Sunday, June 17, 2012

Richard Garfield on Epic Spell Wars

While revising the cleric for 13th Age on Friday night I got a mightily surprising text message. Richard Garfield texted to say that he had put up a podcast on Epic Spell Wars and that he hoped I liked it. Umm, yes, I do! The link is here.

The podcast is funny and thoughtful. Richard observes that ESWOTBWDAMS is a game where what you see on the cover is exactly what you get from the art, components and gameplay. From a general game design perspective, Richard talks most about the tension between player interaction and intrusive player politicking. I was happy that Richard zeroed in on the way Epic Spell Wars handles politics, a subtle element of the design that doesn't always get noticed.

Richard describes ESW as a party game, which I think is right. I recently asked people preparing press releases for 13th Age to stop referring to the design of Epic Spell Wars as "critically acclaimed." Critically acclaimed felt wrong to me. Acclaimed by people who like to laugh and have fun, that seems accurate. I'm extremely happy that Richard is one of the people in that camp!

Richard's podcast ends with a children's section where he quizzes his son and another kid on their favorite characters and moments in the game. Very sweet. So I thought I'd sign off by sharing this thank you note I got from two kids, Wayan & Nils, who we gifted with a copy of the game early on.


  1. Yes, Mike, and of all people you added a ton of sugar to the sweetness. Thanks for the wonderful development work. Wish we could work together more often.