We spoke to Utku Senyuva about Galactic Rage and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign and there was a lot to talk about.
Can you start by telling us a bit about how you got into tabletop games and what are some of your favourite games?
When I was a kid, we didn’t have PlayStation or deep RPG type games on the PC, and video games were mostly the shoot ’em-up type of games. We only had one tabletop game in our house called “RISK” and my cousins and I were playing it almost every weekend. I loved the challenge, strategy, and conquering. We’d finish the game and start another one immediately. We would play for hours and hours and never get bored.
I am a fan of strategy games. My favourite games are: Twilight Empire, the Game of Thrones board game by Fantasy Flight Games, and Star Wars: Rebellion.
How did you get into designing and making a game?
I was 10-11 years old, and we were playing RISK, but I was always imagining extra features for the game: deeper strategy, different dynamics, more units, etc. They may have been childish dreams, but my first game plans started at that time.
One summer, we went to a pretty boring town for a holiday; it was like a fishing village type of place. My cousins and I were pretty bored there, so the only things we enjoyed were our board games (RISK and a Formula 1 game that I have forgotten the name of) and a small Atari saloon in the village. We were playing our board games but they were getting boring so we then decided to make our own board game. We bought some big cartoon paper and I drew the main map. We prepared small cards and money papers. It was a soccer board game. We created it like a Monopoly type of roll and move game, so the soccer matches were played with dice, chances, we upgraded our stadiums, and tried to make money so we could buy better players. Whoever won the league, would rise to the champions league category and play harder games and have the ability to earn more money. It was a pretty cool game and we played almost every day for two months. It was the first game I created. After that, I was always thinking of game scenarios in my mind, creating characters, planning mechanics. I probably have created more than 10 different games in my mind and hopefully, I will have chance to design all of them one day.
What stage are you at with the game development and/or testing?
The game is ready in my mind and I have the basic drawings on the papers, and I have a notebook that has all the game rules. I am testing the game dynamics with my friends every weekend as well as testing the roll chances and possibilities almost daily. The scenario, planets, characters, races, units, and game mechanics are all ready. The only things I am working on now are game economics and game balance. For example, with Monopoly, when a player buys the expensive areas and builds hotels, that person will win the game in 10-15 turns. However, in my game, even the strongest player must be very careful because anything can change suddenly. I want to create this balance and probably it is the hardest part of my creation. I am working on game balance and my illustrators are drawing the characters, units, and game cards so I am hoping all of the drawings and testing will be finished in July. After that, we will start planning our Kickstarter project.
How is the kickstarter campaign preparation going?
I only want to concentrate on the game mechanics and game illustration on this stage. The most important thing for me is making a great game first so I am not focusing on the campaign very much at this stage. We just started making our website and opening our social media accounts a week ago.
Probably, the real Kickstarter campaign preparation will start late July.
The game sounds really interesting and is something I would be interested in. What can you tell me about the gameplay mechanics?
When the game starts, players don’t have any planets, so they first must do daily quests and raids. Quests and raids have three categories: normal, legendary, and heroic.
You have a greater chance to be successful with normal quests, but you earn less income. You have a lesser chance of success with heroic quests or raids, but success in these endeavours brings priceless rewards. Players do their daily quests and raids until they believe they can invade one of the weakest planets. Weak planets don’t bring you lots of benefits, but you have to start somewhere. Players can attack each other’s planet any time but when the game starts, players’ defense power is stronger than their attack power so if you attack someone very early then you have a very low chance of winning. However, when players start to upgrade, attackers are getting an advantage.
We have six different races and each race has its own units and own Admiral. The Empress declared war against the universe and every race started to prepare for war. The Universe has some key planets. These key planets have unique benefits. One planet has a research lab and it helps to make your upgrades easier, but the research lab had an accident 20 years ago and the planet is full of zombies. Another one has a fuel supply. Whoever has the fuel supplies; he/she can sell fuel to other players through having an auction: whoever pays more will get the fuel and make the owner of the fuel supplier rich. Another planet has a casino; whoever controls this planet owns the casino. Other players can gamble at the casino and can make quick money or lose their money in the casino and make the owner of the casino rich. If the casino owner loses the all of the casino’s money, he/she can lose the planet.
Every war makes the attacker weaker so you should definitely have a strategy for which planets you conquer. What happens if a player loses all of their planets and units? Does the player lose the game? Players never lose the game, they still can do their daily quests and raids, but they just have a very small chance of beating the strong players. However, they can build alliances with stronger players and regain their strength with them.
