I  founded White Wizard Games in my garage with my best friend, and have raised over $1M on Kickstarter to fund the development of 3 games and 2 apps. Our first game, Star Realms, has won 7 Game of the Year awards. Last year I gave away $100,000.00 in the first Epic Card Game World Championship. 

I have over 20 years of industry experience spanning nearly every aspect of hobby gaming: • Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Champion and Hall of Famer • Game Designer • White Wizard Games CEO • Designer and Co-Creator of Epic Card Game • Co-Creator of the Star Realms Deckbuilding Game • Co-Creator of the Hero Realms Deckbuilding Game • Co-Founder/Co-Designer of the Ascension Deckbuilding Game • Gary Games Inc. COO • EpicTCG CEO • Your Move Games Inc. Co-CEO • Stoneblade Entertainment Organized Play Director • Game Store Owner • Premier Tournament Organizer for WoTC and Konami • Tournament Judge (Level 3 Magic Judge) • Organized Play Designer/Consultant

I am also a dad to 7 kids and a St. Bernard. 

Ask me about running a game company, designing games, running a Kickstarter, playing professional Magic, marketing/sales distribution for games, game manufacturing, developing game apps, or .... anything :)

Here's a link to the Kickstarter that we are currently running: http://tinyurl.com/EpicDigKSiAMA

The White Wizard Games website is here: http://www.whitewizardgames.com/

My Proof: There will be a post in the Kickstarter comments on the Kickstarter page http://tinyurl.com/EpicDigKSiAMA and also on our White Wizard Games instagram https://www.instagram.com/whitewizardgames/ that I am hosting this iAMA. 

I will start answering at 4 pm EST today, February 14th, so ask away!

Comments: 159 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

isa558916 karma

Hi Rob, With a lot of attention going into Hero Realms and Epic, what do you see in the future for Star Realms, both the physical game and the app? I personally am not into the fantasy theme that Hero Realms and Epic involve (although I did back them both during their kickstarters) but I love the space theme of Star Realms, and it is currently one of my favorite games. I'd like to see it continue to grow.

RobDougherty13 karma

Good news for you, we also LOVE Star Realms.

I, in fact, have a proxy deck of a future set on the table next to me. Playtest new designs is definitely the most fun part of the job!

We have more sets coming out this year. We are working on adding sets and features to the digital game. So much more Star Realms to come!

pokerjoker238 karma

What's more epic: Epic Card Game or fathering 7 children?

RobDougherty8 karma

The kids are more epic, but Epic Card Game is pretty awesome too!

pokerjoker238 karma

I Love Epic and am a Day One back for the Kickstarter. Besides the app, where do you see the game heading? Set 2? New expansions? New abilities? What can you tell us?

RobDougherty11 karma

New sets of course (with some new abilities thrown in from time to time). I don't want to spoil any cards, but I can tell you we have a new set we are working on currently.
I am really looking forward to how Epic Digital, when in full release, will help grow the game. It's tutorial will show new players how to play, and the online play will mean there is always an opponent at your fingertips.

If we can grow the player base like I think we will be able to with the app, I'm looking forward to doing more and even bigger tournaments.

blakewhitlow096 karma

Hey Rob! What can you tell us about the new game Sorcerer? I'm a White Wizards junkie. As soon as I heard about this new project I had to know more. I found that some guys have actually been working on it for some time now.

Follow-up question: You guys also picked up the Epic tcg, which wasn't doing so hot, and made it what it is today! Is this going to be a recurring theme in White Wizards slate of games; obtaining IPs and making then awesome?

RobDougherty7 karma

Sorcerer is awesome! It has a dark theme (Victorian era horror), the art and graphic design are beautiful. The game play is a cross between a board game and a TCG. There are multiple locations on which to play your minions, you can move cards that are in play to other locations, you roll dice to determine the outcome of combat. It is designed by Peter Scholtz, the newest member of the White Wizard Games team. Look for a Sorcerer Kickstarter later this year (spring/summer).

EpicTCG was one of my earlier game projects, and while there were many things I loved about it, I have learned a lot since making that game. Darwin and I loved playing the old game, and were excited to remake it with the advantage of all we have learned.

ReflectionEterna6 karma

Hey Rob! Thanks for doing this!

