Interview: Daryl Andrew and Erica Hayes-Bouyouris, designers of Roar: King of the Pride by IDW Games

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Publisher: IDW Games

Designers: Daryl Andrews, Erica Hayes-Bouyouris

Art: Vincent Dutrait (Personal Favorite)

Player Count: 3-6 Age: 14+

Play Time: 60-90 min

Daryl Andrews and Erica Hayes-Bouyouris are an up and coming duo of developers who started to grab my attention. With games like Ink Monsters and Roar: King of the Pride, along with future projects, peaked my interest enough to reach out to them. In Roar: King of the Pride by IDW, you play as different prides of lions trying to expand their territory, reproduce, manage food and compete for dominance in Africa. Roar is an area influence/control game with worker placement and resource management. Erica and Daryl were kind enough to respond to some of my questions by email.

Everyone has an origin story, so let’s get that out of the way. What made you start designing board games?

Daryl -I grew up a board game fan. Major influences for me were games like Scotland Yard and Risk. Also, I was all about house rules. I guess that’s when I started making game design decisions. However, only recently I started designing games. I organized many board game events and built relationships with some Canadian game designers like Sen Foong Lim, Jay Cormier, and Eric Lang. After being a playtester for them, I grew a desire to design games. Thankfully, Sen offered to mentor me and I joined the Game Artisans of Canada. With his guidance, and great support, I learned a lot about design and playtesting.

Erica – My family was very into card games. We played a LOT of trick taking games, usually with something on the line. It’s funny to think how much we gambled as kids through card games! Being a kid in the 80s was a great time for whacky and imaginative board games too. I had a big collection of games that my brother and I used to play together. Fast forward to the ‘new’ wave of games in the last ten years and my board game shelves started to fill up again. I started making games for the fun of it. It’s a great way to be creative, artistic, and trying to find the ‘fun’ in things of my own making. I love making games. Can’t say everything turns out great. My first game was really basic, but I feel like you have to get those first few attempts out of you before you get better. I really started to focus on game design when I met Daryl and he became my mentor in the Game Artisans of Canada. We started co-designing games together and I think we make a great team.

Is there a game or couple of games that define you as a gamer or creator?

Daryl – I try to create a wide variety of games; However, I have heard I’m starting to get called the “Dice Guy” because of games like Back to the Future: Outatime (IDW) and Sagrada (Floodgate). However, we only have one die in the game Roar. But at least its a cool custom die.

Erica – I’m still new to the board game industry and feel like I don’t have a definition…yet. I personally like to try something new each time I create. As Daryl said, he’s getting known as the “Dice Guy”, I’m really curious to see what game pieces/mechanics I will be known for.

Sagrada by Floodgate Games.  I had no idea Daryl was involved with, because I apparently don’t read boxes. Ignorance confirmed!

The main reason for me reaching out to you and IDW Publishing was based on my excitement around the upcoming game, Roar: King of the Pride. The lions in Africa theme is what initially drew me to the project. Can you elaborate on why you chose lions for a theme?

Daryl – Erica & I really enjoy animal themes. I remember when we started brainstorming and researching the idea of a game about Lions (Erica’s suggestion), I discovered online that only 4 animals roar. This got me thinking about doing a four game series. Also, I discovered 6 different Lions existed in Africa. This led us to making the players each of the six different asymmetrical types of Lions. This kind of research would inform our design decisions. And in a cool way, we really felt like the real life was helping us design the game.

Erica – There were no lion games, so I wanted us to make one. The theme instantly directed the mechanics of the game and the natural behavior of lions made them perfect for an area control type game. They also have interesting ways of interacting with each other that we built into the game. We made the negative and invasive element of the game humans that will force certain lions to migrate by taking over territory. We included scoring that would allow for multiple strategies of play to win. And you get lion meeples!

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Meeples overrated? I think not!

It is difficult to create a theme for a game?

Daryl – I disagree. If you spend any time with a game designer – you will hear a million theme ideas. I think what is difficult is creating a well polished game that has great mechanics that marriage well with theme. Hopefully a game feels intuitive and immersive. Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything.

Erica – Not difficult, no, but you’ve got to find the right ones. Themes are like the world that the game exists in. If that world is interesting and engaging enough then it makes for a fun game. I will admit to being 99% theme first when I design. I can’t help it. My mechanics are incredibly influenced by the theme that I’m working within. Making games is like storytelling and there are so many different kinds of stories that can be told.

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When Vincent Dutrait is involved beautiful things happen.

As a designer of games, I’m assume there’s risk in designing a game similar to another or going too far out of the box. Do you worry about a game your developing being too risky or how similar/samey to another?

Daryl – Parallel design happens often. However, thankfully I have too many game ideas and not enough time. Therefore, when I see a game that is too similar to a design I’m working on – I usually let the game I am designing die. Now I can just enjoy the game and don’t feel a need to make that game anymore. Sometimes I pivot the design (change the theme or try to design a game that is very different).

Erica – There are plenty of ideas that pop up when brainstorming a new game to create but a quick search online and you’ll know if it already exist. It’s important to keep up to date on what is coming out and thankfully there are great databases like BGG that you can check to make sure that an idea hasn’t been done, or overdone. At the end of the day it’s too hard to know if someone else is out there working on the same thing but if someone else puts the idea out first, then I’d scrap or rework the game that I was working on. There will always be more ideas.

You wake up in the morning…you feel…different. You have a super power! What is it and what do you do with it now that you’re all powered up?

Daryl – If I wake up with the ability to fly – I’m doing some serious travel. I love visiting other countries and cultures. I would love to fly to Africa and visit some of the different locations on the Roar: King of the Pride map.

Erica – I would have the power to duplicate things. I have honestly really thought about this! The possibilities for good are endless.

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Vincent Dutrait……

Do you have any projects in the works we should look out for in 2018 or BEYOND?

Daryl – Sadly I can’t talk about many of my upcoming games until they are publicly announced. However, I am looking forward to more sequels of ROAR (co-designed with Erica) and OUTPOST (co-designed with Jon Gilmour) to come out by IDW Games. Erica & I have a ‘classic’ card game signed with IDW called Upsidedown. Also, I have a series of games signed with IDW (co-designed with Sylvain Plante) called Sky Capers. Hopefully the first of the series will be coming out next year. Additionally, Erica & I have signed games with: Grand Gamers Guild (“Lost Vegas”), Albino Dragon (“Ink Monsters”), Mayday Games, Indie Boards & Cards, and Floodgate Games.”

Jonathan Gilmour (Path of Light and Shadow, Dinosaur Island, Dead of winter)…sooooo hot right now!

Erica – For the most part I will ditto Daryl. I have a couple of projects that I’m excited about but I can’t talk about right now. It’s also a dream come true that the above mentioned co-designs will be coming out over the next few years! Hopefully you will get to see many more projects from us on your shelves!

Stay tuned for more coverage of Roar: King of the Pride, which will be available in February/March MSRP $59.99. I want to thank Ross Thompson of IDW Games, Daryl Andrews and Erica Hayes-Bouyouris for making this interview happen. All photos were grabbed from BGG with permission from IDW.

If you have any comments or questions about Roar or any upcoming games, feel free to share below. Thanks for your time.

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