Interview with Icarus Miniatures’ Anthony Cerrato, Creator and Designer of the Icarus Project

Icarus Miniatures is a new miniature company with their eyes set on creating a new miniature skirmish game set roughly 800 years in the future.  They are currently several days into their Kickstarter and hoping to reach their goal of $45,509. This makes them similar to many other companies with stars in their eyes hoping for a bright future.  But what makes Icarus Miniatures unique?  I sent along a few questions to Icarus Miniatures’ Anthony Cerrato to find out exactly what is unique about their company, their game, and their passion for the hobby.


The people behind Icarus Miniatures

First, can you tell us who is Icarus Miniatures?  

Icarus Miniatures was founded by myself (Anthony). At the moment, I’m the only full-time person in the company.

Who is responsible for the artwork, the sculpting, the designs, and the creation of the Icarus Project?  

The artwork is handled by the freelancers Daniel Comerci and Hokunin, who (I’m sure you’ll agree) do incredible work, and have really set the visual tone for this universe.

Sculpting is done by Questron Studios and Irek Zieliński.

What is your hobby experience like?  What do you enjoy about the hobby? (Painting, playing, etc)?

I got started in hobby in 2001 with the Lord of the Rings battle magazine by GW/Deagostini. I have always been more of a painter and story lover than I was a player, mainly due to not having a good local store to play in when I was young.

I’ve also been really involved with the hobby in general over the years, I was a moderator for the Heresy-Online forum, handling the kickstarter and Miniature Manufacturer forums, and I was a staff writer for Talk Wargaming, doing reviews and news for a time too.

I also have a background in the behind-the-scenes part of the hobby. I worked as part of the editing team for KEnsei by Zenit Miniatures

Can you explain the name of your company, Icarus Miniatures?  We have an allusion to the Myth of Icarus.  Can you elaborate some on your inspiration on the name?

I’ve always loved the Icarus Myth. Not so much the flying too close to the sun part, but the desire to fly and reach for the sky.

I also think Icarus is a cool name and works in both sci-fi and fantasy settings.

What is your favorite model or character in the Icarus Project?

My favorite model (so far) is the Gunslinger, I think he looks perfect as the lawman in space.

Front (1)

My favorite character that I’ve written so far is Charlie Bishop, the pilot of the Nimbus, which is a mercenary ship that travels the galaxy saving the day. Her background is so tragic, and she just can’t seem to catch a break. She was a lot of fun to write.

36 Charlie Bishop

Overall though, Gabriel Cross is my favorite character. It was him that kicked this all off when I began writing stories for him in University, so he’ll always have a place in my heart!

The Design Process

What was the inspiration in creating a miniature game?

The universe came about in my first year of University when I started writing stories about a bounty hunter named Gabriel Cross. I wrote stories for Gabriel for about 3 years before deciding to use the universe I had made in a tabletop wargame.

My friends and I had become tired with the game we were playing and wanted a new sci-fi game that was simple to play and was really cinematic, so I decided to make my own.

What has been the most difficult part of developing your game?

I think the most difficult thing to begin with was breaking away from the standard unit types you find in other games. A lot of units and characters from the original version have been removed over time because they don’t fit the narrative.

What has been the most enjoyable part about developing the game?

Working with community and listening to their thoughts and feedback has been wonderful. Seeing how excited people are to get the game in their hands is a great feeling!

How do you playtest a project like a miniature game?

To begin with, it was just me and some dice running through situations and scenarios in my head. This moved on to playing games myself to test some of the mechanics that couldn’t be done in my head.

After that, it was grabbing friends to play with and get their feedback.

And now the community is a huge part of the playtesting. We have a group on Facebook where people discuss the game. I try and stand back now and let the community answer each other’s questions where possible to help foster that community.

Why did you choose a D6 for the mechanics in the game?  Some people try to be very creative and use something different than a D6. However, most wargamers prefer to use a D6 in their war games, so this does seem like a logical choice.

What dice to use was never really a question for me. My vision of the Icarus Project is a game that’s incredibly easy to pick up and play. Everyone is familiar with six sided dice, and even if you’ve never played a wargame before, you likely have some D6 in your house.

