Geek-Craft Game Chats with Bryan Fischer
I’m good friends with Bryan Fischer, who is both a game designer and a publisher. He’s always someone I can chat with about board games with and is a great resource of feedback for me. Let’s get to know him a bit better.
What games are you currently working on publishing? What makes them different from games already on the market?
Our next two games are Dark Dealings by Michael D. Kelley, and Big Easy Business by Scott Almes. These are small box games that promise a lot of replay value and great thematics. Dark Dealings is a unique game in how it uses its mechanics to create a game that challenges the new and veteran player alike. Also, it creates great tension and big, rowdy moments. The unique setting of Big Easy Business is a lot of fun. New Orleans has so much flavor and personality that we’ve really enjoyed cramming it into a game about tourism and high stakes. We’re really looking forward to getting these games on tables.
What is an issue you’ve faced with the work you’re doing on your next published game?
The industry is very busy right now and with such busyness comes slowdowns and schedule alignment issues, etc. We suffer through some of these like so many other publishers, but things seem to finally be coming together. It can be really hard to shoehorn so many independent schedules (printers, artists, designers) into a single cohesive schedule that is a Kickstarter launch. Because of some of these things we’ve had to push back Big Easy Business to later this year. Thankfully, we were able to move Dark Dealings up and we’re pushing forward eagerly.
You’ve designed games and helped publish games. Which do you prefer and why?
I love designing games, but I prefer publishing them. I like the interactions with other people during the process. I like finding just the right game and just the right team to bring it together. I can’t quite explain it, but I enjoy it immensely.
Tell me something most people wouldn’t realize about being a game publisher.
This depends entirely on your business model, but if your end goal is to be publishing multiple titles a year, then you probably won’t be able to design games yourself very often. That’s the trade-off. A lot of first-time designers want to publish their own games these days. The companies pop up, kickstart one game, and then disappear. Publishing is a job in and of itself and leaves you very little time for game design, especially if you also play games (an obvious assumption).
What’s your favorite part of being a game publisher? Least favorite part?
I really enjoy working with designers and artists. These relationships can be so informative and exciting while you work together to bring a game you really believe in to market. The same is true for working with printers, convention heads, and reviewers. You get to meet people you share a passion with, and the relationships formed can be productive and meaningful.
My least favorite part of publishing is speed bumps. It’s never easy to have to push back a project due to conflicting schedules, or to tell backers that something will arrive a little late because of shipping delays or (God forbid) hurricanes. We’re also gamers and consumers. Despite our knowledge of the inner workings, we still despair when we get that sort of news.
What game have you been enjoying recently (that isn’t one you’re involved with) and what have you been enjoying about it?
I just recently started playing Golem Arcana and I’m having a blast. Miniatures games aren’t normally up my alley, but the speed of this game mixed with its unique hybrid of cardboard and electronics is sitting very well with me. How often do you get to sit down at a table and start playing a game without a rules explanation? The app lets you get started with zero knowledge and by the time you’re done with the first scenario you’re already able to play strategically. Then, as you explore the expanded rules and play more you start to discover the depth and truly understand the mechanics. It makes for a unique experience. Top that off with a quick play time thanks to the app, and great looking pre-painted miniatures, and I’m really enjoying Golem Arcana. The folks at Hare Brained Schemes (the publishers) are using a living world campaign system where player’s play certain scenarios, the app reports the results to HBS, and the results further the world-wide story arc. Pretty awesome.
If given any option, what color do you play?