We’re working on bringing you a preview of “Ragnaroll” at the moment, in the meantime we’ve got an interview with the head of the Brisbane-based board game company behind the title. End Game Games is run by “Jason Kotzur-Yang, a few freelance friends and some helpful playtesters”.
Jason took time out of his busy life to take part in an interview about not only his own projects, but also tabletop gaming overall.
Let’s crack on shall we!
Interview with End Game Games
Firstly who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself and your independent game publishing company.
End Game Games is my publishing company and itâs mostly just myself at the moment. I do the graphic and game design for my games and work with artists and other creatives to produce the final look. I also host a podcast with my friend and author Mitchell Tierney, that explores theme in tabletop games (but weâre currently on break as I concentrate on game design).
Tell us a little about the games you’re releasing and working on at the moment. Anything that’s got you really excited?
The past year has been focused on Ragnaroll, and Iâve been playing around with a few other concepts but none of them have got very far beyond the first playtest.
Ragnaroll and look at that for gender equality! Well done End Game Games.
Let’s get to what we all want to know and possibly the easiest / hardest question. What are your personal top 5 tabletop games and why? (other than those of your own design).
Android: Netrunner is a game that Iâve really come to enjoy, for lots of reasons, but itâs also a dangerous game for me as deck-building scratches the same itch as game design. I love the tension that gets built up throughout a game and the crazy cyberpunkiness is just really well done and really fun.
Dungeon of Mandom is one of those games that is always in my bag, just in case thereâs an opportunity to play a quick game. Itâs quick and easy to teach, but also just really fun as you try to tread the very fine line between getting your opponents killed and not killing yourself. Itâs since been re-implemented as Welcome to the Dungeon, but Iâm still on the original Japanese edition.
Imperial Settlers is probably my favourite game right now. I love the cutesy theme, laced with some subtle but dark humour, and itâs really taught me to appreciate the joy of ridiculous combos as both a gamer and a designer.
Imperial Settlers – Great taste mate, we love this one as well.
Epic big box thematic games provide my favourite and most memorable game experiences, but I donât get much of a chance to get them to the table. Iâve had Rex: The Final Days of an Empire for about a year now, and have only got to play it once, but it was a very memorable game, and Iâm looking forward to finding a spare half-day to play it again.
Weâre currently on hiatus in my Dungeons and Dragons campaign while I take care of another campaign. I really like what theyâve done with 5th edition, itâs quicker to learn / play and nudges players towards playing for story instead of stats.
In your personal opinion, are there any games in particular that lend themselves well to newcomers, that is, people who have never played anything other than perhaps the non German-style games?
Can I say non German-style games? If Iâm trying to draw someone in the hobby, I tend to start with a theme and story that appeals to them, I managed to draw a few friends deeper into the hobby with X-Wing miniatures.
If you could get one major license made into a board game, what would it be and why? (movie, TV, book, comic, video game).
A lot of my most beloved licenses have already been done, so Iâd like to tackle something new. I think it would be interesting to turn an endless running game into a tabletop game, preferably one with some humour like Punch Quest or Ridiculous Fishing, and hopefully reach some casual gamers that havenât encountered modern tabletop games.
Are there any American style (Ameritrash) board games that you think manage the sort of depth that many German-style games offer? Do you have any in your collection?
Well, I think that there are many types of depth in games, and games in the Ameritrash tradition can often provide deep experiences by offering more engagement with narrative and other players. Most games that make it into my collection tend be a fusion of the two traditions. Cutthroat Caverns is probably a good example of a game that still feels very Ameritrash but provides a very engaging experience, but does feel a little dated in a few ways when you compare it to more recent releases. Game of Thrones: The Board Game is essentially Risk for grown-up gamers, but with more back-stabbing.
Have you used Kickstarter to back any tabletop games? What was the last one you backed and received and were you happy with it? Anything you’re waiting on?
Yes, I back regularly. The last one I received I wasnât super happy with, as I impulse bought it mostly on theme and the game itself really doesnât look great, so I wonât mention that one. However, I was very pleased with Edo Barafâs Get Me Off This Planet, itâs gorgeous and delightful in a variety of ways. Iâm waiting for Blood Rage, because itâs my first big mini game, plus itâs got Vikings and a lot of great buzz. Iâm also excited to get Slap .45, because slapping is fun. And Rule and Makeâs Entropy, as Iâve got to experience the development first-hand for that, and am really excited to see the final product.
What is the oldest board game you still own and why? What older game do you wish you still owned?
I think thereâs a Monopoly somewhere in the house, and Risk is currently serving as a keyboard raiser. I only recently recalled that I had Space Crusade at one point, when a friend found his old copy. We brought it out and played a game and I really wish that I actually put more into it as a kid, but I think it was a bit too complicated for me.
Hanabi – Yeah we can see that actually.
Last question, let’s end on a real downerâ¦ Of the new slew of boardgames of the last decade or so, what ones have made you want to throw pieces at the wall or do a table flip and why?
I canât say I ever really get that frustrated at games, Iâm more likely to walk away from a game out of boredom rather than anger. Hanabi has produced some tense moments, but thereâs a particular zen that you can approach in that game about just moving on from mistakes.
Another great Aussie tabletop game dev.
Thanks for the interview Jason and good luck with End Game Games!
Full Ragnaroll preview coming soon!