My first experiences with table top gaming was my dad taking time out of his busy schedule to play one game before bed. As I got older, gaming became something my friends and I would do weekly. So gaming to me has always been about family and friends. That is why when I came across Ravensdale Publishing, Inc at Comic-Con, a married couple developing games together, I just had to stop and talk. Sadly for me but luckily for them, their table was never empty as many flocked to check out what their newest game, Villains & Henchmen!, was all about. However, I wasn’t going to let this amazing duo go without a fight, so I reached our to creators Ben and Sarah Ravensdale for a chance to meet up and talk games.
Villains & Henchmen! is still waiting for them to finish the final touches before they can bring it to the public, starting with their Kickstarter campaign. Getting a chance to sit down and play the game was amazing. I loved how much thought went into the cards as well as the duo working together to make a game that is fitted for everyone. It is no secret that games in the table top world tend to fall one way or the other on the gender scale. For example Love Letter and Gloom are very more female based, while games like DND and King of Tokyo might fall more on the guy side. Even though this happens a lot, it doesn’t mean there are not some awesome girls who slay it at male dominate games and vise versa. But with that said, Ravensdale Publishing, Inc has a leg up on the competition by working together to create a game that caters to all sides of the spectrum.
Ben is an avid gamer who has been immersed in the community since he was 8 years old, playing DND with his parents. Ben has a firm understanding of the complexity that goes into games. While Sarah didn’t really get into gaming until University and understands how some complex rules can be confusing and overbearing. The two together, have combined their talents and passions to create a game that hasn’t been seen before. Oddly enough, it all started coming together during a vacation to the Virgin Islands.
A few months before their trip, Ben had come across Heroes of Metro City and with the idea of creating your own hero he bought the game on a whim. Sadly, its was more of a deck builder then he wanted. Having been in the Dungeon and Dragon’s world for most of his life, he missed having the aspect of really creating your character as you see fit. Ideas were bounced around as the game finished. They talked about how it could have been done better, but like most ideas we throw around it was shelved for another time. That was until they packed up their bags and headed to the beautiful Virgin Islands. I couldn’t believe when they told me that some of their days were spent in the hotel, just writing away in their notebook as ideas easily came to them.
The concept was finished before they left, leaving them to make a few adjustments as they started to test the game out among friends. As Ben and Sarah explained how easy it was for them to work together through communication and mutual understanding, they did touch on the troubles that come with being self published game developers.
“There are a lot of hidden costs”, Ben explained. Sarah broke down all the steps they had to take just to open the door to getting their game worked on and ended with, “You must have capital to even get started.” (This is even before getting help on Kickstarter)
One of the major costs is that of commissioning artists. Ben touched on the subject of trading publicity for work and how he understands it, but would rather offer something more to the people he works with then just their name on a product. They gushed over how lucky they have been with finding people interested in helping. Including talking about meeting their graphic designer during play testing of their game. They beamed about how excited they are about everyone who is helping with the project and how they really have helped make the process easier, including cutting their art costs in half. All their comments about the artists really made it harder to wait til the final product is done.
Villains & Henchmen! takes place after heroes have captured the leading Villain, leaving the henchmen to come up with a plan to save their leader. During the game you are battling Guards and Heroes as well as coming up against obstacles. As you work your way through the game, you are able to buy powers that help create a one of a kind hero to your imagination.
I know they talked about how they are not in it to be rich, but I see this game going places. Not to mention, it never hurts that they are already working on long term plans by toying with expansion packs already. Villains & Henchmen! is an exciting new game that sets the bar for new table top games extremely high. Not only do I see them having a hit on their hands, but I can’t fathom the agony I will be feeling until I have this game in my possession to play on a regular basis. Show them some love and pop on over to their Facebook page, Villains & Henchmen! to keep updated on the latest information.