As a father to seven kids, a store owner, a game designer... it seems like you have a ton on your plate. How involved are your children in game design/testing and running your store? Are your jobs a family function or do you find a way to keep them separate, and still spend time with the family?

Thanks again!

RobDougherty8 karma

I sold my game stores a while back, so they are no longer on my very full plate.

My family does get involved with my work. CJ (age 20) has worked the booth at my shows, plays a lot of Epic, and has done commentary and judging. Nate (10) and Maia (8) love playing Star Realms with me. Sabrina (13) is a aspiring author and wants to work on game lore. Ryan (14) and AJ (13) are more into other video games than the games I make, but they sometimes help out with playtesting and work projects. Daisy (2) isn't playtesting yet, but she is cute and loveable. Debbie is the best partner I could ask for. We raise the kids together and work together. She is WWG head of marketing and the studio manager.

mong0smash5 karma

What do you think are the most important things you've done to ensure a successful Kickstarter campaign from start to finish? What factors do you think companies like Stoneblade missed in their kickstarters to result in failure after funding when it came to follow through?

RobDougherty5 karma

I think the keys to successful Kickstarters are: Get the word out! Great art / look/ video Don't overpromise (this can be especially dangerous on Stretch Goals) Deliver quickly Deliver quality

I think the most common failures in Kickstarter follow through come from overpromising. Promising feature they don't yet have the capacity to deliver, promising expensive material items that will end up costing more than the pledge dollars that come in, etc.

Coachpoker5 karma

Any plans to boost the capacity of your digital team?

They do good work, but it is often mentioned that the small team can only do so much in a day. Case in point, Colony Wars has been out on paper for over a year, still waiting for digital. Now with Epic ready to tear it up, and rumblings of digital Hero Realms....I guess I'm wondering if features will be slower to roll out over all apps, or will the team expand to meet demand quicker?

RobDougherty6 karma

The team is expanding. We are adding people, but we want to do it in a slow and controlled way. It is most important to us that we keep quality high, and I worry if we try to grow too quickly, it would suffer. We are currently working on Colony Wars for the Star Realms app, and on Epic Digital. Both are coming along great. Hero Realms Digital will have to wait a bit as we grow the digital team.

enalios5 karma

I get frustrated talking about game design casually because it seems to always turn into "marketability" and "return on investment" ideas. Is there no room for game design purely as a creative pursuit? Is no one actually interested in that?

Follow up, do you think it's as weird as I do that a plurality of people who self-identify as gamers seem extremely concerned with "the market" and "business moves" with regards to game companies and creators?

RobDougherty10 karma

I am, in fact, one of those geeks who cared about designing for love of the games. I built the games I wanted to play. I had a lot of loved-by-fans-but-not-so-profitable games before my first "hit" games (Ascension then Star Realms).

On the follow up: A lot of people love games and make them out of passion. They try to find publishers, or they self publish. The ones who do well often correlate with those who are good at business and think/talk about things like "the market" and "business moves". So I think you see a lot of that from game companies because that is often what it takes to stay in business and make more games.

RobDougherty3 karma

I continue to make the games I love and hope to be able to do that for the rest of my working life. :)

Kulnan4 karma

Other than MTG and the games you've helped make, what is your favorite game to play and why?

RobDougherty3 karma

My current favorite game I'm not working on/with is Clash Royale (an app game). I enjoy it's mix of deck building, real-time play and virtual game "arena". I'm currently at 3559 trophies. My son Ryan (14) crushes me at that game. He has 4,173.

enalios4 karma

Any advice for those of us doing game design as a hobby in a state with no major games industry? I help run a club here in Arkansas.

How do you feel about sites like The Game Crafter? What should someone who uses a site like that regularly start to do in order to "find their audience"?

RobDougherty4 karma

One of the great things about designing games is you can do it literally anywhere as long as you have a least a few friends to test with. If your friends really love what you make you can travel to some conventions and show your game to players you don't know. If they don't love it, keep working on it. If they do love it you can try and find a publisher or do it yourself on Kickstarter or the like.

mutatedman4 karma

What did you learn from Star Realms (and its expansions) that directly impacted Hero Realms?

It seems that there were some changes to make base/champion abilities easier to understand and raise the general power level of cards, but I'm wondering if there was anything specific.

