Albion's Legacy: An Interview with Thomas Gofton, Head of Lynnvander Productions
Kickstarter is becoming one of the go-to venues to get new projects funded. It is here that I discovered Albion's Legacy, a new board game in development by Lynnvander Productions. Travel back to days of old. These are the days kings and queens ruled with true power. Magicians and knights were the saviors of the day. Enlightenment passed through the lands. The Authurian legends brought to life. This is Albion's Legacy.
I got the chance to chat with head of Lynnvander Productions, Thomas Gofton. Thomas Gofton received his degree in Pyschology and Linguistics from University of Guelph in Canada. Just before graduating, he started his own production company Lynnvander, Inc. Thomas's efforts in the film industry are in various productions of "The Gamers, including "The Gamers: Hands of Fate", as well as "Mind's Eye" and "Humans and Households".
Albion's Legacy is a story driven, construction-based co-op board game. Is that how you would describe it to a friend if you were running from a t-Rex?
Do you all play a lot of board games? If so, what games did you play that have inspired you in Albion's Legacy?
TG: I do. My team and I (which are actually my friends) have been playing board games weekly for years. We've played a lot of different games and have a few that we default to quite often. My personal favs are: Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Arkham Horror (and all of that series), Space Alert and goes without saying.. HeroQuest.
Albion's Legacy was inspired by Arkham Horror, Betrayal and HeroQuest.
Are there any particular variation(s) of lore (of which there are so many) that you have chosen to guide the creation of characters and other aspects of the game?
TG: Interesting question. I've read, watched and played several renditions of Arthurian media. It's so vast that each tale focuses on either certain obscure stories and/OR the main and most popular lore. I am going to try and find a way to put as much of the history in this as a base component of the game as possible. And then paint it with a Tolkien style high fantasy. The feel of the game should be dark age Conan the Barbarian meets Lord of the Rings. Sometimes unrealistic and others very practical. I'm including historical elements such as documented battlers in the Dux Bellorum and the more mythical elements such as the Holy Grail and the Questing Beast. I'm also going to include fictional stories from our historical basis from articles in the Galfridian literature, the book of Taliesin, the History of the Kings of Britain and Geoffrey of Monmouth's works. It doesn't stop there. I'm really going for the full monty in this game. (Even monty python).
Do you have a favorite character in the game? If so, who and why?
TG: My favourite character in any rendition is King Arthur. He's always been. I admire the earlier works which depict him as a skilled adventurer and an even more powerful leader. The later works which tends to focus more on the Knights, Arthur is kind of a passerby but he still is the glue that brings everything together (next to Merlin of course). I don't think it's because he's king so much as his ability to forgive, lead and believe. I like those traits. Very Superman without the god like powers.
Albion's Legacy is cooperative game play. What does this mean for the solitaire player and how much fun can they expect?
TG: The game can be experienced in a group or solo. If playing solo I think it would be a fantastic adventure. I've played it solo and it's an investment of time for sure but totally worth it when you don't want ANY of your characters to be defeated. It's like watching a movie that makes your nervous about the safety of the heroes. I get that in this game and I enjoy the struggle. It's a strategy game filled with Ameri-trash style theme.
How long have you and your team spent so far on the game?
TG: I'd say pretty hands on for about 8 months now. I've been designing it for a while so it's nice to take it to the next level and be able to hire some professionals to help flesh out the polished look, read and feel.
What is your favorite part of Albion's Legacy that has been developed so far?
TG: The cooperative play. I'm both a fan of competition and not a fan. I am a fan when it's versus people I'm not too close to, because I like to win and I enjoy a good loss.... as long as it's a great competition. In personal circles, I'd prefer co-op! I love the wolf pack and I love the round table if that makes sense. When our team plays the game, we play epic score in the background, we almost start role-playing and we really focus on the neat elements of story that pop up in the game. As a random and completely re-payable game, every game has been different, however it's really awesome when my character draws Excalibur from the stone and then to help win the game I have to throw the sword in Dozemary Pool to the lady of the lake can give us points to win. Just really cool to follow the story and know it's a meaningful choice in-game that helps our team as a whole. If that makes sense. Without knowing the game, it's hard to make sense of but all I can say is that the game has story elements so intertwined in the gameplay that you can't help but reveal amazing story and plot without taking away from the mechanics of the game. I could just as easily win the game on Gwenivere's horse wearing Lancelot's armour and it would be just as fun. It's really neat when I win with Excalibur in my hand and riding Llamrie into the fields of Camlann. (Arthur's mare into the final battle place). So the cooperative elements mixed with the thematic levels of play.
If people miss out on the Kickstarter, when will they be able to purchase the game at retail level?
TG: Yes the game will be available. Some components and special items will not be available after Kickstarter. It's not like I want to do that but it was strongly encouraged by those that have had very successful Kickstarters and have mentored me throughout. It's a way to thank backers for putting faith up front and helping us realize this dream.
Is character death a part of the game, and if so, how is that handled?
TG: It's not really character death. When a player character is defeated they are just incapacitated and out of play. Players choose a new character and return to play the next turn. So we don't really say the character is dead. Unless the player thinks it's cool to have a death. It's very open-ended and doesn't make the mechanics changes one way or another.
You originally started out in the film industry. How hard was the transition from film to board game? What do you believe was your largest obstacle to overcome?
TG: In a lot of ways they are extremely similar. The obstacles aren't really different. They have extreme challenges and a lot of fires to put out constantly as the game rolls forward.
TG: The one piece of advice is: You can not have enough research before you launch and KNOW your demographic. Also, leave the Ego with your prototype. Your work is in the hands of the people that back it. Trust them enough. Don't cave your creative vision or anything but be kind to those out there that want you to succeed. (DO this always)
For those reading who haven't visited your Kickstarter campaign or website yet, what would you tell them to get them interested in your project?
TG: If you're looking for an activity to spice up game night with your friends, this might be a great 90 minutes worth of an adventure. Quests, lore, combat and magic! If adventure and teamwork are your middle names? Give this game a try!
I thank Thomas Gofton for taking the time to answer my questions about Albion's Legacy. This product looks like a very interesting board game and I can not wait to add it to my collection. I am sure it will be a favorite to come. Be sure to check out their Kickstarter page for more information and to help them fund this project.