Luthero over at Bruecken kopf had a chance to catch me for some in-depth questions about Wasteman!
The link is in german but google translate struggles with it a little, so here is the origional English for you:
"BK: Hi Jason, thanks that you take the time to answer our questions.
J: Hi Carsten, no worries, It’s a pleasure.
BK: I really like the not so serious style of your miniatures and terrain pieces. Where do you find your style? From where do get your inspiration?
J: Thanks! I’m influenced by a lot of things really. If you go way back, I was totally obsessed with ‘Monster in my pocket’ and ‘mini boglins’ which looking back are actually really great sculpts! I used to design my own and even sent the pictures to some poor guy at ideal! I grew up around a lot of music lovers and I’ve always been fascinated by album art. A lot of thrash metal record covers are a real influence on my work, stuff like Municipal waste and Ghoul really resonates with me. It’s all very tongue in cheek and colourful despite having such horrific themes. It also links in with my love of B-movies and Sci-fi. There’s also partly a reaction to digital sculpting. Sure it has its benefits but for me it’s just a little too perfect, it loses some of the soul and style. I could go on forever, though it would be a crime for me not to mention Roger dean! My mum had a book of his work when I was a kid that I used to look at all the time, it’s fantastic! He has a very particular style that I really admire.
BK: As far as I can see, you are a one-man company, is that right?
J: Yes, very much so. For example for Wasteman I have sculpted all the figures, painted all the illustrations, written all the rules, painted all the samples, taken all the photos, done all the graphics for cards etc. though I did have some help with the base design and some laser cutting from a friend. It’s been a very exhausting process but it has lead to a continuity in tone that I felt was important.
BK: Tell us a little bit about your background in the Tabletop business.
J: Well, I’ve been a hobbyist for around 20 years. I wrote my first game and sculpted my first miniatures when I was around 12 or so and never really looked back (except for a small blip in my teens when I found women!). I also worked retail for GW for around 6 years, so I have a pretty intimate understanding of what makes hobbyists tick. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak, so designing products and learning about manufacturing has been a hobby for a long time too, I find it very fascinating.
BK: Your style reminds me of the Ramshackle Games stuff. Is Ramshackle Games some kind of role model for your own range?
J: That’s actually more of a coincidence really. I wasn’t familiar with his range when I started sculpting mine, but once I found it I became a fan for sure. Realistically it’s inevitable that, like with any art, someone somewhere will have a similar style. We clearly have some similar interests and motivations. We actually recently got in contact so maybe it’s the start of a beautiful friendship, who knows? I definitely have a lot of respect for anyone that can make a living from their art!
BK: How did you start with your Thunderchild business? Have you created the miniatures first for your own or did you always had in mind to create a shop?
J: It’s always been a goal of mine to run some kind of creative business. This project gave me the opportunity to sculpt, paint, make videos, write rules, stories and music- basically everything I love. But what really inspired me to finally give it a go was Kickstarter. I saw an opportunity and figured if I didn’t try now I would regret it in 20 years when I’m potentially burdened with a mortgage and kids. (Or atomised in world war 3)
BK: Now we are heading towards your kickstarter campaign for the Wasteman game. Please tell us a little bit about the background and the gameplay.
J: Sure thing! So Wasteman takes place in an alternate universe. Mankind reach their peak by the 1980s, colonising other planets, making first contact with aliens, and everything is great. Naturally it’s not long before humans get bored of this and remember they hate each other. Diplomacy breaks down and Earth becomes isolated, which is not good news for the people left there as they had become reliant on interplanetary trade to top up their dwindling resources. There’s a big exodus from the Americas and a huge war over the dregs left behind. The ensuing nuclear war tears open reality in places and all sorts of weird monsters turn up and breed with the irradiated leftovers of our once bountiful bestiary.
Wasteman is set about 50 years after the war. You now have people rebuilding and just trying to get by in this crazy new world. Though things aren’t so bad, there is a lot more personal freedom and there are a lot of opportunities. It gets pretty violent but there’s an underlining optimism that takes the edge off a situation that could easily become soul destroying.
As for the game play, it’s very frantic. You take it in turns to activate individual figures (or combat units if you’re playing a larger game) but there are a limited amount of models you can activate in a turn so you have to think tactically as to who to use and when. On top of this you have a system called M.A.D. cards, which are cards you can use to either aid yourself or hinder your enemy. These cards are great fun too! You could be just about to win an objective when suddenly you’ve been abducted by aliens and your enemy has been conveniently moved by a tornado! The game has a sort of handicap system, so when you lose a lot of figures you become ‘desperate’ and have the option of activating a figure more than once in a turn – which can make a huge difference!
Something I felt was important to include was an extensive ‘syndicate’ creation system, so if you don’t want to use the cards provided you have a lot of freedom when choosing your gang, with a large selection of skills and equipment. There are also rules for some crazy terrain and mod rules that can really change your experience. It’s a lot of fun and has a tone that the people who have tried it have found very refreshing!