RobDougherty4 karma

Star Realms got a lot of things right. So with the Hero Realms base game we were looking to give you a new feel while keeping the great aspects of Star Realms. The playtesting and balancing process we developed for Star Realms served us well with Hero Realms. We also addressed the most common Star Realms complaints by giving Hero Realms easier score cards and a sturdier box.

mutatedman3 karma

Definitely agreed that the score cards and box are better, and thank you for answering!

I have a couple more specific observations, if you'd like to respond...

My friends and I have noticed that Hero Realms games tend to take longer than Star Realms games, occasionally to a fault. The base game has a bit less scrap and a bit more healing than either of the Star Realms base sets. Additionally, throwing in the heroes (particularly the defensive heroes, like the Cleric) seem to slow the game down even more. We've run into cases where many turns will pass without anyone buying anything or noticeably affecting their opponent's life total.

Was this intentional, to give players more time to hone their decks, or is it just a consequence of making certain strategies (scrapping, healing, champions) more or less reliable? Were there any other mechanical changes made intentionally?

RobDougherty5 karma

Hero Realms is about heroes, so there are more champions in Hero Realms than there are bases in Star Realms. This means it is easier to get a lot of guys in play which can lead to longer games. To combat this the other cards tend to be a bit more powerful for their cost than ships are in Star Realms. So, you can defend yourself better, but you can also hit harder faster. So the pacing is different than Star Realm, and we were happy with that. It gives players a different feel when playing the different games.

KomitheKitsune1 karma

Hello Rob,

Regarding Hero Realms, you mentioned in your kickstarter that some backers would have their likeness incorporated into a character class in your hero decks like the Ranger. How many character packs are you planning on adding to Hero Realms?

RobDougherty1 karma

I don't have an exact number in mind, but there is definite room for more character classes.

darkPrince0104 karma

If you could share one pre-playtesting tip for making a game with competitive-level balance, what would it be?

RobDougherty5 karma

Having played competitively at a high level for years, I've gotten pretty good at eye-balling and getting pretty close to balance on first pass designs. I sometimes design mathematical formulas which balance game components automatically, but that works best for games with point-cost systems.

jburdeezy4 karma

Hi Rob, Kickstarter backer here for Star Realms, Epic and Epic Digital. Congrats on the success of WWG and thank you for the games!

I'm curious to learn more about WWG design and development process. Can you share roughly how you decide to pursue and develop a new game? How about for a new set or expansion for an existing game? I'm impressed with the amount of games your team is actively supporting and I imagine its a delicate balance deciding how much to focus on each game.

RobDougherty3 karma

For new games, if Darwin or I get really excited about an idea we tinker with it on our own for a while then get the other one involved and kick it around playing lots of games and making tweaks. We got very good at quickly developing and modifying game ideas from years of working together on the Your Move Games professional magic team, then years of working together on our own games.

For new sets, one of us will take lead on design (Ironically it is usually me for Star Realms and Darwin for Epic). The other will take lead on development. We then playtest like crazy rapidly modifying the set. Once we feel it is close we bring in the rest of the team for testing, balance, templating, etc.

Cyberzilla3 karma

Any plans to release another cube/big set of Epic, or are you sticking to regular pack releases?

Also, how hard is it to get distributors to carry games like Epic when they are newly released?

RobDougherty3 karma

We are sticking with packs for Epic expansions for a while. We are very happy with the base set and want new players to start there.

New games are very tough to get distributors to carry. For my early games I emailed stores and distributors, mailed samples, flew around the country demoing to distributor sales teams and buyers. After Ascension and Star Realms I haven't had any trouble getting distributors to carry my games.

apetresc3 karma

Are there any plans to resolve some of the discrepancies between Star Realms' digital and paper versions? (In my opinion the most egregious being discarding on your opponent's turn in the app).

I understand that these rarely-but-sometimes-relevant nuances were natural corners to cut when you were rushing to get the first app out the door, but leaving them there years later makes me worry – not just about how seriously WWG takes the digital game, but also how many cool mechanics are being left out of the paper game expansions because they don't fit naturally into the relatively rigid model it follows now.

