An Interview With Larceny Creator Bill Smith
A Q&A with Bill Smith, Founder of Waning Gibbous Games & Creator of Larceny
Bill is new to the world of game design, but no stranger to games. A life-long gamer, his first creation, Larceny, is an exciting heist-themed party game currently funding on Kickstarter and gaining popularity daily. It's an exciting time at Waning Gibbous, and reviews from well-respected board game sites are pouring in:
“More engaging than most party games, Larceny brings out the gangster in all of us. Put on your record of The Entertainer and enjoy a good evening with friends.”
“…this game stands toe to toe with other party games in my collection.”
-Tyler of BoardGameQuest.com
We pulled Bill away from his campaign long enough to ask him a few questions about life, the universe and everything Larceny…
"More engaging than most party games, Larceny brings out the gangster in all of us."
Q: Bill, who are you?
Bill: Business analyst by day, writer and life-long gamer the rest of the time. I am also a father-to-be, expecting my first baby in mid-December.
Q: What constitutes an excellent board game, in your opinion? What are some of your favorites?
Bill: Story and fun, would be the short answer. A well crafted atmosphere (whether it's Mansions of Madness or Love Letter) will hook me. I enjoy any sort of fun and engaging game, from big strategic games like Battlestar Galactica to fast little games like Munchkin and Zombie Dice. Some of my all-time favorites are Arkham Horror, Pandemic, Viticulture, Zombicide, Talisman and Relic. I also have a particular love of cooperative games, so anything that gets the whole group pulling toward the same goal is interesting to me.
Q: What inspired you to create Larceny?
Bill: A lifetime of gaming, a new baby on the way, and the realization that there wasn't a game like it on the market. The whole idea came together pretty quickly, but only because I'd been thinking over how to run a Kickstarter campaign and how to create a good game for years.
Q: How did you find out about Kickstarter?
Bill: The first project I backed was actually for a reprint of a webcomic book that I’d missed the first time around. I thought it was just a good way to get a copy of the book I wanted, and to get a few extras while I was there. Then I clicked a couple of times on Kickstarter. It's a year and a half later now and I'm a believer and backer of more than 100 projects.
Q: What are your plans once your Kickstarter campaign ends?
Bill: The end of the campaign really will just be the start of production. We’ll finalize the art and layout, stabilize card count and add in any stretch goals we hit, and then it’s off to the printers. We’ll be exploring retail options as well after we fund. After all that’s squared away we’ll begin work on our next project!
Q: Any future projects in the works?
Bill: We have a lot of plans for Larceny. After we have a successful campaign and know there’s interest, we want to publish expansions, themed add-ons, and genre versions, such as Larceny in Space, or the Cthulhu Mythos-inspired Eldritch Larceny.
Q: Describe Larceny.
Bill: Larceny is a fast paced, heist themed card game. It takes a familiar mechanic (one player as the judge each round) and adds layers of strategy, problem-solving and creative discussion that makes it a unique experience. Each round, one player outlines a heist and the problems the crew might face during it, while the players play fixes for these problems from their hand.
Q: What separates Larceny from other games in this genre?
Bill: There are several answers to that question actually. From a design standpoint, Larceny is grounded in reality. It's not just about word association, but dealing with real problems using real items and tactics. That element of reality adds a strategic and problem-solving layer that is rare in party games and makes for an interesting creative atmosphere. There are a few tricks in the cards as well, such as the specialist cards, and the variant gameplay modes.
Q: Expand on the specialist cards.
Bill: The specialists are all characters the crew can hire. Each card is phrased “Hire a…”, for example “Hire a Pickpocket." The specialist can be used as written, such as hiring a pickpocket to break into the vault. However, each specialist card also has a special rule that allows the player to discard it for a special effect, such as discarding the pickpocket to steal cards from another player's hand.
Q: What was that about variant gameplay?
Bill: Larceny has a number of variant gameplay modes. This is one way we go above and beyond to pack in as much value as possible into the box. There's the storytelling Best Laid Plans mode and the strategic Black Bag Job mode. There's Troubleshooters, a versus mode where the players divide into teams and try to steal or protect the same object, and there's the cooperative Heist mode where players all work together to build a heist story as the judge for that round throws out problem after problem to try to trip them up.
Q: Okay, one last question: you named your company Waning Gibbous Games. What's that all about?
Bill: Short answer is that it's a phase of the moon. The longer version is that it's a phase of the moon called out specifically by H.P. Lovecraft in a story or two, and the phrase has always stood out in my mind.
Gather your own crew and plan your own heist with Larceny! Now funding on Kickstarter, so pledge today while supplies are still available!