Henry Jasper is a qualified cryptologist who spent much of his free time crafting Live Action Role Playing Games. When it came time to settling into a career he decided he wouldn’t be happy in the drab, grey, kind of work his qualification put him in line for and instead decided to venture into the world of game design. His first game, Cornish Smuggler, has been a massive hit and our man Legend Gerry managed to grab five minutes with him between his many meetings at Spiel’13 in Essen, Germany.
FTN: So how did Cornish Smuggler come about?
HJ: This is our first game and we’re from Cornwall so it makes sense that it would be about smuggling, really. It’s nice, it’s cute in that it’s kind of a little bit illegal, a little bit naughty and that’s where the theme came from really
FTN: How did the game come to market?
HJ: We kick-started this in May, June and a little bit of July and raised £30,000 which is amazing, First we took it to the UK Games Expo at the end of May and showcased it there.
I was phoning up my friends and family to come up and support it, if they wanted to. We raised our first £1500 there, so that broke the psychological barrier, people who were at the Expo saw other people were interested in it and it really spun up from there.
FTN: You have a downloadable soundtrack that goes with your game?
HJ: One of the Kickstarter stretch goals was to have a soundtrack to go with the game, so the kickstarter copies shipped with a CD. We have also made it available through Soundcloud. It was very interesting, really, because if you’re making a computer game you can key different types of music to different types of things that are happening, if there’s a chase, the music changes, if there’s a fight, the music changes, with a board game it’s different.
The whole thing with Cornish Smugglers is trying to bring everything together so the map and the mechanic match as well as I can make them, as well as I’ve seen them in any game. So with the soundtrack I wanted to do that again.
I put a shout for music and we had a huge response and got a really good selection of music, a lot of different pace and a lot of different feels; bar music, folk music, so it changes pace. Then, as with everything in this game, we did a lot of testing,
FTN: How did the testing process work?
HJ: Cornish Smuggler has over 900 hours of play testing. We sent out copies of the game to people asking them to break it (he’s referring to the game mechanics, for the uninitiated) and tell us what was wrong, they did, then we’d fix it and send it out again and so on. It became harder and harder to break it and then people just couldn’t break it. So, from the end of June which was halfway through the kickstarter, which was really good, we knew we had a really solid mechanic
FTN: At the moment your only available through your UK-based site?
HJ: At the moment yes, fixing that is one of my missions here at Essen, I have meetings the whole way through with various distributors, but for now you can get it here