Love both games, just to be clear :)

RobDougherty2 karma

The discrepancies between the Star Realms digital and paper versions were intentional. In the alpha of the Star Realms app, you had to wait for your opponent to choose a card to discard every time you made them discard. You had to manually activate every ally ability (like Blob Fighter's card draw). While those things flowed well in the physical game they made the app clunky. So, we did some modifications to how the digital game worked to improve the flow of the game and the play experience got WAY better. I was willing to accept these difference between the physical and digital so that both games could be at their best.

jshirland3 karma

Hi, Rob. Have you designed the Hero Realms card for the first Legend tournament winner yet? And have you decided in what type of expansion it will be included?

RobDougherty3 karma

Not yet. We are finishing up the expand campaign deck and the boss decks now. His card will be in the following expansion.

Cyberzilla3 karma

What's your opinion on the response to Kark?

RobDougherty2 karma

Kark give health gain control decks a way to win quickly, which is far more fun for both players than when a health gain control deck wins slowly. In our in office testing we have decks that have good records against Kark decks. We want Constructed Epic to be fun and feature a wide array of deck types. We will watch constructed Epic closely to see if any cards need errata or banning.

Huntersknoll_3 karma

Hi Rob, My GF and I love Epic are are looking forward to the app. My question is will the next expansion be a "big box" like the original and introduce new mechanics or will it be the four packs? Either way I am pumped and looking forward to it.

RobDougherty7 karma

The next set for Epic will be 4 packs, like Tyrants and Uprising. We are very happy with the base set and think that is a great place for new players to start. We will introduce a new keyword mechanic in coming sets.

imported3 karma

hi rob, can you go more in depth with what your plans are for the ticketing system in epic? i feel like a lot game mishandle/abuse virtual currency.

and are there any plans on bringing the tournament tech from epic digital to star realms digital?

RobDougherty2 karma

If you buy the full version of Epic Digital (by backing the Kickstarter or when it comes out in full release) you will be able to play casual games as much as you like online for free, just like you can with Star Realms now. Event tickets will be used for various casual and competitive features. On the casual side they will be used for cosmetics like avatars, alternate art cards and playmats. They will also unlock additional campaign features. On the competitive side they will be used for event entry fees for ranked heads up games, for tournaments and leagues, and for World Championship Qualifiers.
How much in event tickets things will cost is NOT final, but here is a ballpark for you: Cosmetics and campaign bonuses: depends (some will be 10 cents worth of tickets, some could be a couple of dollars worth of tickets. Ranked games with in-app prizes: about 10 cents worth of tickets (each) Tournaments and leagues: depends (ranging from 50 cents to $5 worth of tickets depending on prizes) World Championship Qualifiers: about $20 worth of event tickets. Again, all the above is NOT FINAL. :)

Walshee3 karma

Steve Walsh here (came to your neck of the woods three years ago as part of the Star Realms Kickstarter)- I'm so excited to see WWG's success! I want to start out by saying thank you again for the opportunity- it was a blast!

Two questions:

1- You mentioned sometime that people's perception of a "successful" CCG/TCG is one that "stands the test of time" so to speak, however you don't believe that to be necessarily true. Could you elaborate on how you as a game producer/designer/developer see success?

2- Have you won the rubber match?

RobDougherty4 karma

Hey Steve! We loved having you as a guest Wizard!

1) Yes, CCGs/TCGs are judged differently than normal games. If a normal game sells a bunch of units, they can print more or an expansion later (even years later) with no problem at all. A CCG/TCG however needs to be in print constantly or it is "dead". There are two different measures of success I put on my games: do people have fun playing them and do they make money. I have had some games that players love, but didn't make any profit, but I am still consider those games successful. Obviously you need some of the profitable ones in there too if you want to eat...

2) I win all matches! :)

isa55893 karma

You have 7 children, how do you balance all of your work responsibilities and still find time to be a dad?

And do your kids play any of WWG's games yet?

RobDougherty3 karma

It can be a bit crazy. Running a growing business is a ton of work, designing games takes a lot of time, and the family of course if awesome but takes a lot of time. I think it works for me because I love my work (and it is a nice break from the kids) and I love my kids (and they are a nice break from work).

ikingdoms3 karma

I know that you guys didn't publish Cthulhu Realms, but what are your thoughts on that version of the Realms series, and do you know if there's any chance of ever expanding that game, or translating any existing expansions for Star Realms over to Cthulhu Realms?

