Interview with the Designer of The Warp
1. Hello Thomas! Please let us know a few things about yourself!
Hi everyone, I’m a 36 year old Belgian who grew up playing video games, card- and board games with his friends. I think there aren’t many better things in life than playing a good board game with friends and my wife while sharing stories and having a laugh. The past few years I had the privilege of being able to develop my own board games. In the future I hope to share this experience with my son who will surely become my partner in crime in the future 🙂
2. The Warp is the first game you have designed and it took 3 years. What was the greatest challenge that you faced during the designing of the game?
I think the greatest challenge for any game out there is to keep on improving the game, even if the results are good. Never to be happy quite yet and to keep pushing your limits. In this process it’s very important to see the value of every person that playtests or comments. I tried to talk to as many people in this great community as possible about game design. Only through feedback and the expertise of others can you make a game grow beyond your own capacities and limitations.
3. Which aspect of design did you enjoy the most?
I tend to find variability and replay value very important for board games. So I must say the aspect I enjoyed the most was creating all those aliens with asymmetrical powers. It is such a great process to witness because you create a whole world from scratch. You start by brainstorming ideas and mechanics, you gather thousands of images for inspiration, you write the lore and detailed concept notes, you receive the first sketches, you playtest and finally you see them coming to life in the games people play. When all pieces fall together and you get into that flow, that is the pinnacle of fun in design.
4. Would you like to share some key elements that you are excited about? What is special about this game?
I’m mostly excited about how dedicated all my playtesters have been to this game. I’ve gotten so many positive reactions on conventions like Essen from all sorts of players. Players who genuinely love 4X games to people who normally never play or even dislike them. I think this is because the game rewards interactivity with the following system. People receive bonuses when other players follow their actions and this is such a powerful way to ensure that feeling of progress and being engaged. There is also that tension in the air because of the shared public missions and who will achieve them first.
5. What kind of gaming experience do you want to create with this game?
I wanted to create the perfect game for a board game evening with friends. An accessible 4x with a lot of depth and replay value but simple mechanics and plenty of interaction. I wanted people to feel engaged even when it’s not their turn and to try and discover new opportunities each time. It’s a game of grabbing chances and optimizing your choices based on your own strengths and the strategies of others.
6. By “real 4x” what exactly do you mean? What are the differences with the other 4x games?
By real 4x I mean the full 4x experience: explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. I think the biggest difference between The Warp and other 4x games is that combat is important, but it does not dominate the game. Because of the missions, the exiled races that defend the board and the height differences on the area tiles it’s not possible to player bash. You always have that tension for possible combat, but it’s only 1 of the 4 ways to victory and you can combine those ways in any way you want.
7. How is unlimited replayability achieved in this game?
This is achieved by presenting the players with a unique situation each time they play. Each game you will draft different player aliens, other exiled aliens, another warp guardian (optional end boss) and of course different private and public missions. This means there is no golden way to victory: you will figure out your strategy and you will need to adapt along the way: what missions are you going for, what are the others going for?
8. Since you are the person who created the Lore of the game, please let us know a few things about the world of The Warp!
The game is set on the forsaken planet of Yortar, 5 years after a mysterious cataclysm that ravaged the planet. The surviving colonies suffered under revolutions and recently new aliens came to power. You will take command of one of these colonies and lead it along the path of prosperity, progress and/or conquest. Or you might even seek out who was responsible for the disasters by conquering the abandoned warp gate at the center of the map.
9. Describe the game in 3 words!
I just need one: opportunity. The opportunity to have a great evening with friends.