This makes the game as accessible as possible to new players, and people who’ve never played any wargames before.

Using poly dice can work very well in some games if the mechanics for using them are creative, but I think straight replacing the D6 with a D10/20 but then using it in the same way just to be “different” is pointless.

It seems that you’ve followed a trend of “scoring hits” on attack rolls, then using those hits to roll above an armor, or defense value, in this case, to cause damage.  This makes it easy to get into the game and to pick up.  Was this something you wanted so players felt comfortable playing your game, or did you ever have ideas of doing something a little more foreign and less recognizable by wargamers? Maybe use a D12, for example with a totally new mechanic?

Again, it was a very conscious decision. I’ve played too many games where hitting and damaging are more complicated than they need to be, with tables or having to calculate things. I wanted players to look at a unit profile and instantly identify what they need to roll.

A player’s fondest memory of the game isn’t going to be that they had to roll a poly dice to work out damage, it’s going to be the narrative of that moment, when in the final seconds of the battle their favorite model was able to land their hit, kill their enemy, and win the game.

I’m a firm believer that the rules only exist to facilitate the story that the players are creating on the tabletop, and the rules should as un-intrusive as possible to let players lose themselves to the story.

What is your favorite part of the game design process?

Other than interacting with the community, it has to be the background writing. I come from a writing background, both as a published author, and as a professional writer and marketer, so I love writing stories.

There’s a lot more background written than has been shown so far, and I’ve got a roadmap for another 4 factions, as well as some major universe events.

What is the most challenging part of the design process?

The early stages of art development were quite nerve wracking. Relying on others to translate your ideas and descriptions into art and sculpts is scary. Luckily, the artists and sculptors who have worked on the Icarus Project have all been amazing. I feel really lucky to have found such great talent so early on.

The Icarus Project

What was your inspiration for the different races in your game? We know of humanity, or the Alliance. We know of the Nexus and that they caused two galactic wars, and the introduction of the Praesidians who had been watching humanity. You also describe the Ji’Tar, who live on the outer rims of explored space. But where did that inspiration come from?

Most of the races in the game originally come from the days when I was writing stories in this universe for pleasure.

The Nexus went through a few iterations. They have always been green, but began life as scaly lizards. As time went on and more stories were written, they began to move away from scales, grew a second pair of arms, and became what they are today. As the Nexus are the closest thing to an “antagonist” the game has, their look has developed with what I needed the bad guys to be.

For the Praesidians, I wanted a visual link to the classic “Greys”, so large heads and eyes, but I didn’t want diminutive creatures, so chose to make them much taller than humans. This also helps strengthen the look of grace that they have in their culture.

The Ji’tar have clear Cthulhu influences, and their appearance really fit with their background of being a particularly ruthless race.

The Icarus Project is a miniature war game.  To distinguish it from other sci-fi games, can you describe two or three unique aspects to make it stand out? Why will players choose your game over the others?

The main thing that separates the Icarus Project from other games is the focus on the narrative and cinematic. If throwing a grenade into a building and watching the explosive force throw your enemies out the windows to their doom, or shooting an enemy of their motorbike only for the bike to continue moving and flatten one of your models before hitting the wall and exploding, or disarming a bomb seconds before detonation to secure victory sound like things you’d enjoy, the Icarus Project is for you!

All the units available are also narrative driven, so have strengths and weaknesses in line with the background of their character. I want people to build armies based on what they like, not on what is widely accepted as the “best list”. The army lists are balanced, which means the game is ideal for the competitive environment, but it’s in the narrative games that you’ll get the most out of it.

You have several scenarios in the current version of the rules.  This is something I’ve seen left out of miniatures games in the past.  Can you describe your thoughts behind including them?

Including scenarios seemed like the obvious choice. How are people supposed to begin forging their own narrative in the universe without some examples given by us?

I think perhaps one of the reasons some games don’t include pre-set scenarios from the beginning is they are scared they won’t be balanced. Balance in the game is very important, but fun is more important. The best games I’ve ever played haven’t been balanced, they’ve been the hero squad in a last stand against an endless horde, the small team infiltrating an enemy base to assassinate the leader.

