Kyle of Happy Mitten sits down with the team of ironic, hipster journalists at onlyrealinterviews.com to discuss board games, Eddie Murphy, and Happy Mitten’s debut game. From this point forward, questions from onlyrealinterviews will be denoted as “ORI,” and answers from Kyle will be displayed as, “Kyle.”
ORI’s Susan Chirpfountain asks: Your company is pretty neat because it’s not just a single person making decisions, but three people working together. Are there any advantages to starting a company like Happy Mitten as a group?
Kyle: Well, first off Susan, I’d just like to say thank you for sitting down with me and asking such a fantastic question. Starting the company has been a great deal of work and Jeff, Leandra, and myself would not be making as much progress without being able to split up tasks. What one of us does, the other two of us makes better. If you are running a publishing company the right way, you are with a group of like-minded friends, and engaging the board game community whenever you can. The board game community will provide the greatest enjoyment and are the key to any publishing company’s success.
There is one disadvantage to working as a group. That disadvantage is the negative effect working with a group can often have on originality and expression. I feel that with creative endeavors, whether it be a board game, music, or perhaps a comedic stand up special, greatness is achieved by having one person live or die by their own originality. I watch Eddie Murphy performing in red leather pants and a matching jacket that he has unzipped to his belly button, and I think to myself, “would that performance have been possible with a group of people telling him what the best direction to go was?” I say NO. For Happy Mitten, the three of us are trying to negate the problem of always making logical decisions by assigning someone to a task and giving them complete control. Maybe the spontaneous conversation on our podcast doesn’t fit in, but it represents a unique idea that happened at that moment. It is important to maintain an experimental thinking, risk taking environment whenever possible. That environment is where magic happens.
ORI’s Alexi Cottontush asks: The three of you have been spending a lot of time playtesting what will be your company’s first game. Has this experience allowed you to better appreciate games that are already out there?
Kyle: Great question. Yes, that is a terrific question Alexia, thank you for that. When you are evaluating a game or perhaps designing a game yourself, the most natural thing to do is to add more to that game. Unfortunately, having a game and adding something to it, makes the game play like a game, that you added something to. It just does no- COUGH*.. excuse me.. COUGH* (Kyle chokes briefly on one of onlyrealinterviews complementary crumpets). It just does not work well. It’s tough because you want to have this game that blows everyone away. The grand finale where all the characters get on a blimp and the blimp explodes! But, “more” is rarely (perhaps never), the best way to go.
A game that stands out in my mind as a terrific example of this concept, is King of Tokyo. I LOVE King of Tokyo. It is an easy game to teach people, there is always something to think about, and gameplay is carried out in an easy to understand manner. I try to imagine what it would be like playtesting King Of Tokyo before it was published. I don’t know this for certain, but I bet there was an overwhelming amount of feedback related to giving those monsters special abilities. In King of Tokyo, none of the monsters have special abilities! But you know what?, that was the RIGHT decision to make. I imagine it was tough deciding not add monster abilities, but Richard Garfield understood adding abilities would not add to the experience. Instead, monster abilities rightfully appeared in the games solid, “power up” expansion. I think of King Of Tokyo whenever adding something to our game comes up.
ORI’s Patrice Thunderpit asks: Is there a particular game out there that amazes you?
Kyle: I’d like to start my answer off by telling you that I’m amazed at your fun question Patrice, thank you. Recently, I have been constantly thinking about the card game, Gloom. Gloom is a depressing card game that makes me so happy it exists. In Gloom, you control the fate of a family of misfits, and your goal is to have them suffer tragedies and die. The game is played using transparent cards that you stack on top of the family member cards to change their stats. The cojones on the individuals that we’re involved in having this game made! I pray that Happy Mitten can achieve this same level of awesomeness. I look at Gloom, and I see a game that poses an enormous amount of problems. The theme is dark, which makes the game a less than ideal purchase for a child, and the cards are transparent, which may have posed production inconveniences and raised costs. But here Gloom is, sitting on my game shelf. An incredibly unique game that I feel challenged the idea of what a theme can be and how risk can pay off.
ORI: Appreciate the interview. So when is Happy Mitten’s Game coming out?
Kyle: No. Thank you. Everyone can look for our game on Kickstarter later this year 😉
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