Players don’t need be at the border to attack other planets, they can fly to any of the planets on the map. Our game map has four different solar systems and each solar system has eight planets. Whoever controls the eight planets in the same system will win the game.
Players will have to join forces to defeat the Empress whilst also fighting each other. That must create an interesting dynamic between players?
The Empress attacks every 30 turns, however, players can stop the Empress attacks. If they don’t stop the attack or if they are unsuccessful to stop her, the Empress will invade a randomly chosen planet. Whoever controls the chosen planet will lose all of the units and ships on the planet. The Empress will take the control of the planet and place her own troops on the planet. Punishment is very harsh so it encourages the players to fight against her. Also, defeating the invasion of the Empress rewards the players. Whoever kills more Empress units on the battlefield will earn an Empress card. Empress cards can change the battle dynamics; they are the most important cards in the game and players should hold them until they really need them.
It looks like upgrades will be a big feature, can you tell us about that and how players will keep track of them?
Each player has two different dashboards, a Unit dashboard and an Admiral dashboard. The Unit dashboard shows the Unit’s attack power and fire back power, whereas the Admiral dashboard shows daily quest, raid, trade, and spy upgrades. Each unit starts with a 30% chance of a successful attack and 30% chance of a successful fire back. For example, if you upgrade your rifle power, you put a game token on your rifle picture. This means you have upgraded and you put the game token on the 40% chance attack power image, making your and other players’ attack chance and fire back chance power visible to everyone.
It is same on the Admiral dashboard. When a player upgrades the trade section on the board, he/she can see trade benefits on the dashboard. Everything is on the players’ dashboards so it is easy to follow the upgrades.
Can you tell me about any Kickstarter reward ideas you are thinking about?
As I mentioned before, I am really not planning the Kickstarter campaign at this stage; right now, I am concentrating on creating a great game. I want people buy my game because it is a good game, not because I have good rewards. We probably will add some rewards but I have to finish the game 100% before I talk about this.
Anything you can tell us about the components and what will be in the box?
We will have a 29 inch x 20 inch board, and a 10 inch x 10 inch battlefield board. Six unit dashboards, six Admiral dashboards, six Admiral miniatures, six unit miniatures, six non-playable race miniatures, three daily quest card decks (normal, legendary, heroic), three raid card decks (normal, legendary, heroic), planet cards, one Empress deck, play money, supply and fuel tokens, game tokens, game pawns, game screens, dice, and a rulebook.
Will you be making or assembling the games yourselves?
I created the world, scenario, characters, races, planets, and everything else in the game. I created the game rules and game mechanics. I describe to my illustrator about my characters and races and she draws them for me. A friend is making the 2D drawings to 3D and then we will create the miniatures.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of getting into game design?
20 years ago it was almost impossible to create a game, publish a book or make your idea real, but everything is possible now. Anyone can make their idea or dream real but it is not that easy. It is really hard work; competition is getting tougher and tougher every day. I don’t have the chance to play every game, but most of them look very pretty, very professional, and are supported with lots of social media power. You might have a very good idea, but you have to make the game look professional. A great idea with an amateur design unfortunately will lead to failure.
To be successful, you must work with professionals, learn how to use social media, learn how to make a website (it is so easy to learn nowadays); and spend money and time.
I really like the art you have shown so far by Braderunner. Will all of the art for the game be done by them?
When I decided to make the board game, I was going crazy trying to find a good illustrator. I sent emails to more than 10 illustrators. One of them asked 1000 Euro for one character and the cheapest one asked $120 USD for one character. If you can’t draw and are planning to make a board game, you should expect these high prices. I hired the cheapest one and our communication was terrible; he never spoke with me and at the end, I just cut my losses and started looking for another illustrator. So this is another warning for someone who is thinking of getting into game design: it is really hard to find a reliable illustrator who charges a reasonable price. Luckily, I met with Maria. She is from Russia, and is very young and talented. She is not creating drawings, she also gives me new ideas, changes my designs, and adds her own style. She is absolutely brilliant and I am so lucky I hired her.
The story seems to be middle ground for people who don’t want too much and others who like a lot with some room to grow the lore. Was that the intention?
I actually love writing stories, creating characters, and thinking about their backgrounds. When I create a character, I first think about the character’s story.
When I first created the website, I added very long descriptions for each race, then I thought it is too much information and people might get bored so I made them shorter.
But I will add some small stories about the characters, some stories about old wars and the history of the races to the website so people who love lore can read and learn more about the Galactic Rage Universe.
Artist – Braderunner @MGrobovsky
All images featured on this page are the property of Utku Senyuva galacticrage.com