RobDougherty3 karma

Tasty Minstrel licensed the "Realms" engine to make Cthulhu Realms. I can't say if they are going to make expansion or not.

stockysnail3 karma

Hi Rob. With the introduction of Hero Realms character packs and the future boss and campaign, in conjunction with Star Realms multi-faction, mission, and gambits, there has been two different paths that Star Realms and Hero Realms seem to be taking. Will Star Realms and Hero Realms continue to go down different paths to keep their play experiences unique or will you be overlapping some or all of these unique differences? So far I like how they are different but would enjoy seeing some overlap, for example also having boss decks or campaigns in Star Realms.

Side note: Star Realms and Hero Realms are my favorite card games of all time.

RobDougherty2 karma

Thanks for playing, I love to hear it when people are having fun with the games we make.

We wont force them apart, but some mechanics fit better with a fantasy theme and other with a Sci-fi theme.

pokerjoker233 karma

Many Epic events are on the East Coast and not all that accessible to us living out west (Denver, specifically). Do you have any plans to expand your live tournament presence?

RobDougherty3 karma

There will, of course, be event in app on Epic Digital. As Epic Digital grows the player base we will look to expand physical events.

samwise09123 karma

On a personal level, what are some of your favorite films?

RobDougherty3 karma

I love the Star Wars series, the Matrix, Avatar, Lord of the Rings, all the Marvel Cinematic Universe stuff, Indiana Jones, Good Will Hunting, Shawshank Redemption, others I can't think of right now...

Kraivyne3 karma

Hey Rob,

I recently became obsessed with Star Realms and have a question about the games expansions. I have been trying to get my hands on every expansion so far but find that as I add more and more expansions, the likelihood of any of my perceived plans tend to go out the window. This has made me fear getting any future expansions as I worry it will make the game even more random and chaotic.

Do you have any plans on providing players with a MTG "shard" like system, that specifies what expansions play well with each other?

As we are on the topic of expansions, when do you plan on releasing a bigger box for Star Realms? There used to be one for sale but it has been out of stock for almost two month now.


RobDougherty2 karma

A new storage box is coming very soon from Legion Supplies.

All expansion have little symbols on them so you can easily add and subtract them. You can mix everything together or crate a custom mix.

We designed the Base set, Crisis and promo pack 1 to play well together. Similarly Colony Wars, Star Realms United, and the next set of promo cards make a good set. Playing with everything mixed together is also fun, but as you point out a bit more chaotic.

gr9yfox2 karma

Hi Rob! Does it get frustrating to read reviews and comments from players who for some reason thought Epic would be a fantasy version of Star Realms? Was Hero Realms designed as a reaction to that?

I thought Epic's campaign was very very transparent. It promised a lot and it absolutely delivered!

RobDougherty4 karma

Sure, a bit frustrating, but in the end it is a complement because it meant that they loved Star Realms so much they backed Epic without really reading the page or watching the video to see what type of game we were offering.

Epic is amazing and tons of people love it. I'm sure some of them will back our next game sight unseen and be upset it's not a reskin of Epic! :)

White Wizard Games is going to continue to make games we think are great. Many will play differently, but we will endeavor to make each the best game possible.

I've been very happy with the results thus far. :)

hexanauta2 karma

How old are your kids? Do they show some interest in designing games when they are grown up? What's their favorite game you have designed?

RobDougherty2 karma

Daisy (2), Maia (8), Nate (10), AJ (13), Sabrina (13), Ryan (14) and CJ (20). CJ loves Epic but the younger kids prefer Star Realms.

Grandsinge2 karma

Hey Rob thanks for doing this. My wife, friends, and I have really enjoyed Star Realms, Hero Realms, and Epic. However, the one thing we miss is the "collection" factor that we go to MTG and Pokemon for.

Are there any plans in the works for a collectible card game?

RobDougherty5 karma

I currently don't have plans to do a collectable game.

Recently I've been trying to focus on games that give a massive amount of play for a relatively small number of dollars.

palantier2 karma

Heya Rob! Thanks for doing this! You can respond to either or both questions.

As a game designer did you initially start out with the goal of doing it professionally, or as a hobby turned professional?

