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Friday, November 30, 2012

New Zealand Trip Diary: Part 5

Playtesting Caveman vs Mammoth. 
I spent a large portion of Day 5 with Pete Simunovich, part owner and founder of Battlefront.  He had business at an Olive Estate, and so invited me to drive out with him.  We talked for a long time about the inception of Battlefront, how it's grown, and where it's going.  We recorded the conversation so I won't try to paraphrase much, but again his passion for gaming is evident.  One recurring theme coming from everyone at Battlefront and Pete especially is "We're gamers, and so we want to treat our customers the way we as gamers want to be treated".

One of the major topics of discussion was Vietnam.  We spent a lot of time without the tape rolling talking about 'nam and it was hard not to hum "Flight of the Valkyries".  One of the big questions I had was about the financial success of 'nam.  It hasn't really taken off in my area, but aparrently it's been very successful on the whole.  Pete reinforces success, and so 'nam wouldn't be a focus if it weren't successful.  The audio interview containing a lot more will appear soon in a podcast!

Olive Estate
Taking a quick break!
Earlier in the day, I had the opportunity to speak to Maria who is one of Battlefront's main print brokers.  She's overseen book printing from day one, and used to be involved in box printing as well, though that is largely handled in house in Malaysia now.  She walked me through the overall process quite thoroughly, and explained some of the challenges particularly around the larger, non-hardback books.  We talked about the binding issues customers have, and she explained why it can occur.  She also informed me that Battlefront moved their book binding to china largely because New Zealand simply lacked the ability to offer the best binding processes available.
A little airplane action

Because we as wargamers tend to lay books flat, the glue can crack and separate.  I asked about spiral binding, and Battlefront has no intention of moving to spiral binding largely due to the poorer presentation.  Imagining all of your briefings spiral bound on your bookshelf is a compelling argument against it, despite the utility.  As with most things, it's a tricky issue and one that's certainly being monitored closely.  As an aside, if you have issues with your books, make sure to let BF customer service know!
Mike and Wayne play Saga

The day ended with a very late night gaming session.  Mike and Wayne played Saga (Jomsvikings are broken!!!!!!1ONE), while Phil introduced Sean and I to his airplane game which he debuted at Flamescon.  Please understand that at this time the airplane game is one of Phil's pet projects and whether it ever sees the light of day for a general release is entirely up in the air.  The mechanics were sound, and utilized the same motivation/training ratings of Flames of War.  Interestingly it still used an IGOUGO approach to airplanes, which worked better than I expected.  It was a lot of fun, played very quickly, and felt about right.

Later in the evening we played Mike's excellent Cave man vs Mammoth.  This was an absolute blast!  Evan and I were "smart cavemen" while Wayne and Sean were "strong".  I got an Evolution card fairly early that allowed me to forage rather effectively, and so I won the game by keeping to myself and foraging for food.  The rest of the cavemen squabbled amongst themselves and focused on bringing down the Mammoths.  I went on to employ them as my personal body guards and thus civilization was born.  The game really is quite fun, and I think it has a promising future!
More Olive Estate

Spitfires and FW190s


More planes


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