Today we spoke to Max about his game design journey. Max is the creator of “Nova Lux” and “Impendium”, currently live on Kickstarter
sent me a message on discord with a kickstarter link and the words “This is the goal, just perfection”. We’re currently planning our own Kickstarter launch in the near future so of course I was intrigued and when I clicked the link was surprised to see just how right he was. This kickstarter page checked all the boxes on what a successful page should look like. Its no wonder this game funded in the first few hours. We reached out to Max, the designer of Impendium to answer a few questions for us that we might learn from his experience. Hopefully you will learn something too.
How and why did your game design journey begin.
“I’ve always loved board games. My wife and I got into the hobby in college with our group of friends and from there just got sucked in. Ever since, mechanisms and themes have just been rattling around inside my brain until we decided to really put some of those ideas down on paper and build some prototype with rudimentary art. It doesn’t take long for you to realize if you have the potential for a fun experience from there and the rest of the development cycle really just evolved out of a burning passion to bring that fun to someone else.”
What are you working on right now?
“Impendium is on Kickstarter right now. It is the standalone integrated sequel to our last game Nova Lux and the next chapter to the multi-threaded epic apocalyptic space opera that we are creating. I’m also in the final stages of the development cycle of a game called Virtue which is all about Angels and Demons battling for our souls.”
If you could go back. What is one piece of advice you would give to yourself?
“Spend more time building a community. Still not entirely sure how to do it honestly. There’s so much that goes into it and frankly so much that I don’t have time for as Dragon Egg Games is not my full-time job yet. It’s really tough to break into the board game space and gather a following. We’ve done so with modest success on Nova Lux (fingers crossed for Impendium) but the precampaign hype machine needs to be moving in full tilt for a long time before the campaign. It’s something we didn’t do at all with Nova Lux and we’ve done that with some success with Impendium but it could be much better.”
How do you playtest and what platforms do you use?
“In person with a solid group of friends who don’t care about your feelings ;)”
What are your future design goals?
“If Impendium is successful, I would like to develop the 3rd installment of what is ultimately a trilogy sticking with the compact box design and a 3 part trilogy that fits in a book sleeve. I also plan on making a big box edition of all 3 with minis, revamped art, and new expansions which will all come in one big package. Then Virtue, and who knows what of the other designs we have semi-baked will see the light of day.”
What would you say to someone who is launching their very first crowd funding campaign?
“Have as much of a budget for marketing and art as you can possibly afford and work with a team to help you run it. DO NOT expect Kickstarter to bring you backers, you need to bring your own. Think of your Kickstarter page as your own web store. It’s totally up to you to make transactions happen.”
What has been the most difficult part of game design so far?
“Writing the rules. It is so much easier to teach verbally and visually.”
What area of design do you think you don’t spend enough time doing and why?
“Rulebook development. I certainly put more into it with Impendium than with Nova Lux but I need to get more feedback from lay people blind playtesting with the rulebook rather than official board game reviewers who are abnormally adept at reading and digesting board game rules.”
Check out more of Max’s work at Dragonegggames.com