Colm Lundberg is well known in Irish gaming circles, through his immense achievements while running charity auctions and demoing Steve Jackson Games as a M.I.B. ( M.I.B. Are a group of volunteers who demonstrate Steve Jackson games at conventions.). His first Game Love2Hate is due to be released this year by Green Ronin Publishing. Legendgerry caught up with him at Warpcon.
FTN: How did you get into gaming originally?
CL: Fighting Fantasy books are what got me started when I was seven or eight, one every so often, that sort of thing, it was always there in the background. Then, in fifth year of secondary school (A level equivalent for UK, final year of high school for Americans), a friend of mine, who was very much into war games, Mighty Empires, Warhammer, bits of role-playing games, bits boardgames, that sort of thing, brought me into the fold proper.
My first Gaelcon was 1990 and in 1992 I was staff and in 1993 I was committee, so I kind of threw myself into it at that point. But it all started a long time ago for me, 30 years now, which is kind of terrifying.
“It all started a long time ago for me, 30 years now, which is kind of terrifying.”
FTN: What brought you around to designing your own game?
CL: Well I kind of designed games by mistake. I never intended to design a game. I suppose being involved in gaming and being out there, involved in conventions, involved in charity auctions, getting to know a lot of the guests, working with Steve Jackson as the M.I.B. Control for a couple of years, all these kind of things.
Which I did with no kind of agenda to make these connections, you make them because you’re out there working, you’re showing your face, people know who you are and you become sort of acquaintances and friends with these people.
Then you see them designing their games and you go “Oh yeah, I have and idea for a game.” most people have an idea for a game, the same most people have an idea for a book but very few will actually do the work. So I sort of bounced a few ideas of these people and they were very supportive and encouraging, I have a couple of ideas and I have four other concepts.
When Cards came out I felt personally, with all due respect to the designers, I felt it was just titillation or just pseudo offensive for its own sake and I wanted to produce something that had a bit of meat on it or could be played either way, depending on who you were playing with.
That’s where the whole game design thing came from, it just was just looking at the mechanics of games I enjoy and looking at the kind of game I enjoyed demoing or playing and thinking I’ll have a shot at that.
I have been fortunate in getting great support in getting those concepts across the line.
FTN: How did Green Ronin end up picking it up?
CL: Well, I met Chris (Chris Pramas founder of Green Ronin Publishing) a good few years ago at Dragonmeet, it’s a funny story, I was staying with James Wallis as I’d bought their (Dragonmeets) V.I.P. Ticket at an Irish Charity Auction.
The Ops Manager, basically the guy who runs the con on the day, was a push biker and he was in an accident – in which he broke his leg – on the morning of the convention. So poor old James was in a hell of a tizzy and I was like “Look, I’ll do it, I’ll chip in.” At that stage of a convention, once the doors are open, conventions kind of run themselves in a certain way, so that was fine.
Chris was staying with James as well and with his wife Nicole and so I got to know them and obviously that was the topic of conversation that evening, so we got to know each other.
So basically I put it out on Facebook and I put out a few tendrils out saying “Hey, look I have this game can I send it on to you guys to get some feedback?” Chris said yeah sure, send it over we’ll have a look at it and we’ll give you some feedback. That was all I was looking for, what’s wrong with this game? How do I make it better?
This was after two years of playtesting in the Irish scene so it had gone through the pain of people not reacting to things I thought were funny and replacing over half the cards. The feedback I got from Chris was “Hey we love it! We’d really like to publish it” which, as feedback goes, I think that was pretty good.
Again, it was just from putting yourself out there and doing things for the love of the hobby that let make these connections.
“This was after two years of playtesting in the Irish scene so it had gone through the pain of people not reacting to things I thought were funny and replacing over half the cards.”
FTN: When is it out?
CL: The end of June; there was supposed to be some demo copies here but they are on the way, I plan to have properly printed copies at the next con. I’m not sure precisely when in June . I ‘m hoping to run launch events in stores in Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Belfast and London. Demo copies will be at Irish cons up until then.
FTN: For those who won’t get a chance to play the demo can you give us a quick overview of how it works.?
CL: Sure, it’s a basic concept, a judge mechanic, similar to Apples To Apples, where one person gets to be the judge, basically you have the sentence Starters and seven Finishers.
The Starters are groups like teachers, priests, gamers or politicians. Then there’s the Finishers, the Finishers finish the sentences.
You get dealt several of these Finishers which could be something like “Are sustained by tears of woe” or the ruder end of the spectrum “Go in dry” and that sort of thing .
Everyone places one face down, they get shuffled up and then the judge decides which one is the funniest or the most inappropriate.
Most of the cards are dual in the sense that they can be “clean” if you’re playing with younger people or they can, and tend to be, disturbing if you’re playing with most gamers – but that’s the base mechanic. It’s a quick game, it lasts about twenty minutes and people seem to really enjoy it and I’m both shocked and humbly grateful that they do.
FTN: Any Art on the game?
CL: No, it’s still in the finalising design stage, but there’s no artwork, it’s one of those games that’s based around the words on the cards and I personally feel and I think Chris does as well, that should be what you see, I feel art would obscure the impact of the words. There’ll be artwork on the box obviously but not on the cards themselves.
FTN: Anything else in the pipeline?
CL: Well were going to start a freebooters program in Ireland, for people who want to go around and demo Green Ronin products, if they’re interested they can get in contact through the site. There are four other concepts I have at various stages of completion and design so watch this space.
I’ll be at plenty of conventions between now and June so I’ll keep you updated… and I hope your readers come along and playtest it.