Do you ever wonder how an idea for a game comes to fruition? and then how this idea gets turned into a reality?
Well our Boardgames Production Assistant, Mark McIntyre dives into these questions and more with the lead Game Designer for Fight the Blight, Blaine Simple in this Q&A!
You may recognise Blaine from his YouTube channel Blaine Simple, where he talks about his passions for D&D and games through his skills as an animator and story teller. We’ve had so much fun working with Blaine over the last 12 months on this first ever Card Game for Ghostfire Gaming and we can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on this zombie filled, king-of-the-hill styled party game+, Fight the Blight!
Where did the initial idea for Fight The Blight come from? What inspired you?
Fight the Blight was an idea I had while playing a specific card game called ‘Salem 1692’. In that game, players could collect and toss cards at one another to find the witch. I wanted to build upon that foundation and create a game with tons of unique characters and cards to mix things up. With the exclusion of a secret witch objective, Fight the Blight would be more focused on combat between players as I always enjoyed that aspect of ‘Salem 1692’ the most.
Can you talk about your design process? Where did you start?
Right where most card games begin, as crude drawings on printer paper. The core concept of a “battle game where dead players are zombies” was the skeleton of the project, and I built it up from there.
Was there a specific moment when you knew your concept would work?
I’m very confident in my projects and knew this game could work if given enough time and care. Other games I’ve had in the making were scrapped after a bit of tinkering as their cores didn’t hold up. With Fight the Blight, I knew it could go far.
Which came first, the mechanics (game system/rules) or the theme?
Mechanics are always front and center for my games. If it works, a theme could always be designed later. I’ve played games where the theme outshined the mechanics and it shows. Never been fond of those designs.
Playtesting & Development
What were some of the challenges you had to overcome when creating Fight the Blight?
A huge hurdle was all the different types of character cards. Unlike cards in the main deck, only a handful of characters could be tested at any given time. Even until the very end of playtesting, I found myself tinkering with their numbers.
How did you go about playtesting and balancing the game?
Once the core gameplay loop was created & a relative idea for what a ‘balanced’ card for each color looked like, a ton of playtesting sessions were needed to get them all in a state that felt equal to one another. As for playtesting, a bunch of wonderful volunteers offered to help, giving me a ton of feedback even when I thought the game was in a good place.
The Finished Product
What unique features stand out in Fight the Blight that you haven’t seen in other games?
I’ve ALWAYS wanted to play card games that let defeated players stick around, terrorize the living, and even return to win the game if they play well. Many games that inspired Fight the Blight abandon defeated players, having them spectate the remainder of the game. It’s a hostile design that I’ve never been too fond of and adamantly avoided when designing this game.
How was the experience of designing your first game? Would you do it again?
Fight the Blight was certainly an ambitious endeavor as the core requirements to design it were quite imposing. I can easily see myself designing another simpler game in the future, but have recently had my sights on writing up a book or two, so I’d have to see.