Monday, 24 February 2014

Bio Syndrome : The Interview

 Bio Syndrome : The Interview

Bio Syndrome is the brain child of Paul Murphy, an other wise mild mannered family man who set out to create a free to download zombie mega game. Mega? not content with one idea, Paul wanted a game that delivered horror on more levels allowing players to fight the undead in any period & in RPG style too. 

in typical Weegamers fashion we hunted down this would be master of the undead as his Kickstarter for Bio Syndrome had just got up and running. Chained to a wall, here is what we managed to get from him before his hordes tried to over run the The Bunker.

1.  Why? Seldom has a question been so apt. Your wanting to give your book away for free, very noble, but......why free?

PAUL- Since the game has been a hobby of mine for quite some time and is still quite a work in progress it wouldn't make sense to charge for an unfinished product. I also wanted to let the players be part of the design process, giving everyone an opportunity to submit feedback and suggestions. With a free to download rule set, more people are willing to give it a go and actually provide their feedback and ideas to me, thereby making the rule set better for everyone. It's a tough industry to get a new game noticed by the masses and even tougher to get a good crowd playing regularly for an indie developer. I will admit (sadly as it is) that my kickstarter would probably be doing much better if i actually charged for my book. I could use the rule-book as a pledge reward attracting more potential backers. That does speak volumes to my already backers, as they are contributing to a project for the communities benefit and enjoyment. Personally I view my rule book as a community project, one where everyone can pitch in to make it better. Lastly, everyone likes free stuff, I just need a little help to finish it! 

2. So your on the bus, chatting to the guy next to you, he discovers you're writing a zombie game 'zombies? Really aren't they death?' He laughs wildly at his own joke. 'Okay kid, sell me, why your game' ? (And no you can't say well it's free you've got nothing to lose)

PAUL-A surprising fact: There are not that many zombie table top wargames out here, plenty of regualar board games but not any real wargames for table top hobbyists. The rulebook is actually three different games, a fantasy wargame, a modern wargame and a pen and paper RPG that allows players to use miniatures they might already have. Additionally the rule set allows for the creation of custom army lists, you can design an army around one you already love or buy those miniatures you've had your eyes on and were lacking a ruleset for. There is a little of something for just about everyone! The rulebook is also quite modular and all three rulesets use the same basic gaming mechanics, this allows you can take parts from the three different games and interchange them. Again, I have yet to find another true wargame or rpg system that allows this level of customization available to a group of players depending on what they feel like playing.  It's also a community based project, have an opinion or a good idea? I'd love to hear about it! Obviously I can't implement every new idea, though it is honorable to mention BioSyndrome would not be the game it is today without fellow gamers feedback and suggestions!

3. You didn't ask for much on KS and you've got it. 39 days to go.....(as we write) how do you plan on keeping the attention or drawing in more backers in the month ahead?

PAUL-I've prepared my campaign for the long haul and will pace myself throughout the entire kickstarter. Around the 30 day mark, I will post a video demonstrating how to print out the digital cards (1st stretch goal)and use them in card protectors (gaming on the cheap style)! This will give backers and potential backers a good idea of how the digital cards will enhance gameplay for all three games in BioSyndrome. I also have a fun video for all to watch that will get some laughs out of people, hopefully enticing them to pitch into a cool community project. I have a few more "tricks" up my sleeve as well, though you'll have to be patient and stay tuned!

                                                                  Bio Syndrome: Combat Demo Video

4.  As a developer how have you found the KS experience so far, and has it taught you anything you would pass on to others who might follow your example?
PAUL-I've learned quite a bit of interesting tit bits while running my KS campaign. The most important being that not only is KS a crowd funding platform, it is also a great advertisement tool. An awesome way to attract attention to your project and find people who are genuinely interested. Some tips for anyone launching a campaign: Watch out for higher pledge tiers, anyone can back out of your project at anytime. With that being said, listen to the KS advice, keep your backers up to date and in the know. You might also be surprised at where your backers are coming from, it might not be from where you expected to find the most support. I probably am having an easier time than other large kickstarters did, I don't have production time tables or issues fulfilling my rewards, that being said I do have a rather small KS campaign, just to cover the missing components of the rule book!
5. Who are the Brians! behind Bio Syndrome and who does what? Especially who makes the coffee, the unsung hero of many a team?