Some of the scenarios included in the book are intentionally un-balanced, such as the Last Stand or Breakthrough missions. But it’s not the win or loss that matters, it’s the story the players create while playing the game.

Can you explain how to build a Strike Force, or army, for The Icarus Project, and maybe any unique or different rules in doing so?

If you’ve played a wargame, you’ll be familiar with how to build a strike force. You begin by selecting the army you want to use, then select a group of characters and models from that army up to the agreed points limit.

You have a lot of artwork available, and it really makes your world stand out.  Can describe your vision of the world of the Icarus Project?  What are some of your favorite images?  What image do you think represents your world or game the best?

The universe of the Icarus Project is quite realistic and gritty, but not grim dark. There are a variety of worlds throughout the galaxy, ranging from glistening technologically advanced worlds in the core, to desert slums on the fringe.

Throughout most of the galaxy, people just want to get along. They’re not concerned with wars on the other side of the galaxy, or mega-corporations taking over huge areas of their public services. They only care about what directly affects them and their families.

Kickstarter Questions

Why and How did you decide to use Kickstarter to get your game funded?

Kickstarter allows creators to connect with a lot of people they never would otherwise, it also allows companies to bring more products to market in a shorter amount of time than they otherwise would have been able to.

At this point, you are three-fourths of the way through your Kickstarter. What are some lessons that you’ve learned in this short amount of time?

I think that Kickstarter for the tabletop industry has changed a lot in the last few years. When it first started, smaller companies were using it to get their projects off the ground and to market. I think these days, a lot of the projects being crowd funded are basically pre-orders.

What advice could you give people that are interested in doing something similar through Kickstarter?

I think it’s harder on Kickstarter for smaller companies now. You need to be able to go to Kickstarter either with an existing track record, or a practically complete product, which means people need to invest more in the lead-up to Kickstarter.

That being said, the community KS creates is amazing, and even if you fail to fund on your first go, you’ll have gained a whole host of new fans to follow you back on your next attempt.

You’ve kept your factions in the game to two as a start for the Kickstarter project but have four in the rulebook.  It seems like a good idea to stay focused and limited. Were you tempted to add more faction models into the Kickstarter?

The rulebook actually has 6 full factions; The Alliance, Nexus, Praesidians, Ji’tar, Mercenaries, and the URC.

I would love to have gone to KS with more faction models, but we need the money to make those factions!

Luckily, all of the factions have at least one piece of art to give people a visual idea of what they will be like.


How do you anticipate keeping the community interested and going strong a year after your game is released? This seems to be the hard part for a lot of companies- Keeping the players going strong and community thriving.

It always comes back to the narrative, the story. As long as people are engaged with the story of the game, and keep making their own stories through playing games, the community will thrive.

I plan on keeping people engaged with new narrative scenarios, more short stories, new models and art, and encouraging the community to feedback their ideas and stories.

Besides Kickstarter, how can people get involved in helping the world expand or making sure the rules are playable and tight?

The best place to go is to our Facebook playtest group:

There you can ask any questions you have, give feedback, and I show the playtesters sneak peeks regularly too.

If you had the funds available, what would you do as an initial release for the Icarus Project? More factions, more models? What would be different if money wasn’t an object?

In an ideal world, I’d like to be able to go to Kickstarter with the starter sets for the Alliance, Nexus, Praesidians, and Ji’tar factions sculpted, printed, and painted. That gives a good amount of choice and variety to players.

Finally, since I’ve asked you a lot of questions, is there anything you’d like to talk about, discuss, or explain?  You have free reign to do so. An open mic so to speak.

I just want to thank everyone who has supported us so far, and encourage everyone to take a look at the kickstarter and give the rules a try!

And I’d love for people to get involved in the community, share their stories and ideas, and join us on this journey!

Icarus Miniatures Kickstarter project will close on Sunday, October 4, 2015.  However, you can currently order one of their miniatures, Gabriel Cross, of the Mercenary faction on their website here:


The image looks stunning and I look forward to holding not only that miniature, but others, from Icarus Miniatures in the future.

Icarus Miniatures has a philosophy that I admire and one I think we should all try to follow. From their website:

Our Company Culture

Icarus Miniatures is being built from the ground up with a very specific culture, one that we feel will really help us to stand out. Company values sound very corporate, but they are crucial to making sure everyone involved with the company is on the same page and knows what we are all about.

