Catching up with Antares Kingdoms
Updated: Nov 21, 2022
We recently caught up with the creators of Antares Kingdoms. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Ivan, Dale, and Michael. From our conversation, we feel that they have a very strong connection and they are taking the right steps to create a successful campaign. All of them seem to be highly committed to the project and willing to learn how to use all the necessary tools. We can’t wait to try Antares since we love a medieval theme and the fact that there should be almost no downtime given that all players play simultaneously.
Read our interview below the image.
Antares Kingdoms is a 1-4 player euro-style kingdom building card game, set in a medieval fantasy world. The official story is still in development, however, players each represent a faction vying to build the greatest Kingdom by the end of the 2nd Age. Each one has their own set of unique advisors to assist the player in their endeavors. Gameplay revolves around players attacking each other, trading, building, specializing and defending against the evil Sarrukar invasion.
What's your background? How did you get into this field of work, when did your passion for games start?
My brother (Ivan) and I had played many board games from an early age. We loved the classic board games of the 90’s: Space Hulk, Space Crusade, Hero Quest and the Warhammer 40k tabletop game. Also, as a family business, we started Miniature Scenery, a company that designs, manufactures and ships MDF Scenery for tabletop wargaming (the company is now managed by other capable hands). We also grew up in the golden age of computer games: Warcraft 1, 2 & 3, Diablo 1 & 2, and other such franchises of the times. These games greatly influenced our game design philosophies from then onwards.
Is this your first project or have you published games before?
Antares Kingdoms is our first official Kickstarter project for release, however, our very first passion project is a stealth-dungeon crawler that has been in development for over 10 years and is currently on pause while we shift focus to Antares Kingdoms. This decision introduced us to the other side of the coin of developing: self-publishing. In theory, we wanted to learn the journey with a simpler game, little did we know how much Antares Kingdoms would expand into the euro game it is today. It really has come a long way.
What are some really awesome, unique features/elements of this project?
Our first focus was simultaneous play with mechanics to anchor the players together at key moments so they didn’t get lost. At its core, we wanted every player to be involved from start to finish without downtime. Our second big feature was the emphasis on theme and roleplay. We chose a combination of history and fantasy, which resulted in a pleasant fantasy / medieval vibe. We didn’t want any cut-throat mechanics ruining the experience of a play session. While we love competition and have included it to our game, it’s primarily designed to let you compete without experiencing negative emotions to other players during or afterwards. The emphasis is constructing your Kingdom while raiding or trading in your Hinterlands.
Who is this product designed/made for? Does it serve any particular group?
The enthusiast gamer is the type of crowd we cater towards. The ones who love complex euro mechanics, with play sessions that take an afternoon to play. The medieval theme attracts this crowd too. Ultimately, it’s attracting the type of gamer we are as well. Although we also have a lot of influence from ‘Ameritrash’ design (random card draws and dice rolls) so we’re probably a bit of both worlds. This isn’t to say Antares Kingdoms is only fun for hardcore gamers because it mostly revolves around set collecting so it can also be enjoyed by a more casual crowd of family, friends and gaming enthusiasts.
What was the inspiration behind this project and why are you launching it now?
Ivan had the idea of creating a game out of a single deck that pretty much anyone could play. It was also a great way for us to learn what it takes to self-publish (as previously mentioned, we were working on the stealth dungeon crawler for a long time). We underestimated the desire to add more mechanical and roleplay elements when we first started having people play the game. It quickly grew to become this huge euro-style game and so the crowd we were catering to also changed.
We almost launched in March 2022, but after some important feedback, we knew we had to make some more significant changes to make the game more fun on a deeper level. An additional 6 months of development has now made the game the best it has ever been. It’s exhilarating to think how quickly play-testing the next (beta) version in Tabletop Simulator will happen.
Is your game based on any existing games or game mechanics? What are some of the features specific to this game?
We really had a clean slate to build this game from the ground up. Really honing our unique approach to kingdom building. Once the core was established, we did take inspiration from other titles along the way such as 7 Wonders, Castles of Burgundy, and Parks & Dominion. Also, as mentioned previously, the player phase is simultaneous. This is something we wanted from the start to reduce downtime. Buildings and units begin development in a unique build queue system that moves the cards progressively into the kingdom each turn of year – for example sowing a field of grain takes 1 year, while a Quarry takes 3 years to build. We have PvP and PvE combat with dice rolling. The combat between each other isn’t bloodthirsty with any cut-throat mechanics. The possible loss of your cards in your Hinterland is enough to consider defending it, without any real losses if you fail to do so.
What was the most surprising thing you learned while making this?
Things take way more time than we thought. In our most naive state at the beginning, we planned to release it in a month. Now, almost two years later, our experience and understanding of the game has grown tremendously.
What is the most challenging task in launching this project? And how are you overcoming it?
Approaching marketing for the first time. Selling the idea of our game to a crowd is almost a bigger job than developing the game itself. At our core, we’re also not overly extraverted, so we had to learn to come out of our shells and communicate our passion and dedication for the project.
Have you partnered up with anyone else for this project?
We’ve employed the artistic talent of Max Suleimanov, who did most of our artwork, including the front box art. Ivan is a graphic designer/visualization artist so it's been easy having in-check the aesthetic vibe of our game with his eye to detail.
Where can people see more and follow you?
Visit our website, Kickstarter page or our Facebook page or join our Facebook group.