Designer Interview: Brad Hiscock

You are the leader of your clan and your are up against your rival clans do you have what it takes to be The Paramount Legion? In Feuds & Favors a medieval card game you will find out if you have what it takes or you will fall to the other clans. Feuds & Favors features some hand management with some take that aspects all designed by Brad Hiscock and published by Convivial Games. Today I catch up with Brad and we discuss the upcoming Kickstarter launch of Feuds & Favors.


It's a hard task to write yourself into a few lines, making them factual, to the point and without embellishing or reducing. But I'll give it a college try: First and foremost, I'm a husband and the father of two beautiful girls. I am a conservationist that has a lifelong awe and respect for nature. I am a project manager and electrician by trade, who dabbles in the worlds of music, book writing, and of course, board games and board game designs.

What brought you into game design? I've had a passion to create and design from a very young age. That hasn't exclusively been around gaming but even as early as my pre-school years my parents recall me taking other game components, toys and household items and making new, functioning games out of them. My dad used to joke that he was a walking notebook before I could write. I'd come to him with a dozen ideas to get on paper for later drafting and brainstorming. That concept always seemed outlandish to me until I had my first child. Getting back on track, I've been heavy into gaming in a variety of ways for longer than I can remember. I've played about 4-5 hundred different board games and play new ones all the time. My love of playing goes hand and hand with designing.

What is currently your favorite game to play? That is too hard to pinpoint so I'll give one from the last few weeks: The Castles of Burgundy - as a side note the way they wrote a super fast reference rulebook in the margin of their full rulebook was just fantastic. What did you find was the most difficult part of the design process? Hands down, social media. I always felt that I excel at in person meetings, whether one on one or in a group. I felt natural and in my element. Designing a game, while trying to collaborate with other designers, testers, artists, and building a social following online was not natural to me. I have a facebook page and instagram page that are both only months old while my personal account had one picture added to it in the last 10 years prior to this. I think the transition of taking a concept and design into the prototype phase has completely changed in recent years and in order to properly test and launch it, the online community must be involved. Therefore, I had to evolve.

Why have you chosen to put Feuds and Favors on Kickstarter rather than traditional publishing? Well, the embarrassing but honest answer is that I didn't. I never knew what I know now and had tried to submit it 3 years ago when it was merely a concept and completely unrefined. I had intended to donate it to a publisher and let my percentage go to a charity called Rainforest Trust. Several liked the idea but ultimately, it was little more than jot notes looking back. Now after putting 3 years of effort into it, I've become a little too attached to it and have decided to push it over the line myself. I'm still going to donate a portion of every game sold - but if the Kickstarter staff asks my official answer as per their guidelines is still "no portion of your pledge will go to a charity". What was your favorite part about the design process? Thats a toss-up. I absolutely love digging into the mental puzzle of making everything work. I also love the playtesting portion. Getting some friendly faces together for some good times around the table (or virtual table) just feels great. What is the game mechanic in Feuds and Favors that you enjoyed designing the most?

The nobility cards! They are powerful, single-use, asymmetrical abilities. Allowing these to activate on any players turn to affect a battle, whether you were in it or not, called to me and really gave life to the feel of battle.



What was the hardest issue you had to overcome? Keeping it simple and not trying to pile on additional components and mechanics. My goal was a light/medium strategy card game that played in 30-60 minutes. I wanted you to be immediately dropped into the fray of battle and feel the influence of nobility around you. But that also had to come to a natural conclusion in 30-60 minutes! I had so many editions of this game that had to keep trimming the fat and honing the features and options until it really came together. Finally letting go of one of my earliest mechanics was a bittersweet moment.

What's next for you? I've got 6 other projects that are at least in Concept/Design phases, two of which are already prototyping. The dream is to have 5 unique games that are wildly different from each other all produced within 7 years. I know now that I can easily have them finished in their current state in 12-18 months but without building proper momentum and letting each have its own space to breath it would be counter-productive.

What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?

Ah, the quest for the holy grail. Such a good one - The life of Brian is up there too. I return the question: African or European?


Don't forget to check out the Kickstarter for Fueds & Favors.


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