Saturday, 13 April 2013

Wee Gamers interview ... Devil Pig Games, creators of Heroes of Normandie

Once again we get our interview helmets on to chat to an up and coming games publisher.  This time its with those lovely French chaps from Devil Pig Games.

They have been working away like, well, devils to get a very interesting World War Two game up of the ground, or on the ground, depending on your point of view.

The game? Heroes of Normandie. And it is on Kckstarter.  Here they get the 13 question treatment.

1. So your three mad French men, how did you guys meet was it the loving of games, life long friends? And where did Devil Pig start ?

We're a three man army. But all french. Clem and Yann, we, met when we were in the elementary school, at 8-9 years. We created our first game when we were 11 and presented it to Duccio Vitale, the Cry Havoc, Siege and Samurai creator. Nothing happened then and we waited for almost 30 years to publish (via Asmodee) Frontiers. This game contained the core game mechanics from which we designed Heroes of Normandie. We also did a lot of corporate or advertising games, we worked together at Ubisoft, the video games company. And this year, we created Devil Pig Games with Laurent that we met a long time ago when he was working for Vae Victis wargame magazine. He also created Ravage Magazine in 2000 and was one of the Dust Tactics rules designers.

2. Now don't take this the wrong way but Heroes doesn't seem like the normal 'Euro' game one might expect, have we got it wrong? How did the idea come about?

We don't know what you might expect. Same for "Euro game". We did our first game a long time ago. Heroes of Normandie tokens strangely look the same (without the talent we have now) to the tokens we did at this time. A top down view. So it's a long story. It involved giant robots and mad scientists from another game we created but wasn't working (kind of endless game). But the combat system was there and we mixed it with our juvenile top down view tokens and Frontiers came up.

3. So where would you place Heroes, is it a board game, or is it a Wargame without miniatures?

Like the Frontiers baseline said "the first minis game without minis but with pre-painted cardboard tokens".  It's a real wargame. The gameplay is deep, rich and offers a large range of tactics. But at the same time, it's an easy and intuitive mechanic. It's the opposite of record keeping wargames. We don't have any endless charts, everything is noticed on the tokens and on the terrain. No need to check fire resolution chart or armour vs fire power chart modified by your grand mother socks size. Heroes of Normandie is a real tactical wargame but it's not Squad Leader (with all the respect that great old one deserves).

4. Its all very colourful and quirky, and certainly the appeal of the Hollywood heroes element is appealing. But are we looking at a real game here or a slick bit of cinematic flavoured fun? That is to say, does the mechanics give us a real war game - balance, tactics, realistic elements?

Yes. Heroes of Normandie has all you expect from a second world war tactical wargame (suppressive fire, hit localization on armoured vehicles), BUT, we gave it an Hollywood flavour because our childhood vision of second world war was influenced by Hollywood war movies. Consider this as some sort of tribute. We love good rules and we like fun, and we don't see why these couldn't be melted in a single explosive ruleset. Historical does not mean boring in our opinion. We gave attention to historical accuracy (armour thickness etc.) but historicity should not be an obstacle to playability. So we balanced our game accordingly.

5. Your packing a lot into the box as the money rises, but post kicksarter, what will the public see as a retail core product and what will the expansion options be. Second to that are expansions needed to fully enjoy the game, or does the core game give good return play to buyers?

Of course we have plans for a post KS life for Heroes of Normandie. The core retail game will be the £45 pledge. Then, you will buy expansions in the form of scenarios set and add ons. The core game is already a lot of fun and we played countless battles with the basic set and it has a high re-playability potential. Of course, you will explore more possibilities and experience endless heroic adventures by adding expansions. New heroes, new vehicles, new cards, new gears... With Heroes of Normandie, you will understand what "bigger is better" really means.

6. So your stuck on the metro and a guy chats to you, as they do, you've got 2 mins to sell him on your game so he goes home and backs it, what would you say to convince and make the idea stick with him?

Wanna bloody play?? Wanna play heroic?  Buy Heroes of Normandie if you have a pair or we will come for you, your family, your friends and their pets. You see, it took less than 10 secs. Convinced?

7. Movie inspired big characters aside, can the more level headed or traditional still play Heroes as a straight wargame or does it need the movie character aspect to work right?

It's a real wargame. Heroes add fun, they do not spoil the wargame spirit. They bring real tactical options in a new funny way that does not unbalance the game. Heroes are no supermen, they can still die stupidly...

8. Away from the work place, what do you guys enjoy playing for fun, and do you get to kick back and relax much these days?

These days? No time for relax, it's war my friend. We have an offensive to lead. In real life... we are family men, but player ones. We are gaming geeks, bar geeks, video games geeks, comics geeks, women geeks and we bred children just to be sure to have partners to play with when will be old geeks.

9. What games have been inspirational to you, not for this project, but just as gamers, what have been your loves and hates among the games of your youth?

None, that is why we created our own... More seriously : Cry Havoc series, Space Hulk, Epic/Space Marines, ASL, Flames of War, WH40K (the game we love to hate), Legions of Steel, Bloodbowl, A Game of Thrones, Risk, UNO... the list is endless since we all started to enjoy boargames before our teens.

10. What's the kickstarter experience been like for you guys? All easy sailing or have there been any difficulties?

It's our first KS born so there are always difficulties. We have pinpoint some mistakes we won't do again next time. But as some might say : no guts, no glory.

11. What's the best thing that's happened so far as you have been developing the game? Or even just the funniest thing to have happened?

The community this project has created is our best surprise. We did not think this game could generate so much enthousiasm and involvement. Those guys support outflanked our best expectations. Last but not least, we were really surprised to find that some players were still playing Frontiers and told us they still have such a good time playing it. These guys are our best spokesmen. To them we would like to say : you will not be forgotten, Frontiers II is on the working bench.

12. Has there been, aside from waiting for the project to hit target, any disasters or major upsets along the way so far....or even just a time where you thought 'no, that's it were done forget about it'?

Defeat? Nuts!

13. Okay if you three where movie heroes from war films, on opposing sides, who would be who and why? And who would win in the fight between you both - oh and you don't get to pick who 'you' would be, you each have to pick for each other ;-) just to make it interesting.

If we were war movie heroes... Yann : Sergeant Hans Schultz (Hogan's Heroes) Clem : Oddball (Kelly's Heroes) Laurent : Motor Sergeant Frank Tree (1941)

Concerning the fight, we tried it for real but the result was to messy to be described. Oh yes... looks like we lost Clem in the process. If we don't make it with Heroes of Normandie, it will be your fault with your stupid ideas...Clem!

It looks a superb wee game and we are looking forward to getting our own mitts on the end product to have a look at.  We don't think we are going to be disappointed.

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