Our five company values are:



Thinking Differently


Doing Good

Icarus Miniatures can be found and contacted below:




Contact Icarus Miniatures:


Marrow Productions’ Journey: Wrath of Demons Unboxing

I received my basic pledge from the Journey: Wrath of Demons Kickstarter today. The box was fairly heavy, and thick, to protect the single box contents. First, let’s discuss what’s included with the basic box plus the boxed game upgrade from the Kickstarter. Then, at the end, I will include images taken when I pulled open the box on the dining room table.

Here is a quick video of Kei Lun, Heavenly Creature:

I bought into the Single Journey Early Bird Special which included the “Boxed Game Upgrade” stuff from the Kickstarter bonus, including all this found here:

• 4 Pilgrims: The Monkey King, Tripitaka, Cho Hakkai, Monk Sha

• 3 Demon Lords: Koorogg the Bull Demon King, Yazuiji the Empress Iron Fan, Kogaiji (Koorogg’s son)

• 2 Borrack Bull Generals

• 3 Boof Bullserkers

• 5 Bharhaz Bull Archers

• 15 Berrok Bull Warriors (1 pose but two weapons)

• 1 Kei Lun Heavenly Creature

The above is from the basic game, found on game shelves once it hits retail. My KS copy includes the following extras:

  • 33 + 15 highly detailed plastic miniatures including:
  • 4 Original Pilgrims (all different) + 1 Dragon Princess Xiao Yan
  • 3 different Boss Demons
  • 1 huge Heavenly Creature
  • 25 + 9 Bull Demons in 4 different types and poses
  • + 2 Bone Warriors
  • + 3 Independent Demons (Zing Yau x 1, Jing Yau x 2)
  • 9 large doubled-sided color map tiles and other scenery tiles
  • 6 custom dice + 6 KS Exclusive dice
  • Full color rules and scenario book
  • Over 100 cards from the core game
  • + 4 KS Exclusive Skill Cards, +20 KS Exclusive Fortune/Misfortune Cards,+15 KS Exclusive Nightmare Deck Cards, + 15 KS Exclusive Nightmare Cards
  • + 4 Plastic Initiative Tokens

Journey Base Extras

Here is the image of all the contents:

single journey

Finally, here are the images as I pulled them from the box:

Kickstarter: MidKnight Heroes Miniatures

Hi all.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but this Kickstarter project got me excited.  The guys at MidKnight Heroes are running a funding campaign to get their core group of miniatures off the ground.

The goal is to fund the first three miniatures in their range with rewards adding new miniatures at rising funding goals. Below you have Elvia, Leonide, and Oda, the three heroes of the MidKnight Heroes world.

MidKnight Heroes Core Characters

MidKnight Heroes Core Characters

They have started sculpting their first mini, Leonide, a race of Fai (humanoid monster race) which you can see below.  I think this is a great start to awesome looking miniature.




Finally, here is a link to the MidKnight Heroe’s Website, and a link to their Kickstarter.

Drybrushing is Your Friend: Completed Ruined Pillars From Advanced Terrain

I completed a set of ruined pillars tonight using some simple drybrushing techniques.

The pillars come from Advanced Terrain who had a Kickstarter back in 2010, I believe, and even though the store is closed, I was able to order some of the ruined pillars as seen above.Advanced Terrain who had a Kickstarter back in 2010, I believe, and even though the store is closed, I was able to order some of the ruined pillars as seen above.

The pillars and other terrain sets are rubber, and are molded after Hirst Arts terrain.  It’s some of my favorite terrain.

I will be using this stuff for Recruits this weekend when I do my Hell Dorado and Relic Knights events.

Although I didn’t paint these, they came from the Kickstarter painted.  This is what my other set looks like:Kickstarter painted.  This is what my other set looks like:

Ruined Walls

This is some great terrain and Patrick ever opens his shop up again, I’ll be buying some more.

The Painting Continues- Hell Dorado Saracen Starter

I’m still working on that Saracen starter for Hell Dorado slowly but surely.  Below you’ll find some pictures of the leader, Nazir  Ibn Hamid Ibn Hajjad and his trusty sidekick Youssaff.