Do you have recommendations for aspiring gaming media people? Are there good ways to approach developers for interviews or information regarding up and coming projects?

RobDougherty2 karma

I started out as a hobbies. As a kid I designed games for fun.

I don't know a lot about being a successful media person. I tend to contact press who are on trade show press list (like Origins/gencon, etc.) so I would suggest going to those shows a press and getting yourself on their mailing list. Once you are there plenty of game designers/ companies would love to talk to you about their stuff.

xteban2 karma

What's the worst game you like to play? What's the best game that you don't like?

RobDougherty2 karma

Worst game I like to play: Army of Darkness app. I've played through it more than once. Best game I don't like: Chess. I like games that have a lot of skill in them, but still a small element of luck. I like to be able to way the odds and take chances. I like a chance to loose to a lesser player and to beat a greater one. Chess, while clearly one of the greatest games in history, feels way to predetermined to me.

rickmuscles2 karma

Why do game designers do AMAs?

RobDougherty13 karma

Exposure for our games of course. And perhaps a bit of narcissism. :)

Reptorama2 karma

I've just started playing Hero Realms and last week bought some character packs. Is the campaign deck due out soon?

RobDougherty3 karma

The campaign deck has been delayed. We decided to add a ton of cards and vastly increase the awesomeness of it, but that has pushed a back on the release date.

Gambito852 karma

What do you focus more on while designing a game, flavor or mechanics?

RobDougherty2 karma

It depends on the game and what has inspired me. I have done mechanics first and flavor second, and flavor first and mechanics second. Both work and are a fun process in their own way.

Hanoumatoi2 karma

Rob, two questions: 1) how long do you think it will be before you have the Dougherty family 8 man draft you told me you wanted to have back when I think you were on child #4? 2) What is you favorite Magic deck that you have played in a tournament?

Phil Morse-Fortier

RobDougherty2 karma

The kids varying game interests make the 8 player drafts difficult, but we can get them all on board for big games of Werewolf and Two Rooms and a Boom! The reanimation decks featuring cards like entomb with duress and cabal therapy for disruption were my favorite.

Oliwn2 karma

What would you say are the most important things of being a developer? What skills need people to be hired by you? I am currently a student and would like to know how someone as experienced as you thinks about it.

Thanks for doing this AmA!

RobDougherty2 karma

Game designers create new games, make the rough draft. Game developers take that rough draft and hone it to be more fun, better balanced, etc. A good game developer needs to be able to put themselves in the mindset of various types of players and figure out what parts of the game won't be fun for them and come up with fixes. They also need to be able to find confusing rules and simplify them, and find loopholes in the game that could be abused and close them. It is very hard to get work as a game developer. A lot more people want to do it than there are jobs available.

SaysReddit2 karma

Hi Rob,

Thanks for doing this AMA! Big fan of Star Realms, both the game and the app. I was wondering, is there a plan to get Colony Wars ported to the app? There are some combos I'd really like to pull off.

RobDougherty3 karma

YES! It is coming soon. :)

Alestes2 karma

Hello. Im a game designer, Im working on a horror game and when its finished where should I publish it? Can you spare me some ideas for that? Thank you.

RobDougherty2 karma

If you have no published games yet, then you will need to shop your game around and hope to find a publisher. You probably won't be able to be very picky, anyone willing to pay you and publish will do. Or, if you have money you aren't attached to, you could self publish. For this you would need to get your game looking good (art, graphic design) and have a fan base of play testers willing to help you promote. You could then do crowd funding (like Kickstarter). That option is high risk, high reward. You would have to be totally OK with getting zero return for every dollar and every hour you sink into the project. I self published a multiple times before my first profitable game.

MattFantastic2 karma

  1. When are you gonna come visit us in New Haven?

  2. How has your experience not just as a Magic player, but a pro player focused on squeezing out every edge case way to win, shaped your approach to designing complex games? Do you consider the players that find obscure abusable combos to be a positive or negative aspect of the game? How do you find the sweet spot between emergent player strategy and a fixed/balanced play space?

RobDougherty3 karma

1) I didn't know I was invited. Will there be refreshments? :) 2) Darwin and I having experience as top level magic pros makes up very good at the game balance part of development. Obscure combos are generally good for a game. If these combos are overpowered it becomes a bad thing very quickly. Basically we want players to be able to win in a verity of ways and not have any one strategy be dominant.

