My short bio: Since 1980, I've designed roleplaying, computer, RTS, FPS, strategy, tabletop, card games of every sort. I've won awards, had disasters, and experienced about every possibility for game success & failure.

Schedule: I'll be answering questions between 4 and 7 pm US Central Time. My time today is over, but please feel free to ask future questions about my latest project at http://www.thegodswar.info/

My Proof: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1816687860/the-gods-war/posts/1667513

Comments: 230 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

gungir27 karma

Wololo?

SandyPetersen30 karma

blink (suddenly turns from green to teal and joins your team)

johari-window13 karma

Good afternoon Mr. Petersen! Your games are amazing! What is your favorite HP Lovecraft (or Cthulhu Mythos) story and why?

SandyPetersen13 karma

Probably Dunwich Horror, because it sets up the whole paradigm for what my Call of Cthulhu game was all about. Sinister plot, incomprehensible evil, heroic investigators, etc.

two_off10 karma

What's the strangest situation you've made a party go through whilst being the DM?

SandyPetersen19 karma

A player once realized he was in fact a monster - an interdimensional invader seeking to mimic humanity, who had finally succeeded so well he forget that he was a mere mimic, and thought he was the human whose memories he'd downloaded.

I've also had players go back in time and meet their own ancestor, and try to kill him.

Infin141598 karma

I am an aspiring game designer at SMU Guildhall. What the best thing I can do to hone my skills?

SandyPetersen9 karma

Play board and card games in addition to video games.

I'll be up there I think next week hosting a seminar on that very topic.

Another thing to hone is communication skills.

MacTroy8 karma

A friend tried to introduce CoC into our AD&D group in 1984 without much luck. I remember my mind boggling, wondering how an RPG involving Mythos entities – with whom even passing encounters would surely be fatal to players – could possibly be any fun for anyone other than a particularly sadistic GM. I finally got dragged into a Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign a few years later, and was instantly hooked. Many years (and RPG systems later) CoC continues to be my game of choice. My question is, did you run into any such skepticism (or maybe even self doubt?) about the rather nihilistic nature of CoC during design/production/marketing, and if so, how did you push through this to convince gamers/Chaosium/yourself what an amazing game it was?

SandyPetersen10 karma

I designed Call of Cthulhu in a wholly contrarian way from other RPGs. Other games have players who get stronger over time, accumulate treasure, engage in battle, and kill scads of monsters. Call of Cthulhu has players who tend to get suckier, are terrified of their "treasure", flee form battle, and get killed in scads by monsters.

The way I reasoned, if a player wants a conventional RPG about fighting and level advancement, he has lots of choices. But if you want to do something different - to reproduce a horror story instead of an adventure epic, Call of Cthulhu is where you'll go.

Chaosium embraced its weird contrary nature and of course plenty of players mocked and jeered at it over the years (and still do). But that's fine. I never intended it to be everyone's game - but to be a game for those who wanted Something Different. The less it's like other games, the better it does, I think.

suaveitguy7 karma

What is the Citizen Kane of video games?

SandyPetersen11 karma

Probably Atari's Star Raiders, which showed the way.

XaosZaleski7 karma

Hello Sandy!

My fiance's stepdad got us a signed box of Cthulhu Wars and a personalized "congratulations" message on our engagement.

I just wanted to say thank you for doing such an awesome thing!

If you could land on any planet and explore the eco-system without fear of death, which planet would it be?

SandyPetersen4 karma

Thanks for the plug!

I am torn between Jupiter and Titan. Both seem plausible sources of life, and that's what I'm most interested in.

But I suppose if it included fiction worlds as well as real ones, I'd head straight to Barsoom.

afleider6 karma

Sandy, in your expert opinion as a zoologist, which animal is the best animal?

SandyPetersen3 karma

Mustela putorius furo

C3Gaming6 karma

Can you tell us anything about the game you're working on with Keith Thompson? First I've heard of it, in this thread!

SandyPetersen7 karma

It is about the Apocalypse, so in a sense it is a hearkening back to Doom. Basically Hell is on the loose, and your team of heroes has to try to stop the incursion of demons. Though unlike Doom it's modern-day, rather than futuristic.

