March 14, 2011

Warparty - The Hidden Gem at Total Confusion XXV Finale

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Part 1 - Here
Part 2 - Here
Part 3 - Here

Having fought the deciding battle and finding out that it led to my team's victory in my absence, I now had time to think about my experience with Warparty. First and foremost, it was fun! It was balanced, extremely well-polished, and fast paced. I had enjoyed a two hour game session and left wanting to play longer. There were multiple strategies and races that I had yet to experience. The inflation component of the resource and purchase structure was a great way to force action and strategic thinking. I would have liked to experience another one of the races like the Dwarves and tried out the research component or gone dungeon diving with my heroes to see what kinds of treasure I could uncover. Even better, I would have had a massive battle in the middle of the map for the precious +3 resources as the rest of the map is occupied. I left wanting more and now I understood why the guys came back to play again.

Larry was kind enough to allow me a quick interview -

Q: Who are those responsible for helping put together Warparty and what are their roles?
Larry: I am the lead designer of Warparty, Hal Von Hofe has also played a significant role in the development of the game. Artwork was done by Gary Blauvelt. Chris Orszak, Jon Martel and Pete Chase have also made contributions to the developement of the Warparty. In addition we have a long list of playtesters.

Q: How long has this game been in development?
L: We started playing Warparty about 12 years ago, but never really thought about trying to make it a game beyond what we would play in our gaming group until about 5 years ago. Once we started trying to develop Warparty for retail production we sought a broader base of playtesters by going to gaming clubs and conventions. We attended WBC in 2008 and 2009 and got a lot of feedback on the game. We made adjustments to it each time based on the feedback and we knew we were getting closer and closer to a finished game. More then half our the folks at WBC that playtested Warparty came back to play it more then once. We even had a number of folks play it 3 or more times. We felt this was a really good sign and it inspired to keep going through many iterations of the game, until we felt that we had what we were looking for.

Q: What is your target audience?
L: Our target audience is ages 14+ that enjoy either War games or Fantasy games, or both. That is not to say that younger players wouldn't enjoy Warparty, but the game does seem to play better for a slightly older audience.

Q: How long does it take to complete a game of Warparty?
L: Warparty can be played by experienced players in 2 to 2 1/2 hours usually. For new players it might take as long as 3 hours or even a little bit longer on the first game to get the hang of it.

Q: What was your inspiration for Warparty?
L: I have always been a huge fan of fantasy. I started playing D&D at the age of 9 and really loved it. I've also enjoyed some of Steve Jackson's games over the years, such as OGRE and GEV. I have in the past enjoyed computer games such as Civilization, Warcraft II, World of Warcraft and Starcraft. It wasn't until I played Axis and Allies the first time that I thought, "How cool would it be to use a similar game mechanic with a fantasy setting" and "how about if we added some of the city building and technology trees from games like Civilization"? I'd like to think I took some of the best elements from some of those games I have played in the past and brought them together in Warparty.

Q: How is Warparty unique?
L: I can't really claim that it is unique, especially with so many games out there. I haven't personally played anything like it, but I'm sure there are games with similarities. There are so many historical wargames out there. I think the realm of fantasy wargames is much less crowded. Warparty is about long term strategy that can and often should start from your very first turn, but should be adaptable to what both your enemies and ally are doing. It is tactical on a turn by turn basis. It can be a little mathmatical in that if you can assess the strength of your troops vs. those of your enemies you will know when to choose your battles to give you the advantage. The city building, area control, economy, technology development, army building, heroes and dungeons all make Warparty what it is.

Q: What is your goal with Warparty?
L: To break even, lol. No, I'm serious actually. I have spent a lot in development, proto-types, conventions, and artwork over the years. In the end it is has been a huge passion of mine to see it get to this point. The day it went up on P500 with locknloadgames was one of the happiest days of my life.

Q: If Warparty is published and successful, where do you see the IP in the next 3-5 years?
L: At one point over the last decade Warparty had reached a fairly large scale. We played with 6 players on a ping pong table, with literally hundreds of different units and 8 different armies to choose from. We have since scaled it back considerabley to make it available in it's present form. In essense all the expansions or at least the ideas behind them have already been created.
We have a lot of ideas, such as introducing a new unit for the Undead, "The Changling". An expensive unit that can take over a basic enemy infantry unit anywhere on the board. We had that unit included in the inital release, but we found that it was a real put off for new players when it was used against them. By the same token, veteran players loved it. That is one example of many, in terms of what to look forward to in the future.

Q: Where can readers go to pre-order a copy of Warparty?
Warparty is available at the Lock 'N Load website. There is a $30 discount off the retail price for pre-order and all though it is not currently adverstised yet on locknload, I will be putting together a 12 page strategy guide for all pre-orders.

At Warparty

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at March 14, 2011 8:28 PM

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