Interview with Eric Fairchild, creator of Azrah: War of Heralds
By Mike Slater, for Red Duke Games
What inspired you to create your own card game, and why this genre?
I've always been a fan of card games - collecting cards at a young age and playing them as competitively as I could into my teens and twenties. I wanted to create something that came all-in-one without the hassle of collecting unique game pieces.
Once you had the game in prototype format, what did you hope to do with it?
The goal was to get it in front of as many people as possible and get published.
And now that’s happening!
Who did you playtest it on, and were they card gamers to start with?
I generally would play with friends or people I'd find in my local game stores. Most of them were already card gamers.
Did your friends and the people you play tested with roll their eyes - or were they excited to help you test your game?
It was a mixed bag - some people are interested to check out something new, while others just want to play the games they already enjoy.
What were the reactions after they saw how it worked?
Early on, the game just didn't work. There were frequent mistakes - turning one dial also turns other dials. When everything finally clicked, people became more interested in playing.
A well-tuned game is an achievement. You had the vision and determination to begin – and see it through. We think the end result is something to truly be proud of.
How long was the process from 'I think this is ready' to 'let's do this!’?
Four years of iteration were involved - I started with a very large concept and had to continually cut pieces of it that just didn't fit or separated themselves from what became the core vision of the design. After turning the concept into the most recent design, I was confident it was ready to be looked at by a publisher.
The hard work of game design is letting your vision evolve. Being disciplined so that others will have the most enjoyable product in the end is a definite - and uncommon - skill.
Any bumps along the way?
Plenty - balancing issues and getting mechanics to work with each other were major obstacles.
It seems to have been worth it. Internal playtesting at Red Duke Games produced frequent compliments about how polished the game is.
You have offered to allow others to help create new Guardians - and backers jumped at the chance. Is that exciting or frightening?
I find the challenge of taking someone's vision and translating it into an actual design exciting.
Did you set out to aim Azrah: War of Heralds at any particular audience?
My goal as a designer is to create something that fits my vision and that people widely enjoy, regardless of who they might be.
A worthy goal, to be sure!
Thanks for your insights, Eric. We hope Azrah makes a great impression on Backers, and grows into everything you hoped for.