There are waves of demons charging into the world and you have to try to cut your way through them and get to the demon lord and kill him.

It's co-op, basically because that means I can make the demon lords and his minions as awful and unbalanced as I like.

C3Gaming5 karma

In regards to the design process of Cthulhu Wars and Gods War, did you stick with an idea of how you wanted to the games to play (like Gods War being a "formal duel"), and did you playtest the underlying system before adding the asymmetric factions?

SandyPetersen4 karma

I start with asymmetric factions and parse it down from there. I realize that probably seems to add extra difficulty to me, but in fact the process of creating the factions helps me zero in on what the gameplay and turn structure should be.

Sezess5 karma

Thanks for taking the time!

How did you get started in game designing?

SandyPetersen7 karma

I backed into it by accident, never intending to become such a thing.

ephealy5 karma

What is your favorite pie?

SandyPetersen8 karma

A good key lime pie is the best. But it is EXTREMELY difficult to come by. Mediocre ones abound.

sizerp5 karma

What's your favorite faction to play in each of CW and God's War, and why? Are these also your favorite factions from a design perspective?

SandyPetersen7 karma

Because I am looking at my factions from a different perspective, my current favorite faction is ALWAYS whichever faction is regarded as "least fun" or "weakest". That's the faction I turn my Eye of Sauron on, in an attempt to give it the most love and attention.

If I do my job right, by the time the game is released, all of the factions are equally loved by me. But like I said, my perspective is kind of different. Currently, for instance, I'm kind of down on Windwalker and Earth (CW & TGW respectively) because my testers seem to think they are really strong. So I am constantly seeking ways and tactics that the other factions can use to punk those guys. n

afleider5 karma

What's your favorite horror movie monster?

SandyPetersen7 karma

There are so many I adore. Maybe the nasty tar zombie from the oil drum in Return of the Living Dead? Or the fabulous critter from Tamami?

afleider5 karma

Not the Giant Claw? :(

SandyPetersen8 karma

The Giant Claw is pretty terrific. I remember having to pause the screen for about five minutes when it first appeared onscreen while showing it to my brother, while he stomped around the room shouting imprecations on the idiots who designed it. When he calmed down we continued ,and he loved it from then on. He was at peace I guess with what had been done.

Epikduk20005 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA.

My question is what tools/tutorials would you recommend for someone with a passion for gaming and wants to get into game development as a hobby and possible opportunity? I feel as if there is so much software and tutorials to choose from it is hard to decide what to use/do.

SandyPetersen5 karma

Well this is a tough question to answer because "game development" is a huge huge field. For example, if you said you wanted to go into movies, that could mean editing, directing, screenwriting, acting, special effects, etc. etc. etc.

Games also covers a wide range. If you want to be a designer you'd be doing wholly different things than if you want to be a producer or a graphics programmer or an animator or whatever.

Epikduk20005 karma

Looking back I didn't word the question very well. I was thinking about making a game on your own where you would work on all aspects. Like from your experience what engine would you recommend for small indie projects? (e.g. Unity). Also what software would you recommend for animation and graphics? Sorry for the shoddily worded question and thanks for replying :)

SandyPetersen5 karma

Unity.

In the case of animation & graphics, it's really almost a religious question. Whatever software is the one that you find easiest to use. After all, you'll be able to export to whatever format you please.

TheGooeyCosmos5 karma

PG ends up eating a lot of shipping costs and such during a campaign. Does this (and other unforseen speed bumps) put huge dents in the profits you make?

SandyPetersen7 karma

Yes it absolutely does. Plus our habit of "apologizing by giving free gifts" to backers when a delay hits us. (We just added 24 new boss cards to Orcs Must Die, for instance.) But I think that keeps us connected to our backers and keeps us more of a fan-to-fan relationship, rather than a publisher-buyer one.

Lyannah4 karma

How well does Gods War play with only 3? It seems (even more than CW) that the asymmetry really needs more players to get the best experience

SandyPetersen5 karma

I think it is not quite as fun with three, as are many multiplayer games. But all the systems work and operate correctly, and the game certainly is quicker to play.

