Interview with Game Designer and Game Guru Steve Tassie
It seems a job requirement for the staff of Snakes & Lattes to love board games as much as they do, but we also have a couple of published game designers on our team. Game Guru Steve Tassie, who has perhaps taught you a game or two, is the published designer of the B-movie card game, Grave Robbers from Outer Space. With Halloween just around the corner, we asked Steve a few question about game design, the space in which horror and comedy overlap and what titles he likes to table when he gets the time.
What was the inspiration for your card game Grave Robbers from Outer Space?
I was in a hotel room at a convention playing "Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond" (now known for legal reasons as "James Earnest's Totally renamed Spy Game", thank you Albert Broccolli & Company!) and I thought to myself, 'why isn't there anything like this for B-movies?' So I made something.
What was the first step in designing the game?
The very first step after deciding that I should make a game (what was I thinking???) was to figure out what the goal of the game would be. Once I decided that you're trying to kill off the other players' characters, the mechanics were actually quite easy to come up with.
Are there specific games you draw inspiration from?
Although you'd never guess from playing Grave Robbers from Outer Space, or any of its sequels, my favourite games now-a-days tend to be Euro style strategy. When I dreamed up GROS back in '99, I hadn't yet been exposed to a lot of that style of game, but had been playing Chez Geek, Magic, Illuminati and other CCGs, so those are the mechanics I emulated. Since then, however, I've been looking to design a more Euro game.
Your take on horror seems more comedic than macabre - was satire a goal going into the designing process?
Satire was always in mind. I've been some form of comedian for almost as long as I've been a gamer, and the subject matter is so ripe for spoofing, that a comedic take on things was inevitable.
As a horror aficionado, are there particular scary games you play for fun?
When it comes to horror games, most handle the theme well but few manage to combine the theme with compelling game play. At the top of my list for favourite horror games are Mall of Horror (soon to be re-booted as City of Horror), The Fury of Dracula, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Last Night on Earth. Fearsome Floors is a light-hearted game with neat mechanics, but it's take on horror isn't really scary. It's more kiddie-horror.
Are you working on anything at present?
There is one project that is consuming much of my spare time. It's a worker placement/area control game (here comes that Euro game I've always wanted to make) about evil pharmaceutical companies unleashing designer diseases onto an unsuspecting populace all in the name of profit. It's darkly comic and very cynical... but promising to be really good.
We eagerly await Steve latest and greatest and suggest you ask him for a scary title or two from our library when you’re by the cafe next time!