Tabletop Role-playing game creator Jason Anarchy talks with me about the funding of his latest game Haiku Warrior.

Interview With the Jason Anarchy Maker of Haiku Warrior

Tabletop Role-playing game creator Jason Anarchy talks with me about the funding of his latest game Haiku Warrior.
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Game creator Jason Anarchy created his first Tabletop Roleplaying game back in 2011. Since the creation of Drinking Quest he has written comic books, nerdcore rap songs, and his game has been featured at conventions such as Pax East, Pax South, Gencon, Fan Expo and Emerald City Comic Con. Jason Anarchy spoke with me about the process, making and funding a Tabletop role-playing game specifically his newest one Haiku Warrior

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What made you get into making Tabletop Roleplaying Games?

Jason Anarchy: It’s been something I’ve done since childhood. I’ve always designed game engines and played those games with my friends. I have many years of play testing experience without realizing that’s what I’d eventually use it for. I have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. I also went to school for business management and had a lot of corporate experience at a young age. I knew I could design a good game but also get it out there.

What inspired you to make the game?

Jason Anarchy: Drinking Quest had a system where the cards acted as the GM so everybody could drink. A great side effect of this was that it worked very well as a one player game. However for obvious reasons Drinking Quest was not a one player game. I began working on a solo game that used that engine and fleshed it out a bit. It ended up being 1-4 players and that’s how Haiku Warrior was born, about a year leading up to the game being announced.

In this game, players create the story with the cards provided?

Jason Anarchy: The story is told through existing cards but the order of cards in of the six quests is always randomized and you won’t pick up the same cards every time. There are also four premade characters so the game will play out differently depending on the hero you’re using. On top of that, how you choose to move through the game and upgrade your character could mean a story of lowing through six quests without a scratch or being on the edge of your set with 1 HP the whole time. Because of the minimalist and nuanced nature of haikus, it ended being like “Pulp Fiction” or “Lost” where you’re told one puzzle piece of the story at a time.

Why did you decide to include the use of Haikus in your game?

Jason Anarchy: The westernized style of haiku (very simply three lines of 5, 7 and then 5 syllables) is a very fun style. Anybody can technically make a haiku and it’s a great poetic style defined by what isn’t there. A lot of what’s said by a haiku only exists in the reader’s imagination.

How did the use of haikus help improve the game?

Jason Anarchy: It’s a great story telling device. It’s really fun to read one of these every time you pick up a card (but then deal with whatever dangers are on the card).

How difficult was it to create the haikus for the monster cards?

Jason Anarchy: Not just writing the monsters cards but any of the cards was a lot of fun. Making the gameplay as solid as possible was the biggest part of the project. The actual haikus ended up being the last thing done (and could still get a few more rounds of editing before release). The haikus are a mix of straightforward humour, non sequitor type and honest introspection. I want to keep the players on their toes.

How long is one play through of the game?

Jason Anarchy: About 2-3 hours with logical stopping points if needed. It’s a simple RPG but still an RPG. It needs a linear story and lots of content along the way. You always need your version of Frodo walking to Mount Doom!

What challenges do you face while trying to make Tabletop RPG games? 

Jason Anarchy: The biggest challenge is working so much. But you learn as you go, get organized and figure out the best way to do everything. People always ask how to break into an industry… hard work is the best answer but it’s the one people don’t want to hear.

Who is the audience of for Haiku Warrior?

Jason Anarchy: People who play Tabletop RPGs already. People who want to play their first Tabletop RPGs to learn the basics and people who like solo RPG adventures. People who thought the Kickstarter looked cool. People who like Drinking Quest that want a game to play the next morning hungover.

Why did you use Kickstarter to help fund your projects?

Jason Anarchy: This is the second time I’ve used Kickstarter. It’s great for a lot of reasons: Early adaptors who can see the potential in a project really get rewarded with all kinds of extra perks. Printing a run of tabletop games is really tricky. Kickstarter gauges demand and gives you the ballpark you’ll need. You don’t want to go way under or way over the actual number you’ll sell or it could ruin your financially. How else would I choose a name to tattoo onto my body? 


How did you decide the rewards for the backers?

Jason Anarchy: I wanted to keep them simple, related to the game and valuable for the backer.I didn’t want to have a bunch of knick knacks with a logo slapped on.

Backers who get to submit Haikus will you review them before you put them in the game?

Jason Anarchy: Oh absolutely! If we get some of the higher stretch goals then some backer written haikus will make it into extra cards. All of the stretch goal cards will form a separate MEGA DUNGEON that you can play through outside of the standard six quests. It’s an included expansion that won’t be released separately. I’ve never worked with user created content before so I’m half excited and half nervous. I will say plainly… if I only get terrible submissions they won’t make it into the game. I’ll compensate with some other kind of extra. I think that’s unlikely though, I already have some good ones.

For the person who gives 5,000 dollars are you really tattooing their name onto your body?

Jason Anarchy: I am 100% serious about that. It translates from Canadian to about $4000 US dollars so it’s a steal really! For the record I don’t have any existing tattoos at all but if someone backs at that level, it’s the very least I could do.

How did you decide what celebrities will write the haikus?

Jason Anarchy: The criteria was pretty simple: An interesting mix of people that I think are awesome. I was absolutely thrilled when nearly everyone I approached agreed to do the project. It’s a great mix of Comic Book Writers, Punk bands, Webcomic writers, Comedy musicians and one legitimate person known for writing haiku. 

If you want to learn more about Jason Anarchy and his games Drinking Quest  and Haiku Warrior you can visit his website. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Shatai Melvin
College senior graduating in May 2015. Majoring in journalism and minoring in global studies. Lives in land of Video Games and Korean culture. Future world traveler.