GS TABLE GAMES: Spotlight On Backspindle Games

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There are a lot of great table game publishers out there, and this week we take a look at the world of Backspindle Games.

 

 

 

Backspindle Games are a small but very dedicated game publisher that care about their products. Just looking at the variety of  games they have on offer shows that this is publisher striving  to offer something new and fresh.

Underpinning  Backspindle Games is their group philosophy of “you are never too old or too young to have fun with friends playing interactive, cooperative and strategic games.”

GS sat down with the team to find out a little more about their games, the design process and the future. Check out our interview below, along with some additional background info.

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Geek Syndicate (GS): What can you tell us about Backspindle Games and how it came about?

Backspindle Games (BSG): It really started as we needed a company name to launch Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame at the end of 2010 with Z-Man Games. “Backspindle” is one of the terms from the Discworld Unseen University. We liked the name.

 

The company is based in Northern Ireland, but as their site says “they focus on delivering high-end game products.” Although they are a relatively small team, they have high aims for the future:

As our company grows we are investing in research and development of further games so that we can bring our fans more enjoyment and engagement with our products! Our desire over the next few years is publish more games and products in different languages to sell around the world.

 

GS: What games have you published?

BSG: Guards! Guards! with Z-Man in 2011; a revised version with amended rule book by ourselves in 2012; a special Spiel edition of Codinca in 2012 and Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice in 2013.

 

Some more information on the games, in reverse order of release:

Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice is their latest game, released earlier this year.

Luchador! – Mexican Wrestling Dice is a fast playing dice game based on the exciting world of Professional Mexican Wrestling or “Lucha Libre” (meaning Free Fighting). It can be played by two players or by four players playing as two-man Tag-Teams.

Players roll dice to try to reduce their opponent’s strength points to zero to win by a Knock-Out (KO) or to try to hold their opponent down on the mat for a ‘count of three’ to win by a ‘Pin.’

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WINNING BY KNOCK-OUT (KO)
If a player’s Strength Score is reduced to zero (marked as KO on the Strength Score cards) or lower, their Luchador (wrestler) no longer has the strength to continue the bout and their opponent wins by a Knock-Out.

WINNING BY PIN
If a player rolls a successful Pin result (using a Pin Die) and their opponent fails to break the Pin during the 3 Count Rule, the pinning player is declared the winner.

The Fast-Rolling, Hard-Hitting, Body-Slamming, Neck-Crunching, Chair-Smashing, Table-Slapping dice game for 2 or 4 players.

Backspindle Games have helped support and develop Luchador! for designer Mark Rivera, (Blighty Gamer).

Codinca was their second release:

Deep within the rain forests of the Yucatan, rival teams of treasure hunters have recently discovered the lost city of Codinca. In the centre of the once great citadel stands a stone temple. Local legends tell of the great treasures that lie buried beneath the temple but, despite many months of searching no doorway or entrance has been found.
Can you crack the code and be the first to unlock the secrets of Codinca?

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Shortlisted in the top three best new Abstract Games at the 2012 UK Games Expo, Codinca is a quick 2-4 player simple strategy game. Players try to complete their own code of four patterns using double-sided tiles on a board to win the game.

Also, the fine folks at Backspindle have allowed anyone interested to download a Print and Play copy of the game for free right HERE.

Guards! Guards! was the first game released by Backspindle Games:

Players are tasked to collect and return five of the missing Great Spells to the University. Each player selects one of four Guilds to infiltrate, Thieves, Assassins, Alchemists or Fools. Their chosen Guild card will give them a specific selection of the Great Spells to collect and grants them a unique Guild Ability which can be used to hinder their opponents. It is also used to mark the players’ Charm, Guild and Magic abilities, which can be developed throughout the game.

Time is short, so rather than returning each Spell in person, the players have been granted the power to recruit the good, and not so good, inhabitants of the city to act as guards and runners to protect and return the Spells to the University. There are fourteen locations on the board where players may Charm (or Bribe) Volunteers to join them on their quest.