TheGooeyCosmos4 karma

iirc, Arthur mentioned in one of the BGG forums that the maps/boards were on of the most expensive parts of creating a board game. Is this true? Even over all that plastic?

SandyPetersen5 karma

The plastic is more expensive in total. The map is more expensive than any one figure, though, so it is the costliest single item (with the possible exception of the box).

sizerp4 karma

What's are your favourite dudes on a map games that you didn't design, and what do you like about them?

SandyPetersen4 karma

Twilight Imperium III, because of the subtlety and complexity of the faction interlock, is a favorite.

I play a lot of old-school wargames, like Europe Engulfed. Not sure if that counts as "dudes on a map" when it is in fact cardboard or wooden counters. But to me a DoaM game is just a variant of the old Avalon Hill wargame model. Which I love.

suaveitguy4 karma

Do you think video games could ever be more narrative (rather than goal) driven? Could a video game be an emotional character study without a mission, like a Raging Bull or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

SandyPetersen6 karma

Well ... we already HAVE useful art forms for telling stories (movies, novels, comics). Do we really need to try to twist games into yet another means of doing this?

frozen-cactus4 karma

For people that probably can't back all your projects, but wish they could. Do you have an approximate range of what the all-in gameplay pledge will be for your next game with Keith Thompson? In case people want to budget for that.

SandyPetersen2 karma

I am trying to keep it to $100 or less if possible. But it is going to have pretty cool figures.

Oops. The All-In pledge will doubtless be over $100. Sorry about that. Not sure how much yet, but maybe another $150-200

ylc03044 karma

(Is this where I type the question? -not used to reddit- I hope i'm doing this right.) Uhm... Well, curiosity: Since I've been getting the question a lot on facebook (and I figured I'd ask unless they already did). Some people have been interested in getting the figures without the game (not sure why someone would, but eh). Will there be a possibility for this?

SandyPetersen4 karma

Well we offered the Cthulhu Wars figures separately in our Pathfinder campaign. I suppose it's possible we'll do that at some point in the future for Gods War. I assume you're talking about Gods War.

chrislemens4 karma

Asking on behalf of Judgement Dave, whose questions don't seem to be coming through:

Hi Sandy. Thanks for doing this. I'm hoping you find some form of satisfaction in all of them, but what bit do you find most personally satisfying/fun: developing a new game, delivering the finished game to other players or playing your finished games? Or does something else (game related) beat these hands down? JD

SandyPetersen3 karma

My favorite thing is watching or hearing people play my game and love it. On the deepest level I'm just another gamer, and when some one "gets" the game in the same way I do, I'm thrilled.

chrislemens4 karma

Another from Judgement Dave: IIRC you said something around the time of OS2 (either on KS or BGG) about having an idea for a Cthulhoid skirmish game (or similar) that I think you said would be for 2 players (maybe 2+)... I've not seen you mention it recently in upcoming plans - do you still want to do one or is it iced?

SandyPetersen3 karma

It is not yet iced, but it is on a back burner. Probably return to it in 2017 sometime.

chrislemens4 karma

Another from Judgement Dave: Are you more surprised by how much backing CW has gained through it's 2 Kickstarters or by the way that GW doesn't (yet) seem to be replicating it?

SandyPetersen4 karma

CW has been a continuous source of joy to me. After all, I wouldn't be ABLE to do TGW (or anything else) without its success. I would literally be sitting in an office designing someone else's ideas for iOS games. I am willing to give GW the time it needs to grow. And it's not like it's a failure, after all!

That said, it was probably a mistake to announce yesterday that Onslaught Two's pledge manager was going to end at about the same time as The Gods War's campaign ended. It made people choose between the two, and the result was an immediate drop of a couple grand for The Gods War. The good news is the money is probably still going to Petersen Games. The bad news is it makes Gods War lag behind for a bit.

suaveitguy4 karma

Did you know Ken and Roberta Williams? What was their place in the development of video games?