Hell Dorado Logo

Hell Dorado Logo

I’ve been painting the entire starter up now for about two months, which shows how slow of a painter I am since I don’t sit down to paint on a regular basis.

cipherlogo Youssaff describes Nazir as being so compassionate, he wept for every soul lost in the battles in Hell. Therefore, Nazir asked Youssaf to burn his out with his scimitar so that he shall forever see the light of Allah.  Youssaff has been his companion ever since.

In game, Nazir provides a good use of buffs as well as hitting power.  However, you don’t want to lose him in the game as he provides quite a bit of the army’s command points at 5.  Since command is important, you want to keep Nazir around.  However, with Nazir’s healing ability, you’ll want to get him into base to base with your allies so they can be healed.  Being near Nazir gives the rest of the army a +1 to combat, which is nice, but again, you have to keep him towards the front of the army.


Besides some touch-up and a couple little spots of black, I think he is done.



Below, you can see the progress I was before the previous painting session. Not the bands on the arms, the embroidery on Nazir’s cloth, his beard, and jewel are not painted as shown above.

For the sword, I tried an experiment using non-metallic metal style of painting.  There are a lot of tutorials to view for this.  I didn’t do that good of a job as I’m still learning.  However, I used the method of NMM for the sword, then glazed over it with Plate Mail Metal paint by The Army Painter.




The choice of colors was based on the fact that I wanted something more colorful and brighter than the off-white of Youssaf’s trousers and the rest of the traditional garb of the other models.

I started off with P3 Menoth White Base, an off white color, then, added some RMS Linen White for the highlights.  I washed the cloth with P3 Flesh Wash, then went back over the cloth to bring the color back up to the highlights.

For the blue on Nazir’s outfit, I started with Warpaint Electic Blue.  I added some of the base from Youssaf’s pants to the blue to highlight it up.  I used P3 blue wash, then went back through with highlights.

For Youssaf’s skin, I used P3 Idrian Flesh, and also some RMS Earth Brown and slowly added in some lighter brown such as Leather brown from the Warpaint line for the highlights.

The Hell Dorado models are nice, and have a lot of character.  They do require some clean-up as the mold line is obvious, but not bad.  A simple file such as a fingernail file or miniature file will do the trick.

Below is a stock photograph of Nazir and Youssef from the Cipher Site:

Nazir Studio Scheme


Finally, here is a group shot of the starter, with Nazir and Chalms done, while the blessed warriors and Pillar of Faith continue to get paint slapped on them.

Saracen Starter WIP

I’ll keep everyone updated with progress!

Gamer OCD

I know that many of us gamers have Gamer OCD, I do.
I mean I really, really do.
Like crazy bad.
I go through phases when all I want to do is play all the armies of all the games. Then I suddenly don’t.
Gamer OCD.

Perhaps it stems from a need to figure out exactly which army and which system fits your specific gamer “style”. Perhaps it’s just boredom, then again perhaps you want to be a total gamer wizard and play them all. Either way, it can be an extremely debilitating issue. I know when I’m going through it (which right now I’m not thank goodness) it can be an extremely expensive problem. And also confusing because you are always looking for what you want to play and if you want to play this game or that game, what army you want to play, how you want to paint them. The list goes on! My personal con with having gamer OCD is the spendyness of it and the fact that I take forever to decide how I want to paint my minis. I love all the games I’ve played and factions I’ve played within those games, but for some reason nothing ever really filled the void I had. That is until I found Cipher Studios and Soda Pop Miniatures. I have finally discovered two companies that produce stunning models and really solid rule sets.
So if you have the plague known as gamer OCD you have a few options, you can keep buying all the factions of all the games selling stuff as you grow sick of it or you can keep trucking through till you find the game(s) and faction(s) that make your heart sing. I have found my happy games. So I encourage you, if you have gamer OCD, to find out which option works best for you.

Happy gaming!