PAUL- There are only two official members on the team, myself and the artist Jericho. I've been developing this rule set for quite some time, in it for the long haul if you will. Even though there are only two official members, I have had plenty of help from many people around the web. Many a good idea has come out of conversations from fellow hobbyists around the web. Another honorable mention: Mr. Hunter who wrote up a fan fiction blog going through some key events before the outbreak. Though I have yet to add in the great fluff Mr. hunter wrote, it is scheduled to be added into the rulebook. I've also had support from many miniature companies, allowing me to use their miniature lines in my rule book. As far as an unsung hero? That would be my wife for putting up with me and my hobby! She even went so far as to be my opponent in my video battle reports! Though she is not interested in table top wargames, she does support me and my adventures!
6. A free book isn't going to pay the rent so what's the daily grind normally for yourself? What fun and games do spare time bring, is this an escape from the normal 9-5 and does your wife/partner/life companion think your a bit nuts playing with the undead?
PAUL-When not working and spending time with my wife and son I do play video games from time to time. Noteworthy mentions are older CRPGS like bauldurs gate, fallout and icewind dales. And yes, my wife does think I'm nuts! (She might be right! - Wee Andy)

7. It's a bold step to seemingly combine historical and modern zombie dueling death all into one tome. What's been the biggest challenge you've faced so far with the project & what's been the best 'buzz' for everyone this far?
PAUL- Biggest challenge would have to be financing. I'm knee deep in dead (doom reference) with tons of content to add into the game. Only problem is I lack the proper finances to implement them correctly in a good professional presentation. Artwork, editing, design elements and just working on the book period costs time and money. I have paid out of pocket for everything you have seen thus far and require some help from the community to finish it up and or expand. I do not have the support network or team of writers and artists that many large table top gaming companies have at their disposal. I'm just one man working on a neat project for everyone to use. I'd have to say the new redesigned version of the book caught Bio Syndrome a lot of attention. I've received some great feedback and "that a boy's" from a lot of different people (and many backers)!

8- Beyond Bio Syndrome what other nefarious plans lurk awaiting to be brought to life or is Bio Syndrome 'The System!' and expansion is your way ahead?

PAUL-  Bio Syndrome is a modular generic gaming system that supports a very large variety of genre's. Once Bio Syndrome is at a good concrete spot I'd like to develop an even more generic gaming system for the communities use, or alternatively add in additional optional modules into Bio Syndrome. I do have a few other free to download rule sets for various other games on my desktop in different states of completion. All are on hold until I finish this rule set. They include alternate rules for a few other table top and collectible card games. X-wing squadron rules for massive space battles, star wars CCG (decipher) commander rules, and Lord of the rings CCG (decipher) commander rules.
9- What's the feedback form players been like? Which secretly means what's the nastiest comments that have been thrown at ya, and how do you deal with the nay Sayers?

PAUL-Surprisingly I've only received positive feedback and constructive criticism. I "think" it has to do with me being open to feedback and suggestions not locking the community out of the design process. People seem more apt to give good feedback that I can use and not just flames and nay saying. There really are not a lot of professional rule sets where community players opinions matter as much sa they do here. If anyone is tracking "Dark Potential" from miniwargaming, you'll notice that it has the same sort of open community suggestion foundation and has not received harsh flaming or negative reactions as well.

10. A system that players can use any mini in is a nice move, we approve. Do you feel there is a need for Bio Syndrome specific figures down the line?
-There are a few units that really do not have a "known" miniature to represent it. Can be a problem unless you are open to modifying and crafting the unit from bits. At some point I would like to launch a small line for the hard to find miniatures in the rulebook. I do not have plans to launch a full on BioSyndrome miniature line as the rule book was designed to let you use any you might have already. I am a 3d modeler and have access to a few 3d printers, again given enough time and small amount of funding I could easily launch a miniature line for those missing minis! I do not know if these will lead to a small business or just a part time gig I do on the side for people. Only time will tell!

