Interview mit Marco Vala und André Pereira

Bereits in diesem Artikel habe ich um Aufmerksamkeit für ein interessantes Fußballprojekt geworben. Die Kampagne braucht zwar noch ein oder zwei Unterstützer, aber auch bei einem möglichen Misserfolg ist das Projekt, laut dem Verlag, noch nicht gestorben.
Dennoch eine gute Möglichkeit mal wieder das alte Mikrofon aus der Blogkiste zu kramen und den Jungs hinter dem Projekt die ein oder andere investigative Frage zu stellen.

"Rollplay Football" is right now live on indiegogo. The campaign still needs some more supporters. Tell us about the game. It is your chance to get more backers now. Why should we pledge for "Rollplay Football"?
We are big fans of both football and boardgames, and we don't know any boardgame that really captures the essence of football. "Rollplay Football" is what a board game about football should be! It captures the theme, the tactics, the differences between players, the movements in the pitch, and has that bit of luck that sometimes is so decisive in real matches. I think we have a game that really feels like you are playing soccer/football!
Give us some idea about the development of "Rollplay Football". How long did it take from the first idea to the final campaign?
The first idea goes back to 2011. Initially we thought of doing a "football manager" kind of game. But at some point we struggled on how we could quickly simulate a match of football. We wanted players to have individual skills that had influence in the match, like in real life. We created several prototypes with different mechanics and, at some point, we realized that the match simulation was a game on its own and it was fun to play! It took us almost 2 years to refine all the ideas and simplify the mechanics. It wasn’t a continuous development, as we have full time jobs. We did it on our spare time. During this time we had the game tested by several play testers. Around the end of 2013 the game was ready in terms of concept, and we started to work on the graphical design and illustrations. Our goal was to release the game before the World Cup in Brazil and we begun to look for partnerships that would allow us to distribute the game across Europe. It turned out to be quite difficult to do that, as most publishers/distributers have very tight agendas and are not willing to bet in unknown authors like we are. So the project was a little bit on hold until we decided to advance for a international crowdfunding this year.
Tabletip Games is fairly new to the boardgame market. Who is Tabletip Games and what kind of games can we expect from your company?
The Tabletip Games project started in 2012. We are a group of friends that had a couple of game ideas and didn’t know anything about publishing a boardgame. What we had was a big enthusiasm about boardgames (all of us are regular players), and the will to make it happen! Our first project was a game called “Vem aí a Troika!”, in English “Here comes the Troika!”. It is a satyrical card game about the economical crisis in Portugal and the political environment that led to it. We did a crowdfunding in a portuguese platform and the first print was a success that quickly sold out. In 2013 we did adaptations for Spain and Greece (with local partners) and a reprint of the portuguese edition. In 2014 we did an expansion for the portuguese game. Rollplay Football is our second project and the first to target a more broad market. The portuguese market is fairly small and we want to grow to reach other markets. We also have more ideas in development for the upcoming years. From Tabletip Games you can expect clever games that gather different generations around a table. We want to keep turning our ideas into games, but also help other authors to do the same.
"Rollplay Football" is obviously a soccer game. Most of the boardgames were unable to catch the pace and the tension of a soccer match and put it into a boardgame. Why did "Rollplay Football" succeed in this?
We are also unhappy with soccer boardgames. We played several and it didn’t feel like you are playing soccer. To us, soccer is all about the players: how they move in the pitch, how they move the ball between them, how they risk dribbling past an opponent or decide when they are in a good spot for attempting a shot. All of those actions should take into account the individual skills of each player, adding a little bit of luck to make things more emotive. In “Rollplay Football” we tried to capture as much as we could from that. A player that is a good dribbler has a very high probability of going past a weak defender. Game players can unfold their play to explore such opportunities. It’s a fast paced, dynamic game, and judging by the comments of our playtesters, we nailed it!
Were there at any time any copyright issues because of the likenesses of the player-cards?
Our illustrator does regular work for sports newspapers and original artwork doesn’t do any copyright infringement. The players depicted in the game are fictional players which don’t have anything to do with real players. (Coff… Coff…)
Why did you choose indiegogo as a crowdfunding platform to promote "Rollplay Football" and not the more popular Kickstarter? What were the ideas behind this decision?
It is our first crowdfunding using an international platform. Although Kickstarter is much more popular, since we are based in Portugal, we would have to face some bureaucracy or have a gateway company to start the campaign. We looked at Indiegogo as simpler alternative. We were aware that the success rate isn’t as good, but we decided to give it a try. We will evaluate the experience at the end of the campaign.
In your opinion, what are the advantages and risks of crowdfunding in general?
We see more advantages than risks. It is a good way to promote an idea and to get some pre-sales that will jump start the project. You also get a way of reaching people outside your traditional distribution channels. The biggest difficulty is to create awareness about your project. People will only support your idea if they have heard about it. You expect your backers to help you spread the idea, but it can happen or not. We were lucky with “Troika” because the crowdfunding led to some media attention. There were news about the game in the portuguese newspapers and even on TV, which were a huge catalyser for the entire project. The biggest risk in crowdfunding is that it can kill your idea. You can do a crowdfunding just to find out that people are not interested in your project. You invest time, some money, some hope, and it doesn’t go anywhere. It sucks, but that’s how things work.
Just in case "Rollplay Football" wont make it via crowdfunding. Can people expect a small print run to be published anyway?
We are still considering our options. Doing a new crowdfunding campaign in Kickstarter is an open possibility, because we think it can be different there. We might also consider a small print run if it is cost effective. In our short experience, we learned that less than 1000 copies doesn’t pay out, as the retail price goes sky-high. It is always a very delicate balance between what we are able to invest and what is a reasonable price for the final customer. But we will do everything to see “Rollplay Football” out there!
Thanks to André and Marco for answering my questions!