Soda Pop Miniatures Interview: Forgotten King and More

Soda Pop Miniatures recently finished a new Kickstarter for Super Dungeon Explore (SDE) called the Forgotten King on April 16th, as well as rocked the hobby gaming world with the announcement that they parted ways with Cool Mini or Not, the previous publisher of Super Dungeon Explore.  They are now working with the guys from Ninja Corps, who led a successful Kickstarter campaign for Robotech RPG Tactics.  Forgotten King ended the Kickstarter campaign with 6, 689 backers with a total pledge value of  $1,151,889, averaged to a little more than $172 a backer.

Cipher Studios and Soda Pop Miniatures logo

Soda Pop Miniatures logo

Let’s dive into the the questions and focus on their Kickstarter for SDE and see whatever else they may have planned for all of us gamers in regards to their other games and the hobby industry.  The questions were answered by Deke at Soda Pop Miniatures.

Supder Dungeon Explores world of Crystalia

Supder Dungeon Explore’s world of Crystalia

1.  So, Super Dungeon Explore (SDE)has been out for a few years now, and I remember doing a demonstration at Gen Con 2010.  Since then, SDE has had a few new releases and mini-expansions, but this new Kickstarter is for a stand alone expansion.  What was the impetus for this new stand alone game?  What was the choice behind using Kickstarter?

As you say, Super Dungeon Explore has been around for a few years and, like any game, we’ve found things that we want to improve and expand upon. This is also our first foray into self publishing, so we felt that a revision to Super Dungeon Explore was a great way to start out on this new adventure.Kickstarter is great for for several reasons. Obviously it helps generate capital to get a project off the ground. It also serves as a fantastic marketing vehicle, where we get to spend a month really highlighting the project and generating interest.

2.  Soda Pop did a unique thing by having one pledge level for The Forgotten King.  How did you decide to go against the grain and only have one pledge level?

We’ve discovered from past experience with Kickstarters that multiple pledge tiers can really complicate the fulfillment end of the Kickstarter. It can also be bothersome for backers, who may feel like they’re missing out on something by not getting an expensive tier. In the end we knew that the focus of the the Kickstarter was to get people to buy the main game and be able to play. One tier makes that super easy.

3.  The Forgotten King is a stand alone game.  How is The Forgotten King different than the original SDE core game?

Forgotten King is a revision of the original Super Dungeon Explore rules. It’s our opportunity to clean up and expand the existing rules, while still allowing you to use all your existing models. The big new feature for Forgotten King is the cooperative Arcade mode which allows you to play with an automated dungeon.

4.  For those people who have the original SDE and expansions, do they need to do anything in particular to update their existing rules to the new Forgotten King rules?

Forgotten King will come with an errata sheet that will cover the largest changes that you need to adapt your existing collection to the new rules. However, the best way to fully integrate your existing models into the new system will be with the Upgrade Decks. We will have one upgrade deck for each level we’re previously released, with revised cards for every model and unit.

5.  If someone misses the Kickstarter or misses out on the updated cards, what is the next best way to get their updated items?

Nothing in the Kickstarter is exclusive, so players will be able to get all the updated cards they need once the main game enters retail.

Forgotten King Logo

6.  There have been a lot of stretch goals in this Kickstarter.  Some are “loot” goals and some are ‘blacksmith” goals.  The loot goals add new items for free to the pledge level while blacksmith goals are unlocks that you have to buy to get.  What do you think is the coolest goal we’ve seen for both the loot and blacksmith categories, and why?

My favorite loot goal that we had was Brave-Mode and Shadow-Mode Candy. The light/dark Hero is a very classic component to old school RPGs and it was really fun to be able to do that with our iconic mascot.My favorite blacksmith goal was hands-down, the warband boxes, specifically the Claws of the Wyrm one. I am a big fan of the warband boxes as an easy way to expand your game of Super Dungeon Explore. The Claws of the Wyrm expand my favorite monsters, the Kobolds with an incredible new stock of units.

7.  Are there any items or goals that you wanted to include in the Forgotten King Kickstarter that you just couldn’t, in one way or another, include?  Can you give us any hints as to what they might be?

We have a huge amount of Crystalia planned out and I want to get to it all! We have many regions that are still unexplored and we can wait to visit them.

8.  Do you think having two “core” games of SDE will split your fans into original and new supporters, effectively splitting your fan base?  If so, what are some strategies you are might use to bridge that gap between the original and new fan bases?