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The characters are split into three Volunteer Decks each representing a range of inhabitants who might be found in different locations within the city; Lords & Ladies, Man & Beast and Shades & Shadows. Each Volunteer is assigned a set of skill attributes which can be used individually to protect the Spells, or combined with those of other Volunteers and used to complete the Wizards’ Challenges – five tests of strength, brain, and worthiness which the runners must complete in order to enter the Unseen University with the Great Spells. A selection of enchanted scrolls, weapons, armour and magical items can be purchased by players to equip their Volunteers and boost their attributes.

 

GS: Why go with a license game and not an original game?

BSG: To publish a Discworld game, you must have a license from Sir Terry Pratchett, and the game we had created from originally back in 1991 was based on his books.

GS: There is a lot of humour in the Discworld books, how have you translated that into a board game?

BSG: We started with the feel of the characters, then added various game mechanics. Then, by including a quote about each of the 90 characters that players can recruit as volunteers from over 20 Discworld books, even non-Discworld players start to get and enjoy the Pratchett humour. Add in the usual Discworld factors of screwing your opponents over by Guild abilities, Magic, Bribe, Charm and of course the Luggage and Dragons getting people it does not take long to have fun.

GS: Codinca won a few awards. How important is to you to win a game award?

BSG: It’s cool than people like our games. We don’t want to publish games that are not enjoyed, so awards are a bonus.

(Codinca was awarded with the UK Games Expo 2012 – 3rd in Best New Abstract Game category and also the Family Review Center – Seal of Approval awarded. Also, Guards! Guards! was shortlisted at the UK Games Expo 2011 in Best New board game category).

GS: What is the design process for your games?

BSG: Well, it differs from game to game. Guards! Guards! started as a fun game, then developed more into a strategy game. Codinca was a complex game we stripped mechanics away from until we had a very simple strategy game and Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice is a game by Mark Rivera that, as he said, we sort of broke it and put it back together and added theme with startling results.

GS: Where can gamers get hold of your games?

BSG: Guards! Guards! is for sale from www.guardsguards.com. Luchador! is for sale at www.backspindlegames.com and on Amazon (just in the UK at the moment). Codinca is out of stock, but likely to be on Kickstarter again.

GS: Have you got any more future plans for games?

BSG: We have Discworld Clacks for 2014. We are looking at the possibility of making it also playable for gamers with restricted vision and blind people.

Clacks: A Discworld Game is a simple strategy game based on the “Clacks” system of transmitting words from Terry Pratchett’s novel Going Postal.

Not much is known about Discworld Clacks, but we did manage to get a sneak peek courtesy of the guys at Board Game Geek. Looks like fans of Discworld will have some fun playing this one.

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GS: Why do you think board games are coming back in a big way?

BSG: The flagging world economy has certainly helped. Less money to go out. More people are rediscovering the value of social gaming.

GS: What would you suggest to a person who has no idea where to start with board games?

BSG: Try lots of different ones at local gaming clubs or gaming cafés.

GS: What games do you play apart, from your own published ones?

BSG: We play Pathfinder RPG most weeks. It gives us an escape from the development side of our business. We recently enjoyed Forbidden Island, Augustus and Castle Panic.

GS: Do you think the market is becoming to saturated right now, or is it just enthusiastic growth?

BSG: It is actually really good, but a very challenging industry. You have got to have a really good game or it will not be noticed.

GS: You were recently at Essen Spiel, how was that for you guys?

BSG: Absolutely terrific! We launched Luchdor! Mexican Wrestling Dice in conjunction with WeeGamers.eu and Mark Rivera and sold about 400 copies. Gamers also enjoyed our Discworld Clacks prototype and Guards! Guards! and we even managed to pick up a few game bargains we hope to get playing ourselves.

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Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice launch at Spiel 13

 

Sounds like the future is looking bright for Backspindle Games. Be sure to check out their games soon!

For more reviews and news on board games check out our section HERE.

Reporter: Montoya

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