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Interview with Steve Wood of Gunship: First Strike!

Dustin Wen
United States
Lake Forest
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Late on Valentine's Day, a new game exploded onto Kickstarter, Gunship: First Strike. Within11 hours, it was fully funded. 6 days later, it's received 458% of its funding. No, that's not a typo. It's blown through stretch goal after stretch goal, gone from a 2 player game to a 4 player game, added in tons of new upgrades for the ships, and it's still rolling!

What is Gunship First Strike? It is a tactical space combat game with a really visual tracking system, where you actually take damage to specific locations, and you place damaged cards on your ship itself to show that a gun's been blown off! In the base game, each player gets a carrier, a gunship, and a squadron of fighters, but the gunship is the real star of the show. Each player customizes their gunship, choosing weapons and Armor placement to suit his tactics. The goal is to destroy the other carrier, but there's a need for a careful balance between offensive and defensive maneuvers.

I'm really excited about this game, I've been waiting for it to hit Kickstarter for about a month now. So, why do I think it will appeal to Summoner Wars fans?

Tight Match Ups
The designer says most games are won by only a few hit points, and that sounds an awful lot like the vast majority of games I've played in Summoner Wars.
Customization
The base game comes with enough weapons to mod your gunship to fit your playstyle, not entirely unlike the Reinforcement packs, and while the game doesn't feature variable powers (yet), there'll be enough different ways to load out your gunship to make a big difference. The stretch goal have added even more options for upgrades to your ship.
Nice mix between proper strategy and probability
Like Summoner Wars, the dice and card drawing play a definite role in victory, but how you choose to arm your gunship and your timing of attacks (and retreats) are critical to win.


Overall, the game looks a bit lighter than Summoner Wars, but it does have one thing Summoner Wars doesn't: Space ships. I know that's a bit silly, but I've been looking for a good space combat game ever since Fantasy Flight Games killed Twilight Imperium: Armada.

I caught up with the designer, Steve Wood, and did a quick interview.

Well Steve, your game has already been a smash hit on Kickstarter and jumped to the top of BGG's hotness list, were you expecting this degree of success?

I would say, humbly, that I believed in the project enough to think it would have 30-40,000 potential. Did I think it would get there this FAST? No! That first day, everyone was saying that I would be the next D-Day Dice, but I knew that was a once-in-a-lifetime one. Still don't know how they did it!

How did you put together such a successful Kickstarter campaign?

Promotion. Taking the time to take the pictures, build the website, email every gaming site out there, doing the interviews, creating the threads and sleeping very little. Does not hurt to have a complete and playtested product that's ready to ship.

How much work goes into a campaign like this one?

A TON. Just look at the things I listed above. And that's not even mentioning all of the tiny details. Like going over the Rulebook for the hundredth time checking for typos, designing the banner ads and trying to come up with something snappy at 2am, editing photos so they as good as possible, etc. etc. And don't even get me started on the business end! It reaches a point where it is no longer a fun hobby - it's a corporation and you have to be careful. If you want a winning Kickstarter campaign, be ready to work and sweat and lose your mind a little. When you are finished playtesting, it is only the beginning.

Our fans at Blagog love variable race powers, are there any plans to eventually add something like that to Gunship? I know you've already announced there will be factions, but will that have an effect in-game?

Sure. But even I don't know what the Factions are yet! Those are being created by the fans and Eric Carter, although I will have plenty of input. I think the different combos of Weapons and Upgrades will give you guys PLENTY of variable powers until the Factions arrive. Will there be alien races? Time will tell. Right now it is more of a Firefly or Dune-type universe (humans only).

Now that you know your game's been funded, can you give us any hints about what comes next in Gunship?

Well the first stage is to launch the basic game this Summer. It's going to be very high quality thanks to the success of Kickstarter and the support of my Backers. Soon after launch, you'll be able to start buying the extras and accessories that were Unlocked in Kickstarter. Then, the Promos will become available (but with different artwork). After that, we plan to launch the Heavy Battle Cruiser expansion, which will add several new ship types. After that, plenty of other expansions. Some people claim that they do not LIKE expansions. I consider them a necessity to keep things fresh. This war that you guys are playing out is going to escalate. It's going to boil over into an apocalypse. And from the ashes of that, you are going to find the game that we REALLY wanted to make but decided to "Prequel" instead. How's THAT for an answer? Seriously, I've had nothing but time to plan this and you're all going to love it!

Steve, thanks for doing this interview with us here at Blagog. Make sure to check out Gunship's website to see examples of play, download the rules and more. If you like what you see, you can support the game at Kickstarter.

Escape Pod Games: http://www.escapepodgames.com
Gunship Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1291246114/gunship-first...
Original post: http://blagog.com/2012/02/21/like-summoner-wars-try-gunship-...

This post was written by
David Kartzinel
United States
Orlando
Florida
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