We don’t think the fanbase will split. In general we find that gamers always prefer to use the most up-to-date rules system that is available and Forgotten King will be the current system that everything else is built off of. Since all the previous models can be easily used with the revised ruleset we think most people will adopt it.

9.  What has been the biggest challenge in getting The Forgotten King to Kickstarter?

Forgotten King is a big project and getting all the wheels moving in the same direction for art, sculpt, rules, etc. is always a big challenge. It’s compounded a bit by the fact that we are also setting up the infrastructure to self publish. Which is quite a large task. Needless to say we are keeping very busy around here!

10.  Speaking of challenges, how do you handle topics like “sculpted eyes” or no on your SDE Forgotten King minis?  Do you go with the fans or do you go with what is suggested in house?  I can imagine a lot of discussion goes on in the office about things like that.

We are always open to community feedback, and it is very fun to be able to do things like our poll we did for the facial expression on the new dungeon boss, Goro. That said, in the end, we always make sure we stay consistent with our vision of the product and the world. Otherwise you run the risk of the classic “too many cooks in the kitchen” dilemma.

11.  Currently, many people are in the middle of waiting for your last Kickstarter, Relic Knights, to be shipped, and others have received their product.  A lot of companies get complaints and negative criticism for starting a new Kickstarter without delivering the first.  How do you deal with the critics and naysayers in this regard since you were running Forgotten King before Relic Knights shipped?

Unfortunately, delays in Kickstarters are not uncommon. I know I’m waiting on several myself. In any project, whether it is funded by Kickstarter or not, there comes a point where you have delivered a completed game to manufacturing and it is largely out of your hands after that point. You then need to move on to development of your next project. Naturally you hope that manufacturing will be complete and your project is delivered before your next project is ready, but that isn’t always the case. When that happens you just have to keep moving forward. You can’t simply stop moving forward. In the end, everyone will get the products they pledged for. We just need to keep reminding people of that fact, and that we are every bit as anxious as they are to get product in our hands.

12.  How will production be different in regards to your games now that Cool Mini or Not isn’t part of that process?  Will materials change, etc?

The biggest change is that we will be overseeing the entire process. When we were being published, we completed a project and then handed it over to Cool Mini to manage all the manufacturing, shipping, and distribution. Now that will be managed by us all the way through. For the most part we are using all the same factories so the process and materials will largely stay the same, but we will have control over the quality control process to make sure components all meet our standards.

13.  For people new to “miniatures” and the hobby side of gaming, how do you suggest people get started?

Play with a friend! This hobby is always best when you have somebody who can learn with you. If you’re looking for good starting points: The current Super Dungeon Explore core box remains an excellent way to get into the miniature hobby. It gives you a ton of miniatures for a great entry price. It can be a bit daunting because of the sheer number of models to assemble but if you go at it sure and steady you get a great reward at the end.

The new Relic Knights Battle Boxes will also be excellent entry points into hobby gaming. Each box comes with models, esper deck, mini-rulebook, tokens, and dashboard. It really is a great way to get into the hobby at an affordable price.

14.  It seems that board games are starting a trend recently and crossing over into the “miniature” side of gaming, by including some great sculpts and providing some great hobby opportunities.  Super Dungeon Explore does this well.  Do you think that trend will continue in today’s market, or will the trend slowly go away, leaving the market with more delineation between board games and miniatures?  What do you see as the pros of having this cross-over between game types?

We think the “miniature board game” market is going to continue to grow. Traditional miniature games can be very hard to get into, and difficult for retailers to carry. Miniature board games provide a complete package in a single purchase. This makes it easy for players to get the complete experience with a single purchase. It is also easy for a retailer to carry without needed walls and walls of space to carry the product line.For people who love the huge expandability and versatility of traditional miniature games, miniature board games are a great “gateway” into the world. They provide an excellent baseline hobby experience at an affordable price.


15.  What is the most difficult part in “rebooting” a game such as The Forgotten King?

Revising and making sure you don’t break existing models. Usually you develop just for the expansion you are currently releasing, but a revision requires that you go back and look at everything you’ve done before. So in many ways you’re writing four expansions simultaneously.

