Today we have a blog interview with Jonathan Barron from Late Night Games LLC.
He shares with us what it was like for him to to put together his new RPG and launch his Kickstarter campaign.
MajiMonsters combines classic Roleplaying fun with monster-developing-combat. Check out their campaign HERE
1. How long have you been wanted to be involve in the gaming industry?
I’ve wanted to be involved in the gaming industry since I was about 13, that’s when I first found out about Magic: the Gathering. I’d think for hours about what kinds of cards I’d make if I worked for Wizards of the Coast.
By the time I got to college I was even more of a gamer and got really into D&D as well as other tabletop RPGs. Among my group of friends, that’s now my co-workers, we made games for each other to play.
2. Why didn’t you just adapt an existing system for use with Pokemon play?
We did attempt adapting existing systems just to play Pokemon, that’s how it all started. We tried d20 systems and anime free form systems like Big Eyes Small Mouth, but they just didn’t do what we wanted. We thought about combining aspects from two systems, but it felt clunky. By the end we distilled what we really wanted out of the game and had our own system. After several sessions of playtesting, we started to reform it, found what works and what didn’t and it seemed really awesome.
3. What have been your greatest challenges in producing this RPG? How did you go about finding a printer? Getting the Art? Assembling the book?
You hit the nail on the head. Artwork and printing are the biggest hurdles to get over. Printers are easy to find these days at least Artists can be hard to find though.
We contacted a large number on deviant art and at anime conventions. Many artist are already working on their own projects and don’t have the time for yours, or they ask for more money then we can afford. We have an artist in house, but he can only do so much while also writing rules, maintaining the website and doing our graphic design.
4. How have you overcome these challenges?
For the printer we got quotes from several printers, we found one that we will probably work with. The company had good rates for small printing runs and the staff was very helpful.
Finding good artists was just a matter of diligence. We talked with several artists about potential commissions, and finally got a small amount that were willing to work with us for prices we could afford.
5. What advice would give someone trying to design an RPG for the first time?
Designing is the fun part, just go for it. Come up with a concept, write up your rules and then playtest. The more you play with them the better idea you’ll get for what will work and what just doesn’t. Then introduce it to new people, see if it works the same way for them as well. Sometimes if you have a close knit playtest group you’ll miss an easy fix for a problem because you’re just too close to it.
6. What resources (websites, tools, or training) have been most helpful to you in building your skills?
There’s tons of resources online for someone looking to make their own games. Community forums can be a really good resource either for ideas or for feed back. A good one is Board Game Designers Forum, though there’s many more communities out there.
7. Can you tell us a little bit about the project you are working on now?
Right now we’re working on a tabletop RPG that combines aspects of D&D with aspects of Pokemon. Players take the role of a Binder, a human that can use magic crystals to bind Monsters to them. There’s a variety of classes for Binders to choose from, each has different tactics and strategies for catching and fighting monsters.
Also we paint a possible campaign world for the players where humans civilization has been wrecked by Monsters, it’s similar to low magic middle ages setting. Binding Monsters is a recent discovery, so old empires still lay in ruin, Monsters rule the majority of the world, and most humans are relegated to small fortified villages.
8. What makes it unique/special in the gaming space?
The unique part is that there just aren’t any games doing this on a tabletop format out there. We looked for them because we wanted to play something like it, but there just didn’t seem to be anything on the market. It offers interesting gameplay since you can recruit Monsters you find and fight in the wild, which is fun! It’s the same reason Pokemon is so much fun.
9. You are currently running a Kickstarter Project for your game. Based on where you are in the process, what lessons have you learned so far that you would like to share with our readers?
We did a lot of preparations for the Kickstarter campaign, including asking other people what they did for theirs. The main things are do as much work prior to the campaign as you can, including promo artwork, rules, and a lot of shopping around for prices on the things you’re going to make.
Marketing is also hugely important. We did a lot leading up to our campaign, including going to conventions, online advertising, and spreading the word any way we could. No matter how much you seem to do, it never seems to be enough though.
Once the campaign started we sent out emails to everyone on our mailing lists, told everyone we knew and started contacting gaming blogs, gaming websites and gaming podcasts. That last part we should have gotten more of a jump on, we didn’t think about podcasts until we had already started the campaign and it was too late to get onto many podcasts since they had shows lined up a month or two in advance.
10. What pledge level do you think offers the best value on your project?why? and when does your project close?
Right now our most popular level is the $50 level which includes a book sent to you, a PDF copy, and access to online content we’ll be making for people on our website.
It’s a good deal because we’re planning on making lots of content for those with access. These will include things like new monsters, NPCs to include in your game, short adventures, and new magic items. It’s kinda like our Dragon Magazine.
But our best value level is probably our $150 level which offers all the stuff at the $100 level but for two people, including our first full length adventure, a gaming kit with dice and possibly a GM screen, PDF copies and real copies.