1 To start, a question we always ask, are you a gamer yourself? And if so what are your favourite games and how did your entry to the hobby begin.
If I remember correctly, I brought my first Dungeons & Dragons ‘red box’ home from a yard sale when I was about 8 years old. I’ve pretty much been hooked on games since then. During college, I virtually lived in the local gaming store, and I played just about every RPG, wargame, card game and board game that came out at the time. Since I moved to the UK about ten years ago, I haven’t really role-played, but I paint loads of miniatures and try to get in a wargame as often as I can.
2. What was the driving idea behind the creation of Frostgrave?
Basically, I wanted a reason to use the hundreds of fantasy figures I had collected over the years. I had boxes of them gathering dust in the closet, but I had never found a wargame that really let me use them like I wanted to. Especially wizards, I have so many wizards, but they are rarely called upon in most games. So, I decided.....
to write my own game that would be a fun fantasy, skirmish, with lots of wizards and lots of monsters that would have the ability to accommodate almost any figure.
3. Has the level of interest and excitement around Frostgrave surprised you?
Completely. When I was first commissioned to write Frostgrave, I envisioned a much smaller game. Then Osprey decided to make a bigger production of it; North Star got on board; super talented artists and sculptors were brought in... In the months since release the game has sold out twice, and I have been commissioned to write even more material for it. It’s been crazy, but it’s been fun. It’s just great to see so many people having fun with something I created.
4. How long did it take from inception to you seeing it in print?
It was probably about eighteen months from submitting my proposal to holding a printed book in my hands. Most of that time was playtesting, editing, and waiting.
5. What were your greatest hopes and fears when you had the final book in your hands?
I just wanted people to play the game. Not necessarily a huge number, but just a small community that really enjoyed it. I think my biggest fear was that after all of the time, effort, and creative-energy I had devoted to it, that it would just be completely ignored. It seems a silly fear now, but a lot of games never get anywhere, because, for whatever reason, they just hit at the wrong time, or never quite get the attention they deserve.
6. What was the hardest part to decide when writing it? A rule that had you stumped on how you would portray it?
Thankfully, most of the game seemed to be already in my head when I sat down to write it. The hardest part was probably coming up with 80 spells that were all interesting and distinct and trying to figure out all the different ways they could be used or used in conjunction with other spells. A few months of gaming has already proved that I fell well short of thinking up all of the uses!
7. What is in the future for Frostgrave in the way or printed material?
There is more coming! The first supplement Thaw of the Lich Lord is coming out in November and Into the Breeding Pits will be out next July. There is also talk of a few mini-ebooks in-between. For those that just can’t wait, the mini-campaign, The Hunt for the Golem, which was originally given away as part of a pre-order campaign is now available to buy on Wargames Vault. (http://bit.ly/1L5RBns)
8. Do you have your favourite school for your wizard?
I have a soft-spot for the Illusionist, who I think is really powerful, just not in any kind of obvious way. Really though, for sheer chaotic joy it has to be the summoner – there is something about accidently summoning a hostile major demon that sums up what makes the game fun to me.
9. Is there anything in retrospect you wish you could add to the game or change?
There are loads of little things I would change or do differently, or that I have changed my mind about since it went to print, but at some point you’ve just got it let it go. I’ve already seen loads of different house rules for the game. Some I like, others I don’t, but as long as people are enjoying it, it’s all fine with me.
Right now I’m working on Into the Breeding Pits which takes the fun of Frostgrave underground and introduces rules for traps and secret passages, lots of new monsters and scenarios, and other types of fun. Working on that, having a full-time job, and a 15 month-old daughter is plenty to keep me busy!
To see more of What Joe has been up to up, and keep up to date on all the latest Frostgrave news head over to Joes blog here