16.  What has been the biggest moment, or moment of most excitement in the creation of  The Forgotten King- From day 1 to now?

For me it’s always the moment we start getting the first sets of completed concept art in. That’s when it suddenly becomes real. All of the discussions and written briefs have sprung to life and we can look at it and just go, “wow we’re making this.”

17.  It seems that with SDE Arena rules, you could have an official tournament rules and start that in stores.  If that is going to be a possibility, you will have a group of casual gamers playing the board game for fun with fans playing the game competitively.  Do you see that as another dichotomy in the fans of SDE?

We are working on tournament rules for PVP Arena now and should have them soon! Super Dungeon Explore has a wealth of models and a really fun style and world. We also know that there are people that love many different types of gameplay styles. Our goal is to let you play in the Super Dungeon universe in any manner you want. Whether it is competitive with PVP Arena, casual with Arcade or Classic, or story driven with our future Legends expansion.

18.  Relic Knights took off in a big way on Kickstarter, surpassing the fan’s expectations.  Did Relic Knights go beyond SPM’s expectations as well?  Meaning, was it bigger than expected?  If so, how is SPM dealing with the larger than life game that has come from the Kickstarter?

Relic Knights doubled in size from what we had originally intended. The planned book jumped up an extra 100 pages. It was an incredibly exciting moment for us, and in retrospect we probably should have reigned it back a bit. Nonetheless, now that it is shipping soon we are hard at work preparing organized play opportunities for players. We are planning two tournament systems: Establishing Order and Endless Hunger.

Establishing Order is your classic hobby intensive system that rewards painting, sportsmanship, and celebrates the entire hobby.

Endless Hunger is all gameplay focused where speed and skill are paramount to your success. We’re also working on some campaigns to play with your club and friends!

19. Writing rules for games is an art.  How does SPM go about writing great rules and making them clear and meaningful?

Lots of revisions and lots of playtesting. With Relic Knights we did a limited public beta which was a huge success. Nothing really compares to having thousands of gamers looking at your system to find the flaws. Really though the most important thing is to leave your ego at the door. No rules system is every going to be perfect so it’s really important to be open to feedback and be willing to change things.

20. What is the best part about being involved in the gaming industry?

We get to bring our ideas to life! Every gamer has dreams and ideas of what they would love to see as a game. We actually get to make those ideas a reality. Then to watch others enjoy them is a real treat. You just can’t beat the feeling you get when you watch a whole group of players enjoy something you created.

21.  What are some general trends you see happening in the industry- both on the development and production side as well as on the consumer side of things?

Digital sculpting and 3D printers are going to change everything. We’re already seeing the ability to affordably create models generate an influx of high quality games. That trend is just going to continue. We can’t wait to see what will happen when consumers can afford high quality 3D printers. Maybe one day we’ll just sell files of awesome miniatures for you to print at home. Wouldn’t that be something!

22.  What are some unique things SPM are doing to reach fans?  What is the most difficult thing in reaching fans?

We have always tried to move beyond the traditional miniature game audience. We were one of the earliest miniature companies to look at events like PAX and anime cons to actively engage the video game and anime fan bases.

We also stress a sense of fun and wonderment in our games. Many traditional properties are very dark and dour. We love things bright, colorful, and exciting!

23.  If you had free reign to develop a new game (including funding, the ability to make components, etc) what would be an ideal game for SPM?  Essentially, you can make a wish and the game will be there.

I’m going to have to be silent on that one, since we are actually developing what my answer would be for a future date!  ;)

I would like to thank Soda Pop Miniatures for taking the time out of their busy schedules to answer questions for Pen and Lead.  I look forward to seeing the Forgotten King in stores and on shelves as well as many, many, people playing it in game stores, clubs, and conventions.

 Thank you for the opportunity and for your readers’ time. It’s been a pleasure!

Also, for those who may not be aware, Soda Pop Miniatures has a new volunteer organization called Ninja Corp for fans of their games.  If you love running events, showing off painted miniatures, and more, check out Ninja Corps and see if you are interested in being a volunteer.



Cipher Studios and Soda Pop Miniatures logo

Soda Pop Miniatures logo