Dungeon Run: Interview with Colby Dauch

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dungeon_run11Thought you guys would appreciate reading this - Colby Dauch, the guy who wears the Plaid Hat, took some time to share his thoughts with MenWithDice about Dungeon Run.  Colby has been around the gaming community for years, first as the man behind heroscapers.com, the primary Heroscape internet community, and then as a game designer in his own right.  Colby's credits include a number of the later Heroscape expansion sets as well as the phenomenally successful Summoner Wars, the game on which Plaid Hat was launched.  With Dungeon Run, Plaid Hat breaks new ground, entering into the full-size game format for the first time.

MWD: This is shaping up to be an exciting summer for Plaid Hat games. You generated a lot of buzz with the Summoner Wars boxed set, and now Dungeon Run has become one of the most talked about releases of the summer practically overnight. How do you feel about your current niche in the hobby gaming world?

CD: I feel like we are still the little guy, but I think we are moving into a new season in the life of Plaid Hat Games. The success of Summoner Wars has made way for more games and with a focus on quality and the customer. I hope to continue that success and to have it lead the way for even more.

MWD: Dungeon Run represents a few new steps for Plaid Hat. What challenges did you face in publishing a game that someone else had designed? Anything that you found particularly exciting?

CD: Mr. Bistro is a good friend of mine. He’s helped out with Summoner Wars for awhile now and I was glad to have the opportunity to help him bring out his first published game. The challenges are pretty much the same as publishing my own, only a little less work being done directly by me. I’m in charge of approving and helping along final game design, but Bistro and Chris Dupuis (a good friend and excellent editor that I hire to help with these projects) are the ones in the trenches right now finalizing everything. And of course the game design as whole is all Bistro.

MWD: What was it about Dungeon Run that made you take notice? What made this a great fit for Plaid Hat?

CD: Mr. Bistro. Like I said, he’s a good friend of mine. I knew he has been playing around with game design for years, so I started soliciting designs from him. He showed me a couple that weren’t really what I was after and then he showed me Dungeon Run. I felt like there was a lot still be done with it to take it beyond a print and play type game to a full scale release, but some of the core mechanics were there and interesting, and I had confidence in Bistro that he could take it to the next level. We brainstormed a bit and headed the game in a new greater direction. I’m happy with where it is at now. I think those who have played the print and play game will recognize pieces of it, but they’ll see what a ton of hard work can do to a game design.

MWD: The minis for this game look fantastic. What was it like moving into this new area for Plaid Hat? Anything you learned or any challenges that you encountered?

CD: Expensive and time consuming (time to have them sculpted and time to mold). But seeing the end result is very satisfying.

MWD: Tell us, if you would, about the decision to move from solitaire to multiplayer – anything that you can share about the design process around that decision?

CD: We’ve still kept some rules for a solitaire experience, but the focus is definitely on the multiplayer now. We are fans of player interaction and I think we are putting out a game loaded with it. Publishing a solitaire only board game is not something I’m very interested in. I feel like at its heart board games are about people getting together. But I’m definitely happy we included the solo option, as I know there are fans of that out there.

MWD: Dungeon Run is now the second game to take place in Itharia. Will we get to see more of the story behind the world in this game? Any plans for additional releases set in Itharia?

CD: You will see a little more of the world of Itharia through some of the flavor text we’ve included in the game. I don’t plan to have every game set in Itharia, but I wouldn’t rule out the potential to visit it with another system in the future.

MWD: You have to feel pretty good about what you’ve accomplished in the last year and a half. What’s next for Plaid Hat? Anything you can share?

CD: Yeah, I am feeling great to see the first reactions to something we’ve been working on for awhile. Next up is more full-sized games. We’ve got a full-scale adventure game that is nearing completion. I hope to release around November. And we’ve got a Sci-Fi game that we’ve only just begun work on but is already shaping up to be a real winner.

MWD: Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Best of luck in your coming endeavors!

In our next interview, we’ll hear from Mr. Bistro, the designer of Dungeon Run, on the nuts and bolts of what makes this game tick and what we can expect out of the box.

ScottB is a member of Fortress: Ameritrash, a passionate gamer, and a blogger on MenWithDice.com. Check it out.

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