SandyPetersen5 karma

I have met them at various conventions, but would not consider myself a close personal friend.

suaveitguy4 karma

Who is the most under appreciated pioneer in video game history?

SandyPetersen6 karma

Noah Falstein

chrislemens3 karma

Why? Sinistar?

SandyPetersen3 karma

He did a lot of awesome things for which he is, IMO, not recognized sufficiently.

sizerp4 karma

Two questions, loosely related.

1) Familiar with Kingdom Death Monster? Opinions? I find it very dark thematically in a way akin to some Lovecraftian works - I also love the combat system.

2) Planning on making a dungeon crawler ever? :)

SandyPetersen3 karma

1) Familiar with the game intellectually, but have not played it.

2) I sort of did, with Orcs Must Die, which should soon hit stores.

Darkchyylde3 karma

So what do you do when you're NOT designing games?

SandyPetersen7 karma

I play with grandkids, read books, watch horror movies, and play games.

RobertGhent3 karma

What part(s) of the board game design process do you find most difficult? And do you have any tips for overcoming those problem areas?

SandyPetersen4 karma

Because all of my games are highly asymmetric, the hardest parts for me are (A) ensuring balance and (B) keeping them asymmetric. The easiest way to make a game balanced is by keeping the factions similar, and I have to constantly fight against that.

sizerp3 karma

I'm broad strokes, how does the miniature making process operate, from conceptualization to plastic figures being shipped out in boxes?

SandyPetersen1 karma

First step is always the concept art.

Second, we send the final, approved, concept art to the sculptor. Doesn't matter if the sculptor is doing it in CGI or with clay.

Third, we send a copy of the final, approved, sculpt to China (in the case of a physical sculpture, it's never the original, always a resin cast).

Fourth, the factory makes a cast of the sculpt, and makes its own version, which it cuts into pieces and adjusts for manufacturing purposes. Then it turns it into a ceramic version of the sculpt. Then the ceramic version is used to create the steel injection molds (this destroys the ceramic).

Fifth, the factory sends us samples of the plastic figures made from those injection molds, along with different colors, to see which we like the best.

Sixth, they're created, glued together, and collated into boxes.

sizerp2 karma

how often have the plastic proofs from the factory not been good enough? do you have many breakdowns here or anywhere else in the process?

SandyPetersen3 karma

We have had breakdowns at every step along the way. it requires constant oversight and we can't take a single step for granted. For example, when the original factory was packing the boxes, a group of their workers were cramming Nyarlathotep into the tray upside-down, which meant that his left arm kept snapping off and we had to replace hundreds of them. We didn't find out till the boxes had arrived in backers' homes.

SandyPetersen1 karma

We have had breakdowns at every step along the way. it requires constant oversight and we can't take a single step for granted. For example, when the original factory was packing the boxes, a group of their workers were cramming Nyarlathotep into the tray upside-down, which meant that his left arm kept snapping off and we had to replace hundreds of them. We didn't find out till the boxes had arrived in backers' homes.

RobertGhent3 karma

Do you have a "Dream Project" that you would love to do as a board game? If so, what is it? And will we be seeing it anytime soon?

SandyPetersen2 karma

I have to say pretty much Cthulhu Wars was my dream project, and I am grateful. Many designers never get to do their "dream", but I did.

That said, other dreams are now crowding into my life. I've always wanted to do a big 4x space game (I know, unoriginal), and I've always wanted to do a dungeon crawler (on its way with my upcoming Apocalypse game).

sizerp3 karma

Can you pack my complete Onslaught two order into a little shoebox so it doesn't arouse suspicion on delivery?

SandyPetersen4 karma

Absolutely yes, with our mighty crushing device. But you have to sign a form saying that you won't ask for replacements due to breakage.

GooberMan3 karma

You're clearly doing well with board games at the moment. Are you done with video games, or do you see the possibility of doing another one in the future?

I recently replayed Quake. Your levels felt like the level was actively working against me rather than being a monster-key-monster-key-monster-exit chain. There's not nearly enough of a game playing with the players like that in modern gaming.

