Hey everyone! Today we're joined by Jason Huffman, head honcho at Battle Hardened Games, and designer of the currently Kickstarting game 1750: Britain vs. France.
Jason, thanks for joining us. First, can you tell us a little about yourself?
My pleasure. Well I was born on a warm summer day in… just kidding. Okay, the short version: I’m from Iowa, and have been a gamer and history fan my whole life. I’m also a major in the Army National Guard..
So 1750: Britain vs. France is on Kickstarter right now. Tell us about it!
In 1750, you control the forces of the two major world powers in that era and fight over colonies in North America, Africa, and India. You can play historic event cards to swing combats and political efforts in your favor. You’re trying to recruit other world powers each turn and manage resources to make optimal purchases to further your war effort. You will spend some of your income on units that will go out and fight the opponent for control of colonies, with the player controlling the most colonies being declared the winner at the end of the game.
Have you always had an interest in that time period and conflict?
Most definitely. I actually remember reading a lot about the North American theater of the 7 Year’s War (the French and Indian War) a lot when I was in middle school. I’ve remained interested in that era of British-French conflict from the 1700’s and early 1800’s my entire life. I like other military history too but this era has always been fascinating to me.
So what's a guy whose two favorite games are Dominion and Macao doing designing an historical game?
Ha-ha, this is a little more of a throwback kind of design for me. I grew up on a lot of Axis and Allies, Risk, and the old Star Wars CCG, so there are some elements of those games in here. There’s also some influence from old NES and SNES games in here, and then some things that I’d like to think are quite unique. I did start out doing some deckbuilding designs but ultimately the playtesting pushed me in more of a pure strategy direction. I will say that even in games like Dominion and Macao there’s enough theme to make me satisfied. It might be fairly surface-level but it does check the block for my liking. I’ve played some other more abstract titles where there just wasn’t enough theme to keep me interested.
What’s your favorite mechanism in 1750?
I really like how the political objectives turned out. The risk-reward on a sliding scale that tempts you to spend resources on them, but you pay a price if things don’t pan out. I’m also really pleased with the difficult decision making over what to spend your gold on. This goes both for overall expenditure (spending on political objectives, historic event cards, and units) and then also applies to deciding what units to purchase.
Are there any other designs kicking around in your head and do you have any thoughts on expanding 1750?
I'm still looking at the possibilities of an expansion that would offer some multiplayer opportunities. If it’s not something that I think will ultimately work with the core 1750 mechanics, I will also look at elements of these possibilities with future game designs. I’d also love to take another look at some of my old deck-building mechanics.
What would you say to someone that might pass up on 1750 because they’re not into historical games?
You certainly don’t have to know any history to understand and enjoy the game mechanics. While I do think the game is a neat catalyst for discussing history, the heart of the game is the mechanics.
What are some of your favorite games that you’ve played recently?
Well like you mentioned earlier I’m still enjoying playing Macao and Dominion with friends. A Game of Thrones: The Board Game is also right up there on the top of my list. I came to the Shadows over Camelot party (way) late but have really enjoyed that recently too.
The lightning round! Quick questions, quick answers!
Favorite historical general?
Hard for me to say… I’d probably lean toward some really informative history book like The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers or Guns, Germs, and Steel. I don’t suppose I can count A Song of Ice and Fire if I’m only watching Game of Thrones on TV right? ;)
Favorite musical instrument?
Oh I’m still toying around with one of those New Zealand Lord of the Rings tours- I’m a huge geek like that.
Scariest movie you’ve ever seen?
It (when I was like 10 though).
Thanks so much for joining us, Jason! The campaign only has 4 days to go, and this one looks really cool Go check it out right here. And thanks for reading!