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THE BIG INTERVIEW: FTN interviews Christopher Badell – End of the Multiverse?

July 9th, 2014 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Legendgerry had a quick chat with Christopher Baddel lead designer of Sentinels of the Multiverse at Speil’ 2013 where they discussed the game and the approaching end of the Multiverse

FTN: How did the idea of a Superhero co-operative game come about?

CB: Well if you look at superheroes in movies or comic books, anything, the main thing they’re doing is co-operating. A lot of superhero games out there, be they board games, video games or whatever, have you fighting each other as superheroes. It was such a bizarre thing to me,  if you read the comic books a group of heroes team up and fight a terrible villain in a weird place.

That’s what comic books are about, it’s a group of heroes coming together, using their abilities together, fighting against a supervillain in some sort of weird locale and there’s not a game that looks like that.

That was the concept of the game. My friend Adam, who is the artist for the Sentinels of the Multiverse, we’ve been friends for about 20 years, when we were kids growing up we read comics together and played games together, and we liked telling our own comic book stories. I’ve been telling stories forever and he’s been drawing them forever; my stories back then sucked and his art back then sucked but we did that thing together and we played a lot of games together and we were never willing to let well enough alone.

We’d be like “Okay this is good but it would be better if… ” and so we’d change it and change it.

Then, a few years ago, we were hanging out talking about how we love superheroes and we’ve played a lot of superhero games but we never got what we wanted out of it, so let’s start telling our own superhero stories with our own superhero characters and making a game for them to live in.

“That’s what comic books are about, it’s a group of heroes coming together, using their abilities together, fighting against a supervillain in some sort of weird locale and there’s not a game that looks like that.”

We have a note book from then – we still have it in the office – and we look at it every now and again and pat ourselves on the back; it says things like “A team of heroes, fighting against a villain, in an environment it needs to play in 30 to 45 minutes, it should have this kind of level of difficulty,” there shouldn’t be any sort of resources for the cards and all the different things we wanted it to be like and we hit every single one of those, it turned out to be the game we wanted it to be, that was really a great experience for us.

The concept was simple: we want you to sit at the table and feel like a hero, not like I’m putting together a team of heroes or something, you should feel like a hero, I’m going to throw some fire or I’m going to relieve my team and you should get that feeling from the game, that was important.

FTN: Once you had the concept down how did you bring it to market?

CB: We made the game and we had no intention of publishing it, we made it for ourselves to play on index cards, one of the people we played with very early on was Paul, who is here at Essen with us, and Paul said “This game is really good you should sell this to somebody” and I thought initially “I don’t want to do that, it doesn’t sound like fun” and he was knows i’n a control freak and suggested “If you don’t want to give it up you could make your own company and sell it!”

And I thought it sounded like a lot of work but he made some suggestions, did a business plan and twisted our arms. So now Paul’s our business guy, I write things and Adam draws things, those things come together to make stuff. It was Paul’s vision that took us from a game that we made just for us into a game for the market.

“The concept was simple: we want you to sit at the table and feel like a hero”

I do a lot of the marketing stuff like talking to people and such. Adam is always drawing and designing all sorts of different things and Paul’s off talking to different companies so we just took those rules and sort of ran with them, we really went above and beyond and did a lot of extra work.

We had the original concept at the end of the year 2010, we established the company in January 2011, we had the game printed and at Gencon 2011 (August) we got a lot of really good attention there, we won a couple of game of the year awards and best in show awards, just out of nowhere, we showed up with barely anything at the show, just the game itself and some tables to play it on,

From there we got a lot of attention from overseas people trying to import the game and we realised we would eventually have to come to Essen. Last year was our first Essen, it’s only been two years and a couple of months since we put the game out and yet we’ve put out three expansions, it’s been crazy.

FTN:What’s the next step for you guys? Are you go to move on to another product or are you going to keep expanding the game?

CB:Yes, so we have got more expansions coming out, we have Vengeance coming out first thing next year and then a few more expansions past that.

Since the storytelling aspect of it is so important to me and every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. We’re past the middle of this game and we’re coming up a little on the end, It’s got a little bit, a couple of years to go but the end is in sight and that’s real important to me, that there is an ending point.

We could maybe keep publishing expansions and maybe people would keep buying them but I’m more interested in telling a story that has a conclusive ending point to it.

We also have a game coming out next year (2014) called Galactic Strike Force that we Kickstarted, that is a cooperative space battles game, that is not related to Sentinels at all. It’s played very differently, it’s got ship-building elements to it, it’s a very different kind of game.

We just announced a game that will be out in a year or so called Sentinels Tactics that is a Sentinels of the Multiverse world game but it is a miniatures game with a hex grid map and you roll dice and you move your characters around and you work against each other in that you have a team of heroes against a single villain scenario or team of villains or all sorts of different things you can do there. It uses the Sentinels of the Multiverse characters but, it’s like a decade into the future, 5-10 years after the Sentinels of the Multiverse card game story line.

So we have one story arc now that’s going to end in the next couple of years, but before that ends we’re going to start the next storyline in the future so there’s going to be some overlapping things happening and you’ll get to see these characters in the future, most of them will be the same, some of them will be completely new, a lot of them will be very changed by events that are yet to happen in the Sentinels.

You can check out the titles mentioned above at the  Greater Than Games site or stalk them on Twitter on @GTGamesLLC

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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.