Imp House Game Company; Chaos of Cthulu
We had a chance to have an interview with Travis Watkins of Imp House Game Company. They have been working on Chaos of Cthulu, which has a kickstarter available here. Travis is the owner and designer. Find their game at Boardgamegeek.
- What IS Imp House?
We’re a a new on the scene (3 year old) indie board game studio, with plans to be a much older and more prestigious game studio in the future.
- How did the name come to be?
Before we started making games, some of us worked for a collectible figure company (and some of us still do) creating disruptive social media. You know; the kind of stuff you find online to make a boring work day a little better. Things like internet videos, contests, picture galleries, and games. Because we were always having fun, combined with the nature of the content we were making, some people thought we were up to no good. We were titled Mischief Makers by our family and friends. So when we set out on our own, we ran with the idea and came up with the name Imp House. We’re a house of impish mischief makers. It sounded like a good name for a game studio to us.
- Can you walk us through how you develop a game?
We’re storytellers at heart, so usually our inspiration comes from a wacky idea for a movie or comic we’d like to see. Once we have an idea that sticks, we start thinking about how that might translate into a game. From there we prototype and playtest. And we do those two steps over and over and over…and over and over and over…
- Chaos of Chtulu is getting some great reception; where did the game stem from?
It came from a conversation we had about “That 70s Show.” Someone asked, “What if Foreman brought out a Necronomicon one day while they were all hanging out in the basement?” Kind of like Evil Dead meets The Goonies. Teenagers find an evil book, then meddle with things they shouldn’t. It seemed like a fun concept to us, and it appears that some people agree with us.
- The artwork has a familiar look we can all say we’ve seen done, and always delivers a very satisfying aesthetic; so, why the Lovecraftian mythos?
We love monsters, and no one does monsters as well as Lovecraft does monsters! Some of the best descriptions of eldritch abominations are contained within his tomes. As for the art, once we had our wacky concept of a damaged Necronomicon that summons mix-matched monsters, we knew we couldn’t go with the style that many Lovecraft games often use. That old-timey Victorian painterly setting just wouldn’t feel right. It would be too serious and not capture the spirit of the game. So we chose to set Chaos of Cthulhu in a contemporary comic book world that focuses on a more campy kind of horror, instead of unfathomable dread.
- What influenced the mechanics used for your project?
Darth Rimmer (game designer and part of the Imp House team) came up with the idea for the mix-and-match monster mechanic while he was playing with his nieces. They had one of those block puzzles, the ones that have 6 different puzzles made up of 9 printed blocks. You have to turn the cubes in order to match up the pictures. So I guess we can thank Melissa and Doug (the toy company) for the inspiration.
- Any mechanics, themes, or ideas scrapped from the development of Chaos of Cthulu?
The original version of the game had each player battling to the death. Once you damaged a body part of a monster enough, it lost that part. So it was player elimination. Although it was extremely satisfying to mame and kill your opponents, it didn’t keep all the players engaged throughout the game. It created down time for some. So while trying to address that issue, we came up with the match to win victory scenario. It was during those playtest sessions that we got rid of the dice elimination and put the focus on matching. It really brought the game together and made it more inviting to all gamers. It put the focus on developing a strategy, and then adapting it as the game progressed. Instead of just trying to be the one to deal out the most damage or turtling yourself away.
- How long has your game been in development?
We’ve been working on it for about a year, give or a take a couple months.
- How has the journey been as Imp House and what can we expect to see in the future?
We released a card game called Armageddon Preppin: The Doomsday Readiness Game back in 2013, which is currently available on Amazon. It was a great game to help hone our skills; while definitely not perfect, it’s a lot of fun, and we learned a lot making it. We currently have several concepts in development, and two other games that are in the playtesting stage. One is a card game that’s set in a popular toy designer’s universe. I can’t say who it is just yet, but we’re hoping to start sending out playtest copies of the game in the next few months. The other game is a 1-4 player co-op miniatures board-building game called Night of the Saucers. I like to describe it using movies: it’s like “Red Dawn” meets “Independence Day” with a bit of “The Breakfast Club” thrown in. You play as a gang of high school students stuck in detention, when aliens attack and take over the city. It’s up to the students to take the city back. We’re hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign for that one in early 2016. If either of those sound interesting, I suggest signing up for our newsletter via ImpHouse.com or joining our Facebook group. We’ll be sending out the call for additional playtesters and reviewers soon!
- What are you favorite games?
The ones I get to play next.
- Least favorite?
Games that use meeples. I’m not a big fan of meeples.
- A little more trickier, what would you consider a success for Imp House?
The first step to success for us will be when Chaos of Cthulhu funds on Kickstarter. When we do that, then we’ll get to make another game. And so forth, and so on. It’s a step-by-step process.
- What goals do you have as a game designer?
My goal as a designer is to create settings and opportunities for people to have moments of awesome. There is nothing more rewarding than having someone buy your game, then later have them reach out to you to tell you they had a great time playing it.
- Describe Chaos of Cthulu in 5 words? (Difficulty level) these 5 words should provide a first time player an idea of what to expect in the game.
Strategically Chaotic Lovecraftian Dice Battle