Thursday, 2 August 2012

Ambush Alley Games - Present, Future and Zombie battleplans

We hope you have enjoyed part one of this interview with Ambush Alley Games Shawn Carpenter.

While we still had him chained to the keyboard we interrogated him for more information.

This is what we got ..........

Thanks to the support of a lot of loyal fans and a few worn-out keyboards and computers, we continued to grow, eventually publishing three other games (Ambush Z, Force on Forceand Tomorrow’s War) and several companion books. That was a lot of work for what was then a three person operation, but we had help from a strong team of very devoted play-testers and consultants – folks like Piers Brand, Leigh Neville, Mikey Moore, Jose Ventura, Joe Trevithick, Jake Rose, Chris Maes, Jim Wonnacott, Ken Gordhamer, Tom Konczal, Jim Keats, Jay Arnold, Chris Mihlan and many more added their shoulders to the wheels of our constantly growing labor of love.

Our efforts drew the attention of Osprey Publishing in 2009, and we agreed to enter into a publishing partnership with them. Ambush Alley Games, which at that time consisted of Robby, Peggy, and myself were suddenly partners with the world’s largest military history publisher and our games would soon be distributed world-wide in huge numbers. Needless to say, it was pretty exciting!

A lot of misconceptions arose from our relationship with Osprey. We’d go to shows and folks would ask us, “How much did Osprey pay for your company?” We’d patiently explain that Osprey hadn’t purchased our company or our games – we retained ownership of our IPs and received a generous royalty of sales of our books.  Others would ask us how it felt to be rich or what kind of new cars we were going to buy with “all that Osprey money.” Some even accused us of “going corporate” and getting “too big to relate to the ordinary gamer anymore.” While we definitely saw an increase in revenue after the Osprey partnership, it certainly wasn’t enough to send us out to the Bentley dealerships. With rare exceptions, you won’t find many folks buying houses in Belize with all their game company earnings. The truth is, none of us here at Ambush Alley Games look to the company as our sole means of living – even the mysterious Robby has a day job!

I suppose we did go corporate in the sense that we officially formed a corporation – but that happened before the Osprey partnership. We also increased our company head-count by 25% - by bringing on Jim Roots as our fourth partner. Legendary “AAG Towers” is our modest ranch-style home in Enid, Oklahoma, and our corporate office is in what should be our formal dining room. Folks who picture us as gaming fat cats sitting in our sleek corporate offices are a far shot from reality, sadly. I promise that if we ever get be 1-Percenters we’ll remember to light a cigar with a $100 bill in gratitude to the folks who put us there – but I’m not running out to buy any Cohiba Esplendidos any time soon. At the end of the day, we’re just a small outfit that prides itself in providing the sort of high-quality publications usually associated with a much larger company.

Now here we are, about to celebrate Ambush Alley Games’ fifth anniversary! Time flies when you’re making fun! We’re looking forward to the next five years and have a lot of new products in the works that we think will make them at least exciting as the last five.”

So that’s the past of Ambush Alley Games – what does the future hold?

We’ll continue to support Force on Force with new companion books – our 8th companion book, entitled Classified: Special Operations from 1943 to 2011 is in the final stages of production and should hit the shelves by the end of this year. We also have plans to begin producing smaller books and packets, perhaps in e-book format, that will provide FoF fans with a steady flow of scenarios to feed their habit, much in the same way that we used to support Ambush Alley.

This year will also see the release of our first Tomorrow’s War companion book. The book is tentatively entitled "By Dagger or Talon" and it serves three basic purposes:

1. It describes "Enhanced Special Operations Forces," or ESOF. These are special operators whose abilities are augmented by Powered Armor, telepresence motivated robotics, cybernetics, genetic engineering, synthetics (androids) or any combination thereof. The effects of their enhancements are described in game terms and new attributes pertaining to them are provided. They're the "dagger" of the title.

2. The "talon" of the title are aliens. This book provides more insight on the creation of alien races and an exhaustive list of new alient Attributes. Example alien races will also be provided.

3. The book also describes the "opening" of Human Space in the Tomorrowverse: The arrival of the Marshborn Confederation refugees, fleeing from the latest Darghaur incursion in this part of the galaxy, which precipitates mankind's introduction to the A'Li'Ari Protectorate - a vast empire composed of a myriad alien civilizations. Against this backdrop, the Darghaur launch a major offensive on Glory, precipitating Man's first war with another intelligent species.

All of that plus new scenarios, new force organizations, probably a few new vehicles . . . plus new miniature photos and original artwork.

We intend to follow up on By Dagger or Talon with more companion books that further develop both the rules and the Tomorrowverse backdrop. These books will be supported in turn by miniatures produced by Ground Zero Games in association with Ambush Alley Games.

Speaking of miniatures, you’ll also see lots of great new 20mm figures from Elhiem produced for use with Force on Force and . . . well, I can’t go into detail on the “and” without giving away too much. Yes, I DO tease.

We’ll also continue to work closely with Gamecraft Miniatures to produce high quality, inexpensive terrain for the Tomorrowverse and with Najewitz Modellbau to provide museum quality buildings and terrain for Force on Force.

You’ll also see some new licensing arrangements with between AAG and other companies that we feel can provide our customers with first class products that will increase their enjoyment of our games and the gaming in general!

We’re also working on delving deeper into true e-book functionality for our electronic releases and the development of multi-media resources for our games (video examples of play, turn walk-throughs, etc.).

So, lots of new stuff going on here at Ambush Alley Games! We think 2012 will be fun year for all of us, and 2013 will be FULL of surprises!

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