At Gen Con 2004, we sit down with Eagle Games' Captain Glen Drover, to get the scoop.
By Andrew S. Bub | Aug. 20, 2004
GameSpy: This isn't the first time you guys have turned a computer game into a boardgame. Tell us about your previous work.
Glen Drover: We started with Sid Meier's Civilization, The Boardgame. That was published two years ago. It's still selling great, it won several awards. I think we learned a lot of lessons, that game is really long and really detailed. So what we tried to do in our next game, Age of Mythology, The Boardgame (released last year), was keep it deep and rich, but shorten the play times. Next is Sid Meier's Pirates, The Boardgame, due late this year, and we really want to tighten the playtime. Tighten the game. 60 minutes or so.GameSpy: What percentage of your audience plays computer gamers?
Glen Drover: I think 100%. Gamers are gamers now. I think boardgamers play computer games, and computer gamers play board games.GameSpy: There aren't many board game companies doing this, are there?
Glen Drover: Not really. Fantasy Flight Games did Warcraft last year. (Author's Note: they're also making an expansion to that, and a board game version of Doom.) I chose this because I wanted to get those boardgamers who migrated to computer games in the 80's and 90's and bring them back. I also chose to do this because it was a natural for me. I started in computer games, I know that industry. I worked at Microprose. I'm also a huge computer gamer, but you don't get the opportunity to socialize in the same way, when you're gaming. Even in online multiplayer, it's not the same as playing a board game.GameSpy: Beer and pretzels.
Glen Drover: Yeah, and taunting them as they're beating them!
GameSpy: Looking at your three games, it seems like you started with the most obvious translation. Civilization was originally, loosely, based on a board game. It's turn based, it plays like a board game. Age of Mythology is an RTS, but it still plays like Risk, or a wargame. But Pirates is an amalgam of so many action oriented concepts, how did you translate that?
Glen Drover: Pirates is also really a solo game. The challenge for us was to turn that solo experience into a multiplayer experience. So we changed the gameplay significantly, don't model the computer gameplay specifically. Take what works, take the theme, some of the concepts. For example in Pirates, what's really great is building up your skills, your crew, going out and hunting down treasure.GameSpy: So you've got a bunch of people doing all of that during the same game?
Glen Drover: Yeah, that's what we're working on now. How do you make that interesting and interactive and get players to be able to play a game like that together. We're using a European game mechanic here. In a lot of European games players will perform an action, and every player gets a chance to participate in that action. (Example: I build something, you can do something to wreck it.) That's how you make a solo game into an interactive one.
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