, we create or license. But it wouldn’t have been possible without the talent of our freelance illustrators, Enrique Fernandez and Aitor Prieto, they have done a FANTASTIC job of translating our ideas into great artwork. We briefed them for the more than 100 unique illustrations in the game (quite an upfront investment, by the way!) and they delivered top results.
CM: How do you guys come up with so many monsters and mercenaries? With each of them having their own feel, how do you balance something so large?
DS: The creative process is lots of fun, and we actually have ideas for many more monsters and mercenaries than we already have! The balancing is the more “sober” work. We balance by creating overviews in which we see all monsters and mercenaries as a whole, then compare their abilities and fine-tune prices, reputation and glory values, rewards, etc. This “theoretic” balancing is then followed up by playtesting, more than once did we need to slightly adjust some cards to get them right.
CM: You guys successfully funded, what does the future look like for Monster Lands? Will we see more stories and games in this world?
DS: The Kickstarter campaign went extremely well, it surpassed our expectations, given that we went on our own and are an unknown brand. We haven’t decided about the future for Monster Lands, though. We have many more ideas, but we will have to wait to see how the game does in retail, before deciding about more stories or games in this world. It will hit retail end 2018, so there is still time to go. In the meantime, we are working on other ideas. In the context of “games in this world” it is also worth mentioning that the rights for B-Sieged will revert back from CMON to Second Gate Games in 2019, so we might consider game development in that direction, too.
CM: In the story of this game, the queen is obviously at the end of her rope so she offers the crown. The Provost is stepping in to help measure the worth of the players… but why do they want some monsters captured alive? I would assume the queen knows about the provost’s pet projects, but what does the provost want with the monsters? Could this be another story developing?
DS: It is quite astute that you are picking up on this. Yes, in fact, there IS another potential storyline, although we are not sure whether we will develop it. In early days, a reviewer misunderstood M-Lands and wrote the game name as M-LABS, which was quite an interesting misunderstanding. We picked up on it, thought about a game where the Monsters are experimented on in the Labs of the provost to extract their magic powers and create powerful tools, but just like THIS storyline, there is a myriad of other potential storylines to continue in this world. As said, before deciding to do another game in this world, we will first wait and see how well Monster Lands does in retail. In the meantime, we have ideas for other games outside this world.
CM: Thank you again for taking the time to answer a few of my questions, and I hope that the game does well in retail so that we can see more of this world in the future.
What do you think? Are you going to be on the lookout for this game at your FLGS? Were you one of the many backers on this project? Don’t forget you can even sign up for information on joining in as a late pledge HERE. Let me know in the comments where you are with this game, I would love to hear from you!