Hi everyone, Here to share another interview! Would like to thank Jeff King from All Us Geeks for retweeting a tweet I posted about looking for interviews because I got few great responses ( MIchael from Zero Fortitude and the interview your about to read)
I would also like to thank everyone who has participated thus far, Clancy, Stephanie, John, Jeff, Michael and Aaron your all awesome and it was great getting to know you a bit more!!
Tell us a little about yourself. Anything You’d like to share!
Well, for starters, my name is Aaron, and I am one of the primary creators of games and stuff at A’n’SR -entertainments. My wife, Stephanie is the other primary creator, and from time to time, we loop in various family and friends to help out.
Tell us a little about Angels-Michaels war. How did the idea come about?
Angels – Michael’s War is a light, casual game for 2 to 4 players where Angels beat up on Demons. It really started with me asking Steph to come play In Nomine with the gaming group I had back in the day. Honestly, I was using is as an excuse to show off and catch her attention. She said “yes”, we played it, enjoyed it, started dating, and well… kept playing it. Over the years, we both saw some things we wanted to change about the world, made tweaks to it, made our own roleplaying game system around it, and finally realized we had something different. After releasing a version of the RPG and playing more and more, I finally had an itch to make non-RPGs about this cool world we had built. Angels – Michael’s War was the first real tonally-rich game we had, so we polished it up, had her cousin do 99% of the art for it, and Kickstarted it..
Congratulations on your Kickstarter being funded. What made you want to create your own games?
Well, thank you, Courtney. We are really happy that we get to get the game out into the wild. As far as what made us want to create a game… well, we create games that we want to play that don’t exist. It started with us tweaking Steve Jackson’s game In Nomine. We wanted a world that was Angelic that more our own. Once we had something like that, we ended up with a different system of play and finally in 2009, we decided to take what we had and release it as a game or two. It is fun to share the things you create with others, and that kind of drives what we do.
What makes a great game in your opinion?
A great game is one that is fun to play with the folks you are playing with. Sometimes you can get multiple plays out of the game, sometimes not. But as long as it is an enjoyable way to spend your time, it is a winner.
What are some of your favorite games to play?
I am totally going to steal this answer from a famous game designer: “The one I am working on now”. Outside of that, we like to play our own games (obviously), and the lighter, more casual games. Roll For It (Calliope games), Quest (indie game by Chris Leder), Dino Hunt Dice (Steve Jackson Games), and Batman Uno (Mattel) are family favorites. Steph loves Ascension (Stone Blade Games), and we both like DC Deckbuilder (Cryptozoic) and very casual, non-competitive Magic the Gathering Commander-style play (Wizards of the Coast). Right now, I downloaded Summoner Wars (Plaid Hat Games / Playdek) for my Android tablet, and think I want the actual game in my collection… but I gotta get Steph hooked first.
How has social media improved/impacted your life?
Honestly, it has done little outside of what we already did. See, I was a BBSer from back in the days where modems made noises and tied up phone lines (I am old, I know.) We used that connection then to meet some like-minded folks and keep in touch. We use Facebook and Twitter to do the same. Though nothing beats a good old-fashioned game convention or get-together at the house. Of course… that is coming from a guy that likes to make card and board games not electronic ones, so take it for what it is worth
If you could give a geek from this generation advice what would you say?
Enjoy what we have. This is a neo-golden age of geekdom. Marvel and DC are forces in Hollywood and entertainment. LEGO is cool. There are more great games with high production in both art and execution than ever before. Because the world works in cycles and pendulums, this will not always be the case. So, enjoy it, embrace it, and share it. And when the world changes, don’t become ashamed of it.
Who inspired you to be the person you are today
Wow… that’s a good one. Steph and I both had some influential teachers in High School and college, but honestly, I don’t think either of us could name just one person who inspired us. We kind of believe that family is who you make is, your destiny is your own choices, and that God has a plan that you should follow. Every influence usually fits in there somewhere.
What advice would you give someone whose thinking about starting their own Kickstarter project?
Do your math, do your homework, have fun. we had a few price changes happen to us during our campaign. If we had not had spreadsheets worth of data to crunch every time a change happened, we would have lost money on this deal. So, planning and forethought is really worth the time invested.
How do you balance home life and everything else that you do?
This is Steph and I’s hobby, so, it isn’t that tough. Like any hobby, it has its place in the spaces between our responsibilities and duties. We are very blessed, however. Steph’s parents watch our son after church each Sunday, so she and I get a nice lunch and some quality time each week. We usually spend some of it working on A’n’SR stuff.
Do you have any other secret projects in the works you would like to share?
Yes… though I am terrible at being secretive about them. We are working on some more games in this world of Angels that we have created. One is a micro war game about the War in Heaven. No solid title yet, but I like Angels – Lucifer’s War. There’s some really cool innovations in that game, that I am personally proud of. We are also working on 2 dice games in the Angels world, and a 2nd edition (with a complete rules rewrite) of our RPG. Other than that, I want to do some Print and Play games for 2015. So, we have this game based on the Suicide Squad comic book we are working on called ConEx: Controlled Experiments, and some crazy games that you print off of your PC and color in with crayons. Overall, we’re making fun stuff that we want to play that does not exist, yet.
If you had to give up one geeky hobby which would you drop and what would you replace it with?
Ugh… um… <stalling>… er… maybe reading comic books? That might be it. And I would only do that if I could read novels and see movies and read the Previews/solicitations about them. Yeah… that’s it.
Being a married couple does it make it harder or easier to work on these games?
It makes it infinitely easier. When we got married, I married my best friend and the partner I wanted in everything in life. Time (and some stumbles) has shown that the things we do together we succeed at far better than the things we do separately. That goes for raising our son, to doing the day-to-day life in our house, to making games. I cannot really think of doing something without her involved, and it has become seamless over the years. It is like playing in a band where you know what each other can do, is willing to do, and enjoys. As long as you can play to those strengths, you will make beautiful music.
What are some basic steps to take when starting to make your own game?
First, have something you know and love as a topic. That whole “Write what you know” really comes into play for a game. If you know it, have studied it, or created it from your own imagination, it seems into your game and makes it that much richer. It will even help you solve problems in the design and provide a thematic road map for your work. After that, make a game and play test it until you are sick of it. Play it by yourself, then with folks that love you, then with folks that don’t know you, then with those you love again. And when you are all done with that, then take the lessons learned and finish the game. You’d be surprised how many games sit in “I’m trying to get it just right” stage of development and never get to be unleashed from their creator’s brain.
Where can my readers find you
The best place is AnSR-entertainments.com or e-mail us at AnSR.email@example.com. I personally frequent the chat room of the Game Crafter these days, and Steph like to do the Facebook thing a bit, but all of the “business” stuff through the website or e-mail.
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