Time did tell, we tightened the thumb screws a little more and behold a stretch goal swiftly emerged just in time for this report to be amended:- 

28-32mm "Patient Zero" zombie miniature stretch goal added!
 New stretch goal at 2400 dollars!

"Includes a limited edition resin zombie miniature for all backers at the 25+ pledge level and above with free shipping (100+ pledge level will receive 2). This was one of the few units in the rule book that does not have a miniature available on the market. Help us reach this stretch goal and claim your heavily mutated tentacle zombie! Share with your friends to help other backers receive this limited production miniature. This is the original art piece that will be used as the concept for the sculptor to make the master mold for the miniature"

11- We've often felt that banana peels are a much ignored weapon in the fight against the zombies, as are bags of marbles and conveniently placed oil slicks- but since your a zombie game writer you tell us, what's the most effective way to combat the unliving menace in Bio Syndrome? And do you not agree banana peels deserve a stat line after all these years of neglect?

PAUL-Great question! Really depends on which game out of the three you are playing and how your gaming group plays! Probably not so much in the wargame, in the RPG version on the other hand your party is awarded experiance from executing good innovative ideas. I could totally imagine a situation where you stick your bannana peel in the door jam so it doesn't automatically lock behind you, always need a good escape plan! Or using a bag of marbles to trip up a small horde of zombies.

12- How important is the crowd funding to your ambitions and how does it feel to have already hit that target? ( did you do a wee dance? )

PAUL- Feels great to have hit the initial funding level. Unfortunately that level really only covers the missing artwork pieces from the rulebook, not much room for expansion there. As you can see with a bit of funding and some extra time I can make nice things if you take a look at the redesigned version of my rule book pages in the most recent KS updates. The more money I can raise, the more great stuff I can do for the community! If i can raise enough money I can really make a nice product chuck full o' content! The only real thing holding me back is financing.  
13. Ah the infamous thirteenth question.....our little moment of fun with you......

Your on a transatlantic flight to Ireland (to visit a gaming convention, cause we're awesome here and very receptive unlike EVERYONE ELSE LOL) suddenly you hear a disturbance from the back of the plane. You know the working class section for the poor people unlike yourself ;-) upon investigating you discover the stewardess being devoured by two decidedly dead looking passengers, beyond them A hatch lies open from the floor. several more passengers look like they've had a good chunk taken outta them.....panic is rife among the have no weapons, no blades, no lighters..........what's your survival plan.........6hrs left to land (not inspired by a film....yeah right!)

PAUL-Hah! got an RPG scenario prepared for me I see.. well here goes: (Maybe! - Wee Andy)
 The hatch is too obvious, patient zero could have came from there. I could B-line for the cockpit and attempt to gain entry, though I would be abondonning the rest of the passengers to their un-living fate. (if the zombies are runners, I'd make for the cockpit.. just saying)! I'd alert my fellow passengers to the pending doom and rally the defenses of our cabin. Meanwhile I might snag two or three able bodied persons and attempt to end the zombie terror before it spread to more passengers (closing the hatch en route and collecting any make shift melee weapons I can find). A simple laptop can do some damage when wielded properly. If the cabin was a loss, by that time the cockpit door would be locked for good. Any survivors including myself would have to hold up in a bathroom and hope the pilot lands and help will come.. or make for that suspicious hatch.. haha.
Whew.. hope that fits the bill! please can i go now?

Oh alright, anyways it time i was home for my tea. Cheers for talking to Weegamers Paul

hope you've enjoyed this little insight to Bio Syndrome if you want to know more check out the 
Facebook Page and make sure and have a look at the Kickstarter too.

while your at it make sure and spread the word and the Weegamer love.



Saturday, 1 February 2014

Don't Panic! Dad's Army are arriving to bolster the Home Guard

Warlord Games are taking us to Walmington-on-Sea to meet with the cast of Dad's Army. Kind of.

They recently obtained the license to recreate the likes of Captain Mainwaring, Sergeant Wilson and 'Stupid Boy' Private Pike.  They are currently up for Pre-Order and will take up their positions in February. But are they any good?