DerPotatoDeluxe2 karma

Dear Rob, Thank you so much for coming here to answer questions! I love Star Realms and Epic, and I am hoping that the Epic app (which I backed too!) helps really kick off a strong fan base for the game.

That said, why Kick Starter? It seemed like your company was doing quite well, so I wonder why you keep using KickStarter each time you propose a new product–especially when each product seems near finished when you put up the KickStarter anyway.

RobDougherty5 karma

We are big enough now that we could do any one thing without Kickstarter. We could make Epic Digital, or bring Colony Wars to the Star Realms app, or make Hero Realms, but we couldn't do ALL of them. The dollars Kickstarter generates allows us to do more awesome things more quickly.

butternutsquats2 karma

Have you considered publishing games that weren't designed by White Wizard?

RobDougherty2 karma

Yes. For example, Sorcerer's initial design was done before Peter joined White Wizard Games.

basilstaghare972 karma

You mentioned liking Lord of the Rings (my favorite movies) do you have any plans for elves, dwarves, and orcs in Epic expansions? Or are those going to be in Hero Realms only? (Specifically Dwarves please please please in Epic)

RobDougherty2 karma

Yes, all these races are a possible additions to the game. Some Elves are coming in an upcoming Epic set.

PokeCraft46152 karma

Hi! I wanted to know what are some good tips for getting started as a game designer. Also, has your companies name ever drawn critism?

RobDougherty3 karma

Getting started as a game designer is easy. Make a game and play it with your friends. Keep improving it over time till you no longer have to beg them to help you playtest and instead the beg you to break out the game and let them play. :)

Generally the company name doesn't draw criticism, but you are the second person in this AMA to ask about it.

The name is a nod to Tolkien, with his wizard "levels" brown, grey and white. No offence was meant to Humans, Orcs, Hobbits, Trolls, Dwarves, Elves or Ents.

JumpJax2 karma

It seems like you make a lot of deck building games or, in the case of Epic, an entire card games that can fit in a little box.

Has your experience with MTG affected your design philosophy for this? If it has, what about Magic made you choose to follow this philosophy? If it wasn't Magic, what influenced you to create deckbuilding/ drafting games?

RobDougherty3 karma

I really love how with card games, you can get an incredible amount of game play into a small space. Epic, for example, is one of the richest games I've ever played with near infinite replayability and it costs just $15 and can fit in your pocket. That is just cool. I also like games with dice, board, models, etc, but the content for space/price is what drew me to card games for my recent projects.

TheTinyBookworm892 karma

Hi and thanks for doing this! As somebody well-experienced in the gaming industry, where do you see the role of linguists in the industry - meaning what jobs/roles can language experts take on in the gamind industry? Thank you!

RobDougherty2 karma

The obvious jobs in my mind are translating games/rules for publication in new markets, Judging at international events, working booths at international events.

linkgannon1 karma

Hey Rob! I've got a question for you :) About a year and a half ago, I embarked on the long task of creating my own card game. One thing that I had some severe issues with was in figuring out actually designing nice looking cards. Now I didn't own adobe (I didn't have the money for it), and even if I had, I didn't have any clue how to use illustrator / photoshop. Creating card templates and the like just wasn't going to happen for me, so I ended up building a piece of software (Computer Science Engineer here!) that allows me to create card templates, then generate the individual cards, whether it be high-res images for promo material, or official PDFs supported by manufacturers (namely TGC and Panda). This works wonderfully now that it's done for creating new games, but it took me nearly that entire year and a half to program. I can't imagine that every game designer goes through something like this; so here is my question: in your design process (whether it be the cards, promo material, etc.) do you guys solely use adobe to create each card individually, or do you guys have other, easier ways of generating and creating all of your cards?

RobDougherty2 karma

The initial layout of a card, the look of its frame, etc. we have artists and graphic designers do. Randy Delven is one of our graphics wizards who helps make the games look so good.

vitogesualdi1 karma

I don't know if Rob minds me chiming in here, but I did the graphic design for Star Realms. The first few sets were lain out by hand, but we now have an internal program which takes our input (frames, text, icons) and assembles a card.

