A few weeks ago, out of nowhere, Game Salute announced that they had secured the game license to the cult classic The Princess Bride. Well, this got us all kinds of giddy, so we immediately fired an email off to Dan Yarrington, President and CEO of Game Salute and the mastermind behind the project. He graciously agreed to sit down and answer a few of questions. Or maybe he was standing—we don't really know. Dan, thanks so much for taking some time to share with us. Before we talk about The Princess Bride game (which is so exciting!), can you share with our readers a little bit of the Game Salute story?
Game Salute started back in 2009 with the mission of “Providing tools and services to make the games industry a better place,” and we continue with that goal today. We’ve expanded quite a bit over the years and we now work with over 60 independent game studios to bring awesome tabletop games to market and support the industry as a whole. We’ve grown from just me back in the beginning to 18 employees and a ton of great Ambassadors, hundreds of Select Stores, and over 100 titles.
It’s safe to say that The Princess Bride is probably one of the most quoted and beloved movies of a generation. Tell us about the process of securing the licensing for the game, and how excited were you to close the deal?
I’m a HUGE fan of Princess Bride—yes, one of those annoying fans who can quote the entire movie from memory—so it was one of the first licenses we looked at picking up, and I’m happy to announce it’s the first licensed property that we’re bringing to market. We approached the fine folks in charge of the license and explained our vision for the game series and they loved it. We’re aiming to produce a series of games in the light- to medium-weight range that matches the fun and flavor of the movie. We’re super excited to be working on this classic license and dedicated to doing it justice with these games.
The concept of the Storybuilding Game™ is that each mini or micro game is a part of the overall play experience. You can customize your gaming experience by selecting game “scenes” by length of play, complexity, style of play, and recommended ages. Then you shuffle those scenes up, deal out a number based on how long you’d like to play, and then play, gaining points from each scene you win. It’s sort of a choose-your-own-adventure style of play so that gaming groups and families can play the games they want.
It sounds like The Princess Bride will be a vast gameplay experience, covering many different genres of games, and the different themes of the movie itself. Will the initial board game be a core game and then be followed by expansions, or will everything be packed into one huge box?
The core Princess Bride The Board Game box will include several scenes so you can play those right out of the box. Additional releases will all be standalone scenes that you can either combine with previous releases or play by themselves. Prepare to Die! is a good example of a standalone game that you can drop into the overall board game experience.
What are your five favorite games—and what do you like about them?
Wow, that’s a tough one. I’d be here all day if I go into that one—seriously—just listen to any podcast I’m on. ;) The favorite parts of games for me are quick, fun, innovative games. I have a tendency toward co-operative games and I like games with adventurous themes. I also enjoy smooth, elegant, less-thematic games, but I’d always rather build a game from the ground-up based on theme.
Game Salute through Springboard has had great success with funding titles through Kickstarter; will a Princess Bride campaign be showing up over on Kickstarter soon?
Given the nature of the project, and the scope of Springboard as a system that goes beyond any one crowd-funding platform, we will have some sort of Springboard campaign for the game. This will provide a great opportunity for fans to help build the Princess Bride game line into something bigger than just one title. The success of the line is directly dependent on the fans, so we really want to give them an opportunity to interact.
What advice would you give an aspiring designer who is considering launching a campaign on Kickstarter?
Plan, plan, and then plan. Set aside a budget so that you can spend the money to make your campaign optimally successful. Don’t try to do it on your own.
Gaming has obviously become a business for you. How do you keep it fun at the same time?
I work with games! :) Seriously, I play games pretty regularly and I still love them, but I also love the game of business, so that’s a separate element of fun (and challenge) each day. The official announcement about the Princess Bride Board game said it will hit shelves in 2013. How soon can we expect to see it in our favorite local game store?
We’ll have advanced preview copies of the initial releases at conventions this summer and then the first products should be out in the fall in time for Christmas.
There was also mention that Game Salute has secured licensing for accessories; does that mean we’ll see a plush R.O.U.S? or 6 fingered gloves? Or is it strictly a gaming accessory license?
We just focus on tabletop games, so mostly gaming accessories. Many of these will be based on requests from individual fans, so if you have something you’d like to request, contact us on Twitter @GameSalute or email me at Dan@GameSalute.com.
As if the Princess Bride announcement wasn’t big enough, are there any other awesome projects from Game Salute that we can be on the lookout for in 2013?
We have a lot of exciting titles and programs we’re launching this year, so stay tuned to GameSalute.com, our Facebook page, and our Twitter feed for all the latest and greatest from Game Salute :)
And now for the questions that only require a single word or phrase as a response!
Favorite Princess Bride character?
Favorite Indiana Jones film?
Professor X or Magneto?
Least favorite berry?
Favorite Firefly character?