A Titanic Talk with Matthew Duhan of Gozer Games

Dice Hate Me and Go Forth and Game have joined forces to bring you some of the best gaming interviews on the web! That’s right, from time to time here on Dice Hate Me, Tom Gurganus will contribute one of his comprehensive conversations. In this interview, Tom sits down for a chat with Matthew Duhan of Gozer Games to discuss the current Kickstarter project, Titans of Industry. Enjoy the interview and be sure to let us know if there are other designers, artists or gaming insiders that you would like to know more about!

Tom: Welcome to Go Forth And Game again Matthew. Before we get to far into this remind us about your company Gozer Games.
Matthew: Gozer Games was founded in 2007 with the idea that games should be funny as well as fun. We have produced several titles. The most recent, Vampire Werewolf Fairies, won the 2011 Gaming Genius awards for Best Non-Collectible Card Game.

Tom: Now for your newest game, Titans of Industry.  Tell us all about it, what is it about, how do you play?
Matthew: Titans of Industry is a worker placement Eurogame set in the 1920s. I think that the setting and style are pretty unique for a game of this kind. You are trying, in 7 turns (years), to gain the most victory points, by buying factories and businesses and using them to produce and sell goods. It has a rich interaction, and builds upon itself rather well.

Tom: I’ve read Brian Lewis’ designer’s diary on BGG.  Tell me about how you got involved from your perspective.
Matthew: Brian summed it up very well. I had been wandering the open gaming room hoping to find a few potential games to consider licensing. I didn’t expect to find one which clicked so well on the first night! I met Brian and two other game designers at the same table, all showing their prototypes. The way Brian was describing the interaction and gameplay sounded like the kind of tight Eurogame that I was seeking. Even with the basic graphics (seen in his designer diary) I could tell that it was a well put together game. As a side note, the other contender I saw that night was Manhattan Project, which got picked up by Minion Games.

Tom: Did anything change from when you first saw it to final product?
Matthew: Quite a bit changed from what I first saw at Origins. Brian and I have collaborated together to make what I think is a stronger, tighter game. As Brian mentioned in his designer diary, originally the game had an auction mechanic, which slowed the game down more than it added to the experience. There was also originally a fourth deck of cards, For Sale cards, which could give additional VP bonuses. I decided to remove these to focus on the core game, but plan to offer it as a Kickstarter bonus (as part of a 6-player expansion). One of the most amusing changes, in my opinion, are the goods. Originally the goods were different, and after several playtests where people commented that a Factory that produced both steel and food might have some OSHA issues, I decided to change the goods to reflect the core theme of building and growth found in the game, making all the goods building materials.

Tom: This is a pretty big step for Gozer Games, picking up another designer’s game. What was there about ToI that made you take that leap?
Matthew: After having produced two light card games, I felt that it was time for Gozer Games to “grow up” so to speak, and to get into more serious Eurogames, since that’s where my interest lies. Recent games like 7 Wonders has showed that there can be solid Eurogames that aren’t “heavy” and that’s what I wanted to add to Gozer Games. It seemed a logical next step to look to license another designer’s game who maybe didn’t have the desire to handle all the other aspects of a game company, such as advertising, distribution, conventions, etc.

Tom: Why are you Kickstarting it?  What are some of your supporter rewards and stretch goal bonuses?
Matthew: Frankly, we’re Kickstarting it because we have to. I estimate that it will cost roughly $40,000 to produce the games, ship them, pass customs and inspections, pay for the artists, pay licensing and legal costs, etc. and that is not money which Gozer Games has on hand. Kickstarter is a great way to measure that risk and also gauge interest in the game. I love it, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will.

Here are some of the rewards that we have planned for Kickstarter backers:

  • A copy of our previous games
  • As mentioned before, the 6-player expansion including unique For Sale card deck
  • Custom translucent meeples in all player colors for use as the Temp worker (my personal favorite)
  • Custom player mats for all players (a Kickstarter exclusive)

Tom: What is unique about Titans of Industry?
Matthew: Titans of Industry doesn’t introduce many new concepts, but what it does is take known game mechanics and present them in a unique way. The concept of using Factories that only an single worker can use, but having a benefit of having multiple workers/players use a Business makes for a dynamic unique game experience that addresses the issue of “multi-player solitaire” found in some other games. The theme and deco style are also not commonly found.

A Monkey teaching Titans of Industry.

Tom: I like the art deco style.  Tell me a little about the artist and how you joined forces.
Matthew: We are actually using several artists for this game, and utilizing their skills and strengths to produce a unified theme. Several artists and graphic designers worked together to create the board and logo/box art that you may have already seen online.

Tom: Have you had any problems with the game?
Matthew: So far, our biggest challenge has been raising the funds on Kickstarter and spreading the word about this game. There have not yet been problems with the design of the game, or the way it has been coming together.

Tom: Who is manufacturing/producing the game?
Matthew: We are planning to use Panda Manufacturing, who have produced other quality games such as Pandemic and Alien Frontiers. We have been working closely with them throughout the process, well before launching the Kickstarter campaign, so that things will be in a good state if we fund.

Tom: When do you hope it will be released to Kickstarter supporters?
Matthew: If all goes well, we plan to have the game available first to Kickstarter supporters in September, 2012.

Tom: What is next for you?  What else is in the queue?
Matthew: Gozer Games has a few things in the pipeline, but I don’t want to reveal yet what’s next for us.

Tom: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
Matthew: I’d like to thank all of our Kickstarter supporters, and ask people to please help spread the word about this great game. Kickstarter is a great platform for helping projects like this get made, which otherwise couldn’t be, and I look forward to seeing how it develops in the future.

Tom: It was awesome talking to you again Matthew.
Matthew: My pleasure! Please check out the Titans of Industry Kickstarter pages. Please consider supporting too.

And visit the Gozer Games website: http://www.gozergames.com


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  2. The State of Games, Episode 25 – The One About Game Design
  3. The State of Games, Episode 27 – The Short One About PAX East 2012
  4. The State of Games, Episode 10 – The One About Origins
  5. The State of Games, Episode 23 – The One About the Unpublished Masses
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