SandyPetersen3 karma

I am happy and fulfilled doing boardgames. That said, I actually am working with two small video companies doing versions of my games for Steam and/or phone.

Thanks for the praise of my Quake levels. I remember sometimes getting slammed at the time because my levels weren't as pretty as some of the others (a fair cop). I stuck to gameplay because I wasn't as artistic I guess.

TheGooeyCosmos3 karma

Will Dicenstein hit your webstore? Will any exclusives also be able to be picked up on a limited basis?

SandyPetersen3 karma

We are currently not planning to offer exclusives from our webstore, but our practice has been to sell overproduction from our booth at conventions, or to give them away as prizes or gifts.

Dicenstein will be in our webstore I am sure.

PMBorisStoke3 karma

Were you involved in the now cancelled follow up to Dark Corners of the Earth? Anything you can share about it?

SandyPetersen3 karma

I was not involved in Dark Corners of the Earth.

PMBorisStoke6 karma

Well then that's embarrassing. My apologies!

May I ask what your opinions of the new Doom?

SandyPetersen3 karma

I am thrilled that they are returning to their roots.

TheGooeyCosmos3 karma

I assume you don't have a lot of time to play newer games but did anything strike you as particularly intriguing at Gencon?

SandyPetersen4 karma

I was intrigued by the new Cataan for kids game, and the new Star Trek game with the weird relationship between planets, where they seem to be joined together by what almost looks like tinkertoys.

TheGooeyCosmos3 karma

I forgot to mention in my last questions what a huge fan I am and a thanks to all you have contributed to the hobby! Now, Have you had a chance to try Kingdom Death: Monster? If so, what are your thoughts?

SandyPetersen5 karma

I have not actually played Kingdom Death: Monster, but my company did assist Adam with advice on fulfilling his campaign and other matters. We usually drop by their booth during GenCon and wave antennae.

sizerp2 karma

Are there any game world or mythologies you thing are under served in the Tabletop gaming world? Any other mythos' you hope to one day explore in this medium?

SandyPetersen2 karma

I always loved the world of Tekumel, and have set several RPG campaigns in it. Not sure if it would support a whole tabletop boardgame, but it is one of the deepest and most interesting worlds out there.

kshelley2 karma

Besides the ones you have worked, what is your game?

SandyPetersen2 karma

Boardgame - Napoleonic Wars by GMT Card - Contract Bridge Video - Culdcept Computer - Dungeonmaster

Makhauser2 karma

Hi, Sandy, thanks for all the stuff you have created. Haven't you thought about making a level/wad for DooM as JR did some time ago? Your levels were rather remarkable, admire playing them even now.

SandyPetersen5 karma

Thank you so much for the praise! There are so many levels for Doom out there - and so many excellent fan-based ones. I'm not sure that my input is particularly needed.

Stoltzy922 karma

For your most recent kickstarter, Glorantha: The Gods War, have you ever considered putting in an artbook with some notes about the artist and gameplay designs of the various units and monsters? Or would you ever think of compiling one in the future?

SandyPetersen4 karma

I have not so far considered this.

fathan2 karma

I heard there is a reprint of Cthulhu Wars core game happening with the OS2 printing. Is there any way I can pre-order the core game as part of my late pledge for OS2?

SandyPetersen2 karma

We are not offering a pre-order of the core game for OS2, but i'm sure you'll see it in our webstore and elsewhere.

Beryllium_Nitrogen2 karma

What game not by yourself do you wish you had worked on?

SandyPetersen3 karma

Pikmin, Monster Rancher, Twilight Imperium, and Culdcept are some that I was green with envy about.

SandyPetersen2 karma

This AMA has come to an end. Thank you so much for your insightful questions. Do you have any more? Particularly about my latest project? Feel free to ask questions about The Gods War at http://www.thegodswar.info/

chrislemens2 karma

For When you were developing either Gods War or Cthulhu Wars, was there an "aha" moment where you suddenly got what would drive the game? If so, what was the insight?

