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Q & A with Cynthia Celeste Miller, President of Spectrum Games and Designer of Urban Manhunt

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12 Feb 2019 01:23 #292113 by Michael Barnes
Thanks for taking the time to do this Cynthia- I’ve not played any of your games but I am certainly interested.

One thing I really like about what you are doing at Spectrum is bringing back this kind of “lo fi” gaming- it is very much the kind of gaming we used to do back before multimillion dollar Kickstarters. Looking at some of the pages in Urban Manhunt, I’m transported back to middle school, flipping through an RPG or miniatures rulebook with black and white illustrations.

One thing I really miss about that kind of gaming is how you had to really get invested in it- you might have to cut out your own counters, color your own dice, or draw a map. Now, gamers today want the one stop box with everything in it. But you never really get that sense of engaging deeply with most board games today. It’s a more prepackaged, “convenience” experience, miniature games and RPGs notwithstanding.

What are your thoughts on creating a sense of engagement, ownership of play, and hobby commitment? Do you feel like older styles and formats created more of all of the above, and do you think that a design like Urban Manhunt is a way to bridge that generation gap?
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12 Feb 2019 13:58 #292123 by CynthiaCM

Michael Barnes wrote: Thanks for taking the time to do this Cynthia- I’ve not played any of your games but I am certainly interested.

One thing I really like about what you are doing at Spectrum is bringing back this kind of “lo fi” gaming- it is very much the kind of gaming we used to do back before multimillion dollar Kickstarters. Looking at some of the pages in Urban Manhunt, I’m transported back to middle school, flipping through an RPG or miniatures rulebook with black and white illustrations.

One thing I really miss about that kind of gaming is how you had to really get invested in it- you might have to cut out your own counters, color your own dice, or draw a map. Now, gamers today want the one stop box with everything in it. But you never really get that sense of engaging deeply with most board games today. It’s a more prepackaged, “convenience” experience, miniature games and RPGs notwithstanding.

What are your thoughts on creating a sense of engagement, ownership of play, and hobby commitment? Do you feel like older styles and formats created more of all of the above, and do you think that a design like Urban Manhunt is a way to bridge that generation gap?


Thank you. I'm happy that you like what we're doing. Visually speaking, I wanted Urban Manhunt to give me the same feeling that I got when I cracked open the original edition of Warhammer 40,000. That book pulled me into the setting with the presentation alone and that's what I wanted with this rulebook. I wanted the reader to open it up and, without reading a word, be transported to this alternate future world. Most of our games are full-color, but I went with black and white for two reasons: 1) to facilitate that old school vibe and 2) to keep our overhead down so that we could deliver on our goal of making it a truly affordable miniatures game, while still maintaining enough profit to keep the line sustainable for us.

As for your question, I see benefits to both the "complete box" approach and the "do it yourself' approach. That's why for Urban Manhunt, we're making it possible to accommodate both approaches. You can purchase the book, print out the cards, cut out the tokens and have a more intimate experience with that aspect. For those who prefer the pre-packaged approach, we're making the cards available as professionally produced products (the Event cards already are available), as well as 6x6" dataslates for the 12 "iconic" hunters from the rulebook, 3D-printable tokens and so forth.

Regarding Urban Manhunt acting as a bridge to the generation gap, I sure hope so. Aesthetically speaking, the game is very much "the future as seen through the lens of 1987", yet the game system has a very modern feel to it. I'm hoping that it resonates with the old guard as well as the younger set, bringing them together to play with plastic models at a table. But, hey, I'm an optimist.
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