Interview with Michael Andresakis & Alexander Argyropoulos from Mage Company

One of the things I love about Kickstarter is how it gives the opportunity for print and play games to be published as glossy boxed games. Michael Andresakis & Alexander Argyropoulos of Mage copmpany are curently running a kickstarter project to bring Höyük to life. They happily agreed to answer some questions on the project, developing a print and play game and kickstarter in general.

Tell me about Höyük and why I should back it on Kickstarter?
Höyük is one of these games you can love and play easily. The theme, the gameplay, the choices the games gives you makes it a good game. At least this is how we see it. We have thought that this game should be published for quite some time now and here is a good chance to become familiar with this game and give it some space on your table.

Imagine yourself some 10.000 years ago in the Middle East: Your Clan has left the ancient nomadic life and settled with 4 other Clans in the valley. Once again the community has been successful in harvesting crop, and some families are getting better at raising animals: next moon will see the birth of a new generation of pups. We all praise our own Gods and Mother Goddess for being good to us. This new Era has brought something new to us: the area is progressively filling with dwellings, built tight against each other. New generations are building their houses over the remains of old constructions. Our greatest Families have now constructions way up over the land, proudly showing off their Shrines and wealth to the community. Who knows, when the children of our children will come to the world, which Clan will rule this multitude?

In Höyük each player represents a Clan during the Neolithic period (2-5 players). You will erect a miniature version of the cities built in Anatolia more than 9500 years ago on the Höyük board size 60 x 80 cm…aw yes.. a big board.. using tiles representing Houses but also more pieces come to complete the game such as Ovens, Shrines, Pens and more.. The purpose of the game is to score the most victory points and for that you will have many choices and it depends on how you play in order to win. The best clan will prevail in Höyük!

Why back it: Simple, Easy rules, for few or more player, with a very strong theme, it has a lot tactics and many decisions. The price is normal, the graphics cute. What else would be better?

Höyük has been available for some years now as a print and play game, why did you decide to publish the game and why now?

We were looking for a game having as a theme the prehistoric age, to be simple, to be known and of course a game where a lot of people could enjoy it. The print and play version has helped a lot since a lot of people have played the game and was something that helped us simplify or improve few things. I think this game comes at the right time. I know more companies had checked it but they did not work on it so it was what we were looking for.

How did you approach developing a print and play game into a published released? Did you make any changes to the original game?

Pierre (the designer of the game) is a really nice guy and we contacted him about Höyük. The last months we played the game many times and we sent many copies to several groups in order to collect feedback and see what people think about it. Thankfully all the replies we received had to do with very specific issues of the game: Catastrophe Cards, Tie Brakers, a possible board, and the Height of the Houses.

Following the feedback of the playtesters we fixed a few things and we added some new cool stuff too. For example the Catastrophe cards were limited in number and specific on what they do so we decided to expand them a little and created more in order to add variety to the game. The most common question was: “Why should I start a new Block or make bigger an already existing Block since my houses will be destroyed?” With a few changes and a lot of playtesting we changed that without losing the sense of those cards which seem to play a significant role in the game.

We also focused on the number of the players. Therefore, we added a 5th player in the game in order to make it more interesting. Now Höyük is a game for 2-5 players and as we noticed the playing time remains on the same levels as with 4 players, meaning about 60 minutes, which is a good time. More changes have been applied on Höyük but you will be able to discover them in the upcoming campaign on Kickstarter. Höyük will be launched on Kickstarter early on February 25th, 10:00 Hours, NY time.

However we hope through our campaign to upgrade the game several times with new components and in that case we will upgrade the components of the game here in order to be known to everyone what the final game will include. We have made some new cool wooden components of our own design which fit perfectly with the game. We have found what we would like to add to the game to make it as good as possible. It still is not definite but we think that the price will be about at $50-$55 for Kickstarter and along with the stretch goals it will be a good chance to collect this game. From the beginning of the new year we will start uploading the final graphics of the game and we really hope you like them.

Am I right in thinking this will be your 9th Kickstarter campaign? That’s quite a lot of experience on the crowd funding site, what have been the biggest things you’ve learnt through those campaigns?

It needs a lot of energy and patience in order to succeed.
Be creative, work with people, get more ideas on the table during the campaign, it is never too late to fix some things.

Do not let people down after a campaign. If anything happens inform them, they appreciate when you tell the truth.

If you make a mistake, fix it and move on… everyone makes mistakes but fix them!

Competition is big, you must make a huge preparation for the campaign, before and after. Keep their eyes on your project, offer more things, better and useful

However.. if you do all these there is a chance it may fail but hey… you can try again!

A big thank you ro Michael Andresakis & Alexander Argyropoulos for answering my questions in such details and don't forget to check out the Höyük Kickstarter project.
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