SandyPetersen3 karma

It was when I realized how I needed to do the spellbooks for Cthulhu Wars. It would be able to drive play, enhance the game's asymmetry, give players hints on "how to be Cthulhu" or whoever, and serve as a combination of tech tree and controlled in-game growth. I think it's the single strongest concept in the game.

For Gods War, my "aha" moment was the Chaos Rift Struggle. It is the most fun prisoner's dilemma-type moment I've ever seen.

MacTroy2 karma

Thanks again for a great AMA. Have you continued to play CoC through the years? Which edition? ;) Would you be willing to call out a couple of published scenarios that produced really fun moments for you, either as GM or player?

SandyPetersen2 karma

Yes I still play CoC, and I'm even actively putting together a book of my scenarios for publication by Chaosium (tentatively titled Tales of Sandy).

Unfortunately, because I am the "famous Sandy Petersen" my players won't stand for me playing a mere published scenario. Everything has to be something original by me. sigh So I am in the peculiar position of not hardly ever getting to play the cool published scenarios.

Wait, that's not entirely true. I did get to play the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign with my group. That was before it was published, so i guess they didn't realize it wasn't written by me.

MacTroy1 karma

I didn't consider that particular "handicap", but it makes sense. Looking forward to the book of scenarios forthcoming from Chaosium.

SandyPetersen2 karma

The first scenario is already available free - it's The Derelict, and was given away at GenCon for Free RPG day or something.

DaddyHank2 karma

Hello! I went to school with your son growing up and I'll always remember getting to play on Age of Empires III pre-release at the studio.

I remember that you were interested in Civil war reenactments at one point. Would you ever consider making a Sid Meier's style Civil War era board game?

SandyPetersen5 karma

I would love to do a Civil War board game. I wonder if there is much of a market for it nowadays.

ephealy2 karma

What aspects of the Civil War do you think would be most interesting to explore with a game? 'Normal' battles? A mashup of historical reality with sci-fi/horror/fantasy elements?

SandyPetersen6 karma

I am pretty satisfied with the actual war without adding SF or horror. I think that most simulations don't delve into the complex politics of the situation however. For example, both sides held presidential elections during the war. That's weird. Both sides had to deal with significant amounts of dissent, which they couldn't just crush imperially. And both sides had to deal with foreign relations and diplomacy. And the two sides actively traded with each other during many parts of the war. Both sides had politics interfering with the strategy, and which generals could be appointed to which locations. Lincoln had to keep McClernand around because he was a War Democrat. Davis had to fire his beloved Braxton Bragg because of a letter-writing campaign. That sort of thing.

It's really quite an amazing war.

ZeeKrinkle2 karma

Is there any board game mechanic that you really like , enjoy, and want to use but haven't found a way to implement in one of your designs?

SandyPetersen4 karma

Yes. I have been striving to use the Dollar Auction for years. Maybe some day. Well I guess the Dollar Auction isn't really a board game mechanic. But it's still a cool idea. You can look it up here. http://www.heretical.com/pound/dollar.html

chrislemens2 karma

If the elements formed progressively (dark, sea, earth, sky, air), why does Kylerela float?

SandyPetersen2 karma

Because Eurmal is full of hot air.

existoid2 karma

Why is your oldest son Arthur so handsome?

SandyPetersen3 karma

He's not really. It's just reflected glory from his three adorable daughters.

sizerp2 karma

How do you feel about kickstarter, and have your opinions on that changed over time?

Have the way you run your campaigns evolved significantly over time?

SandyPetersen2 karma

I love Kickstarter, and would not be able to publish any of my games without its support. I guess what I really love is crowdfunding - Kickstarter is a means to that end. No publisher would ever release a game like Cthulhu Wars or Gods War. Crowdfunding lets me find out if a game is worth doing even before it's published. (And a bunch of my campaigns have failed - every failed campaign is a bullet I dodged.)

We keep changing the details on how to run our campaigns, but I'm not sure if they'd be considered "significant" changes. I mean, we don't do early birds any more, and we don't do gameplay exclusives, and we keep simplifying the number of pledge levels and add-ons. But it's evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.

chrislemens2 karma

The figures for each empire all hang together thematically. How did you get to the concept art for the various empires?