Sometimes we need to make some manual adjustments after the card comes out of the program to make it perfect (Star Realms has some design rules that can be hard for a program to replicate), but it certainly cuts down on our time.

RobDougherty1 karma

Yes, automation is all well and good, as long as you have a skilled human like Vito to make the cards look awesome in the first place. :)

NDR_151 karma

You said that you we're a premier tournament organizer for Konami? I know that there are based in Japan, so, have you ever been to Japan? If not have you ever been out of the country?

RobDougherty3 karma

I only did events in the USA for Konami, and never went to Japan to meet anyone from that company. I have been to Japan multiple times to play in Magic pro tours and often stayed for extra time to do some sight seeing. I've been also been to Canada, Mexico, all over Europe, to Hawaii and Australia. Mostly for Magic events or promoting my games.

ChikenBBQ1 karma

How did you get into Game design?

I am a Magic player as well and a board game player. Game design is something that is very interesting to me. I've done a lot of reading on it, but I have no training in it (I studied mechanical engineering in college). Do you need training/ education or can you just like fly by the seat of your pants? Do you just like call a publisher/ printer and make a presentation or something?

RobDougherty2 karma

Well, I studied electrical engineering, so no, you don't need a specific education in game design. :)

I tinkered with game design all my life. I decided I wanted to self publish so I started with a modest project, Double Sided Tokens (token cards as a MTG accessory). Through that I learned how to hire and work with artist and graphic designers to create the card art, box and pack images, printers to make them, distributors and game stores to sell them.

KupoAE861 karma

With all the trading cards games available, which one do you like the most? Which one gave you the most fun?

RobDougherty2 karma

Magic is still my favorite TCG. I don't play regularly because of the massive upkeep cost in both time and money to keep current with sets, but occasionally I will cram and then play in a Pro Tour.

HunterLeonux1 karma

Hey Rob, awesome AmA! Quick question: do you keep up with Magic at all these days? Any thoughts on what's going on with the recent design/development of that game, considering recent bannings and such?

RobDougherty1 karma

I haven't kept up recently, I've been too busy making my own games. I'm sure I'll go to a pro tour in the next year or two and have to cram to catch up. I will say you need to a close on the constructed environment in a game like MTG, and while bannings indicate you missed something in your design and development process, sometimes they just need to be done.

NineteenCharactersYo1 karma

Hi Rob Dougherty - I have a question, though it may be too late to ask it now: an acquaintance tried to provide some bug feedback for your iPad version of Star Realms but received a lot of attitude and flack from the representative they spoke with. Would you be against them direct messaging you the feedback?

RobDougherty1 karma

Yes, that would be helpful.

Slurmsmackenzie81 karma

Hi Rob!

What tips do you have for running a successful Kickstarter?

RobDougherty1 karma

Have a way to get the word out. If everything else is awesome but no one knows about it, you will fail.

Make sure you have good visuals (art, graphic design).

Your product should sound compelling.

Get a good video editor for your Kickstarter video.

Remember shipping costs. These can be very high and kill your margins. Charge appropriately for shipping and keep in mind the weight of all your items. Have all rearwards ready at the same time if possible to keep it down to one shipment.

Don't overpromise - Make sure you can deliver on what you promise.

Charnelskye1 karma

Hi! I'm a student in the UK, looking forward to getting into a career based around computing. I'd love to program for games but am not interested in getting a degree at uni.

Would you hire someone without a degree?

Do you yourself have a degree?

Thanks for reading my questions, I'm worried about whether or not I'll be able to get into the career I am passionate about.

RobDougherty3 karma

I was an electrical engineering student at Northeastern University in Boston, but dropped out before completing my degree to open a game store. While this worked out very well for me, I wouldn't recommend it as a carrier path.

Tan Thor Jen, WWG head of digital, hires based on talent and cost. We are concerned with what they can do and if we can afford them.

Amazingly_honest-1 karma


RobDougherty4 karma

The name is a nod to Tolkien, with his wizard "levels" brown, grey and white. No offence was meant to Humans, Orcs, Hobbits, Trolls, Dwarves, Elves or Ents.

ironman82-2 karma

what are youre thoughts on the situation in venezuela?

RobDougherty3 karma

I am afraid I was unaware of situation in Venezuela. One of the draw backs of spending so much time working and having 7 kids.