Designer Interview: Vincent Baker - Spellslingers and more
We are back with Vincent Baker today and we are talking all things Spellslingers and we get a peek into whats coming from Vindicated.
Lets catch back up with Vincent...
My name's Vincent Baker. I grew up in a small town in SC, with no stoplights and people driving tractors to school. I grew up playing Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic: The Gathering. My dad even paid a pro card gamer to tutor me with how to play TCGs competitively, so to say that I have a card gaming background would be a bit of an understatement.
Outside of that, I'm happily married and love JRPGs, platformers, and anime. What games are you currently enjoying on your table? My friends fortunately love playing any games I'm designing, so lately that's mostly been our new Tabletop RPG - Black Paper Moon. Inspired by anime like Soul Eater, Konosuba, and Overlord, Black Paper Moon is a weird and whimsical, rules light tabletop RPG. We'll be putting it on Kickstarter October 4th for the new "Witchstarter" promotion that Kickstarter is doing.
..a new game I've designed, called White Abyss, which is inspired by Deathnote
The core gameplay for Black Paper Moon was outlined and playtested for years at this point, so even though the game announcement may come across as sudden, the design behind it has had a lot of time put into it. We've also been playing a new game I've designed, called White Abyss, which is inspired by Deathnote and has players playing in a roleplaying scenario, but from their phones, similarly to our game Legendaria released in 2019, or Alice is Missing. What got you going down the path of making Spellslingers?
Well, I had Otherworlds, which wasn't exactly easy to show off quickly. So, I wanted to make something very portable, fast, and easy to play, while still maintaining core gameplay that would make it fun. Thus, Spellslingers was born! When designing Spellsingers what experience were you looking for your players to have? Given its namesake, "Spellslingers" aimed at replicating the feeling of "slinging spells" back and forth. It's fast. It's furious. It feels like a magical duel with tension as soon as the game begins. What was the hardest issue you had to overcome when designing Spellslingers?
Every game poses new challenges. For me, since It was the first card game I was having physically made, there was a lot of fear and challenge surrounding working with other companies in manufacturing, printing, shipping and all the "not so fun" business stuff. From a designer's perspective it was designing to the budget I had. The game had to not only play well with limited artwork, but arguably play better because of it. The game draws some comparisons to UNO because of this and as someone who gets bored playing UNO, I didn't really like this comparison at first, but years later I've come to accept it, because the people who say this are saying it endearingly. And I mean hey, UNO is a game that's stood the test of time and the people saying this enjoy Spellslingers more, so I shouldn't complain lol. Did you know you were going to design a game for up to 10 players or did the game scale naturally?
It was pretty natural. I play a lot of games in big groups, so I think my mind naturally orients to that. I was constantly surrounded by, "let's play Cards Against Humanity," people, so having a good and different substitute for that was important for me. Not to mention Spellslingers is far from one of the many clones of Cards Against Humanity we've seen over the years, so I think it was a breath of fresh air for those in that scenario, looking for something new to play. Did you enjoy crossing Spellsingers with Otherworlds to create a standalone Spellslingers variant?
Of course! Otherworlds has a very interesting cast of characters that I thought would be great to showcase them and their story to the card game crowd. In Spellslingers X Otherworlds we added flavor text and four spells per character, to make sure each character had cards that represented them. Also, when I first designed Spellslingers, it was in 2015 (released 2017) and Spellslingers X Otherworlds was designed and released in 2020, so I had a lot of time as a game designer to find new mechanics that played well, as well as just things to make the game more fun. The original set is more popular due to its timing, and it being the first Spellslingers card game, but common feedback from those who've played both, enjoy Spellslingers X Otherworlds more. Tell me about Black Paper Moon and what this is going to look like.
I covered a lot of the inspiration and themes of Black Paper Moon in an earlier question, so I'll say, mechanically, Black Paper Moon sets itself apart from other Tabletop RPGs by having a quick character creation system, where a player can make a character they want in 5 minutes. Additionally, wacky weapons and powers are encouraged, as well as drawbacks and deviations to force players to think creatively. Last but certainly not least, Black Paper Moon uses a "Die Tower," which is literally a tower made of d6 dice that players will be stacking throughout the course of the game and hope it doesn't fall over!
What's next for you? I've got Black Paper Moon in October. White Abyss and some other games being workshopped. Some manga chapters are releasing soon (yes, we make manga now). Our anime dating sim turned board game in February 2023. Possibly an Otherworlds comic. Physical copies of the updated Otherworlds Core Rulebook. 5th Year Anniversary Spellslingers Tournament and much more! Anyone looking to see what we're up to can check out our website: vindicatedentertainment.com and join our Discord community! What is your favorite color?
At the cost of sounding incredibly corny, I don't like choosing a favorite color. I personally enjoy working with each and every color... Though I do suppose some of this may sound ironic considering that I'm colorblind. Despite that, I'd still like to think that I can see most colors and appreciate them! If super pressed for a favorite color, I'd choose a light blue of some sort and bright yellow as a backup.