SandyPetersen2 karma

My art director, Rich Fleider, has been playing RPGs with me (often in Glorantha) for over 20 years, so he has a really good feel for what the world is supposed to be like.

In addition, Jeff Richards, the president of Moon Design, helped us with approving and gearing the concepts.

Plus I'm no noob myself when it comes to dark fantasy. My vision kind of drove it - for instance, the bizarre appearance of the Hellmother is directly from my original vision of an all-devouring witch crawling on her belly.

TheGooeyCosmos2 karma

What is the current delivery expectation of CW OS2?

SandyPetersen4 karma

Plastic is squirting through steel injection molds even as we speak. My production manager is in constant contact with China. I am told it is only weeks away, but do not know if "weeks" means 5 or 15. Hoping for the former, and trying to get it nailed down better later - before September 12th.

C3Gaming2 karma

What's the most memorable gaming experience you've had to date?

SandyPetersen7 karma

Meeting Shigeru Miyamoto in the late 1990s. To my surprise, I found myself gibbering incomprehensibly and all starry-eyed while I shook his hand. Usually I'm pretty glib and smooth, so my own reaction took me by surprise. I guess he's my game designer hero.

TheGooeyCosmos2 karma

Do you expect the Gods War to hit similar numbers to CW?

SandyPetersen2 karma

I do not, and never did, really. I thought it would do decent (which it has done so far), and justify its existence. I think it will become even more popular over time as well. I regard it as a fine companion game to Cthulhu Wars, but in no way a replacement.

afrofrycook1 karma

What lessons did you learn from creating Cthulhu Wars that you applied to God's War?

SandyPetersen2 karma

1) factions can't be too asymmetric. 2) people want to feel powerful. 3) size does matter.

Players love it when they use an ability and the other folks at the table goggle and whine about how gross that ability is.

existoid1 karma

when you say "factions can't be too asymmetric" do you mean to say that "make them as wildly asymmetric as possible" ? (as opposed to "you shouldn't make them too asymmetric" ?)

SandyPetersen2 karma

I mean make them as wildly asymmetric as possible. People want excuses to stand out from one another.

TheGooeyCosmos1 karma

What's next for Cthulhu Wars? or is OS2 going to close the book on it?

SandyPetersen8 karma

I intend to keep milking Cthulhu Wars for as long as anyone can stand it. That said, I am doing NOTHING with Cthulhu Wars until Onslaught Two has fully shipped. After that point, all bets are off.

(actually, I already have a 9th faction and a new map in preliminary design on my hard drive. I even playtested the faction once. Baby steps.)

RobertGhent1 karma

Besides "The Whisperer in the Darkness", what other Lovecraft film adaptations do you find most pleasing? I ask because I have been on a Lovecraft movie binge all this week and I need suggestions! So far I've watched "Re-Animator", "Dagon", "From Beyond", "The Lurking Fear", and of course... "Call of Cthulhu!"! Right now I am watching "Out of Mind: The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft (TV MOVIE) on YouTube.

SandyPetersen2 karma

I recommend Absentia, The Thing on the Doorstep, Mercy, The Beyond (by Fulci), and Spider Labyrinth as great Lovecraftian films.

RobertGhent1 karma

And I am adding those to my list of Lovecraft goodness this week!

SandyPetersen2 karma

There is also Stuart Gordon's Dreams in the Witch House and a film called The Dark Sleep based on the same story. And The Resurrected, based on Charles Dexter Ward.

RobertGhent1 karma

Obviously as a game designer you want to make a successful product. And you want to support your family in the process. With that being said, what do you find is the most gratifying part of your work?

SandyPetersen2 karma

The best part is when I hear from people who have purchased, played, and love my work. It means what I did was not for naught.

MacTroy1 karma

I've been LOVING Cthulhu Wars, but OS2 has sapped my gaming budget significantly. :) If you only had an absolute max of $200 to spend on TGW, what would you buy?