BK: What about the size of the game? How many miniatures do I need and how big should the table be?
J: Each ‘Syndicate’ has to have a minimum of five figures but you can comfortably play with up to 20 and a behemoth. There’s not really a limit but around 12 figures would give you a decent sized game for an evening. As for the table anything from 3 foot upwards works fine but you could use a smaller one if you’re playing a small game for sure, I’ve left it very open as I know not everyone has a giant table in their house!
BK: The community is very interested in the tokens and the green acrylic parts of the bases. What are they for?
J: Well, first up there are the bottle caps. These are simple activation tokens. As I mentioned earlier, you can only activate a certain number of figures each turn, but you can quickly forget who you’ve used already. Simply placing the bottle cap on the figures card once they’ve been used makes life a lot easier. There are also some cards that let you activate enemy figures, so I thought it was important that each ‘Posse pack’ came with a different set of caps.
The acrylic tokens are actually prototypes of damage tokens. The final design will be 3d and resin, as the laser cut prototypes proved a little hard to distinguish. There are three types of damage effects you can receive that don’t get you removed from play and these can be removed with certain skills or cards. I noticed that in most games I play I lose track of my tokens nearly every turn, so I decided it would be best if they slotted in the base of the figures! That way you can move your figure and not get in an argument when they miraculously regain health.
BK: Most of you miniatures are cast in resin. Will your Wasteman range be also cast in resin?
J: The sets that I’m releasing for the Kickstarter will mostly be metal, with the exception of a few of the larger beasts. With my current set up it just wouldn’t be practical to cast the volume of figures I have for the game, and I can achieve a lot more on a single piece figure and not have to worry so much about air bubbles. I’ve worked hard to keep the figures as user friendly as possible too with as few parts as possible. I personally can’t stand fiddly models that require pinning and fall apart all the time.
BK: What kind of miniatures, gangs, terrain and other items we can expect from the kickstarter campaign? Will you aim for a printed rulebook?
J: At launch there will be six ‘Posse packs’ for Bandits, Militia, Cybjörgs, the Lunar Coalition, Mutant Mangle-men and Kritters – these are essentially faction starter sets, each with a boss, four followers, bases, tokens, dice and cards. There will also be a load of booster sets with a selection of robots, mutants, monsters and all sorts of wastelanders. Of course there are also the Behemoths, enormous beasts – the tallest of which stands at about 120mm! I’ve got over 60 figures ready to be cast and plans for loads more if it goes really well!
This kickstarter will focus on publishing the game and expanding the figure range. I’ve decided not to include much in the way of scenery as I wanted to keep it easy to understand, but also because I don’t really need to use kickstarter for most of my scenery. Though, having said that, there may be some smaller scenic sets cropping up as stretch goals if the campaign does really well.
As for the rulebook, it will most definitely be a lovely full colour printed book! I should have my prototype copy printed in the next couple of weeks, so I will be showing it off in detail on the Kickstarter for sure. It will be accompanied with a full deck of M.A.D. cards too.
In short: I have been very busy!
BK: Will your current Radtown Ruins range be part of the Wasteman universe?
J: Oh yes, very much so. Radtown Ruins is just the name of the figure range for Wasteman. The figures and scenery was very much intended to be used for Wasteman and, indeed, most of it was originally intended to go on the kickstarter. I decided to release them early to get the word out when I got the opportunity to try casting for myself.
BK: Can you tell us a bit about the pricing in the future? Your Radtown Ruins miniatures are quite inexpensive, will the Wasteman miniatures hit the Radtown prices?
J: I am intending on keeping the pricing reasonable for sure. The sets will likely be a little more as there is more content, with the added bases, tokens and cards but it won’t be drastically more. Some of the Radtown miniatures will be going up a little, but similarly this is only because I’ll be adding cards, bases and tokens to the sets.
BK: We have recognised you and your miniatures first in August 2014. Now, half a year later, your young company will be running a campaign for a whole game with its own range of miniatures. Do you fear that this could be a little too much to handle for a small company?
J: No not at all! This kickstarter was very much the plan from the beginning. I thrive on this sort of thing and realistically I have spent well over a year preparing so there is as little risk as possible. The miniatures are all sculpted and the rules are completed and play-tested. I’m still working on a couple of illustrations for cards but, short of my arms dropping off, we should be ok!
BK: You have a Youtube channel, what can we expect to see there in the future?
J: I plan on making game play videos for the kickstarter, a couple of promo videos hopefully too. The rest depends on what people want to see. If it becomes popular I will add more content, perhaps some painting tips and background stories. I’d like to expand the channel into all sorts of areas really. I am, however, a little constricted as I do everything myself at the moment.
BK: That’s it so far. The Brückenkopf team wishes you good luck with the campaign and we are looking forward to see the whole Wasteman game.
Besides, do you have some new pictures for our readers?
J: Thank you! Here is a new pic of some Cybjörgs for you..."
You'll have to check the origional link for a sneaky peek!...