SandyPetersen2 karma

I would buy the core game only, save $75, and spend it on something else. But if you can afford just 20% more, you can get the core game plus the Empire box and that's pretty great.

existoid1 karma

Which director is best - the master, Bruno Mattei, or his apprentice, Umberto Lenzi ?

SandyPetersen3 karma

I guess I have to go with Mattei, because ALL of his movies are entertaining. But one of Umberto Lenzi's movies is Black Demons. Also I just got his movie Almost Human. Looking forward to seeing how he screwed the pooch on that one.

chrislemens1 karma

Were there any moments from play-testing that you thought were particularly memorable? If so, what and why?

SandyPetersen2 karma

sure many of them. I guess maybe one of the best was when Shovaen Patel gave me the first inklings towards how to do the Ritual of Annihilation, after one of the early games.

C3Gaming1 karma

Asked by Luke: Is there a new projected date for Dicenstien and if there are any plans to continue to support it with expansions despite the low numbers on the KS?

SandyPetersen1 karma

Dicenstein is still planned to come out soon. We just did an update on the progress.

Expansions will have to await sales figures. I must say the low KS numbers were a bit discouraging.

TheGooeyCosmos1 karma

Whenever a KS launches there are always a myriad of suggestions from backers. Some seem like decent ideas and some just seem to tailor to one person's very specific wants and "needs" yet, they request it as if it is a deal breaker. How do you cope with the barrage of requests big and small? Do some just annoy you?

SandyPetersen2 karma

My secret dream is to never SEEM annoyed. And really, because my company has been so responsive to backers in the past, I've set myself up for more of this kind of interaction. I take the good with the bad. There's way more good, after all.

I had a guy this campaign who basically told me I should give away my games for free by doing them completely as Print & Plays, because that way people who loved cool new games could all play it. Which is, I guess, true. My takeaway message was that at least that guy liked my games, even if he didn't understand economics too well, so I tried to take it as flattery.

TheGooeyCosmos1 karma

Haha understood. I've seen some mighty bold requests and threads myself and I get annoyed just reading them... Let alone if I ever had to be in a position to actually consider them.

SandyPetersen2 karma

Well some of them warrant more consideration than others.

ShengSeleris1 karma

I am curious why a dragon figure was chosen for the emperor in the sky faction of TGW. If it depicts the Golden Sun Dragon didn't it come along long after the God's War?

SandyPetersen2 karma

there were solar imperial dragons back in the God Time too. The Golden Sun Dragon is an echo of those days.

chrislemens1 karma

What is your favorite figure in Gods War? What is your favorite figure in Cthulhu Wars? In both cases, why?

SandyPetersen2 karma

My favorite figure in Gods War is the Mad God because he looks like an amazing pagan idol of evil. I just love him. He's so elaborate, and so unusual.

My favorite figure in Cthulhu Wars might be Ithaqua. Either that or the raw id force of Shub-Niggurath. Man she's terrifying.

chrislemens1 karma

Why Ithaqua?

SandyPetersen2 karma

Because Lovecraft's monsters are typically extremely physical, not ethereal or ghostly at all. But Ithaqua seemed like he might be made of mists or wind. The figure combined physical horror with kind of a slinky almost-but-not-quite spectral aspect in a way that really worked for me.

RobertGhent1 karma

What Empire in The God's War did you find the easiest to balance? And likewise, what Empire did you find the most difficult to balance?

SandyPetersen2 karma

The Darkness empire was really easy to balance, possibly because early on it became the favorite of one of my best most-focused testers.

The hardest to balance in the core game was absolutely Storm. He has to be aggressive yet being aggressive can get you killed. But I can't let him be TOO strong in battle or he'll kill everyone else.

astralvortex1 karma

I always wanted to get the Call of Cthulhu source book. It was just a little too expensive for me, when I was a kid. I wound up buying the Stormbringer RPG, which was awesome. Did you work on that? I know they were both from Chaosium.

SandyPetersen2 karma

I did a little work on Stormbringer, but mostly it was done by the amazing Ken St. Andre, who is probably clinically insane. But super fun to talk with and game with!