Michael, thanks for chatting with us!
So, tell us a little of the Gamelyn Games story; how did you arrive on the gaming scene?
Gamelyn Games is a rapidly growing games and toys company based out of Arizona. My wife Brittany and I started Gamelyn Games shorty after I transitioned out of Crash Games, the publishing company I had previously founded with Patrick Nickell. Brittany and I are both family focused individuals and we actually just started a family of our own! We truly share a passion for providing families and friends with awesome games and toys. We both grew up as gamers and little inventors and I’ve had a burning passion all my life to create games and share my ancient ideas… yes, I’m getting old, so we set out to make our dreams come true!
We’ve started to hear the buzz coming out of Gencon about Fantasy Frontier, but for those who don’t know the game, can you give us a quick overview?
Absolutely! Fantasy Frontier is a 2-4 player euro game that delivers an epic airship experience! Players compete for victory points by creating geographic patterns, building settlements and through aerial combat. The game boasts a synergetic package of tile placement, pattern recognition, worker placement and resource gathering.
What inspired the creation and design of Fantasy Frontier?
It all started when I was about 5 years old with The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin! I say that jokingly but maybe there is some truth to it. I did absolutely love the airship toy and I had the whole crew! I’d be lying if I didn’t say that ever since then I had an affinity for airships. It seems every time one showed up in a new video game that game quickly became my favorite; Mario Bros. 3, Final Fantasy 2, Chrono Trigger, Warcraft 2 and many others.
In addition to my love for airships, I love map making. I began playing D&D at eleven and once I had a turn at being the DM I was hooked. I would create my own worlds vast with adventure. I’d spend hours creating maps of the worlds and their key areas and then bring them to the table for players to explore.
Fantasy Frontier is a product of my dreams to create a game of airships and cartography!
What is the “hook” for Fantasy Frontier? That is to say, what one thing about the game sets it apart from other games?
The emphasis on map making from atop a fantastic airship sets Fantasy Frontier apart! Also, the theme; as much as people have been calling it steampunk (and I take no offense to that) it is actually high-fantasy. Naomi Robinson has done a magnificent job capturing that theme.
Lastly, the integration and execution of a euro game with optional take-that elements.
Like so many indie (and established) game publishers, you’re funding this title through Kickstarter; you’ve also had plenty of success in the past bringing games to market through crowd funding. What bit of advice would you give an up-and-comer looking to kickstart a project?
Create a complete project plan that includes a pre-production schedule, marketing strategies, a production schedule, and a post-production plan. Do your research about Kickstarter, taxes, production and shipping costs, marketing costs etc. Sound overwhelming? It can be, but remember a wall is built one brick at a time.
Your BGG bio says you’re also a professional actor! Whoah! Do you still act, or are you just making games for a living?
I haven’t acted in some time, but I still love it! I plan to return to acting once I am able to make games full time. I work an average of 80-100 hours a week between my day job and Gamelyn Games. Once I can cut out my day job, I’d love to return to acting.
Hypothetically speaking, if you were trying to impress someone at a party or social gathering while talking about your acting career, whose name would you drop when listing off folks you’ve worked with?
Kathy Bates, Kate Mara, Gregory Smith, Chris Pratt… I’ve been very blessed to have worked with some really awesome and really talented people in the acting industry.
What are some of your favorite games to play right now? and why?
Board Games: Chess, Carcassonne, and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. I really enjoy many others but these are recent visitors to the game table. Chess for the epitome in strategy and tactics that it is, Carcassonne for capturing medieval landlording in an approachable package, and Agricola All Creatures… for the breeding…lol =D
Video Games: Legend of Zelda (NES), Adventures of Link (NES) and Pilot Wings (SNES)… why? Because it they make me feel like a kid again alright, you want the truth? There it is!
Word on the street has it that Eric Vale, of Dragon Ball Z fame, will be doing (or has done by now) the voice work for the Kickstarter video of Fantasy Frontier. Any other cool surprises you can tell us about coming during the campaign?
The coolness of Eric Vale doing Fantasy Frontier is a hard act to follow. I am working on some fun ideas for the campaign stretch goals but can’t let the cat out of the bag quite yet.
We’ve had some conversations offline about the review we wrote for Dungeon Heroes. We wanted again to thank you for understanding our point of view. We’re also very curious if there are any plans for the future of Dungeon Heroes? Dungeon Heroes has a very bright future! The game has been received tremendously and the stores can’t keep it on the shelf. This is all fuel for the 4 player version I am currently working on. I’m also exploring additional expansions to the current 2 player system. So, lots of good stuff in development. Dungeon Heroes lends itself well to expandability and my well of creativity for it is deep.
So what does “down time” look like for the Coe family? Or do you get much of that? I make time for “down time” because that is the time I get with my wife and daughter, the two most meaningful aspects of my life. We spend time going to the park, the mall, going out for dinner and even sometimes the arcade, Jolene (my daughter, 10 months old) loves going out and meeting other kids and seeing the wonderful world we live in. We also spend good quality time at home just relaxing and playing with Jolene, teaching her new things. She just took her first two steps the other day! Good times!
Okay...5 Questions/5 Words (or very short phrases) to answer them! Aaaand GO!
• Favorite dirigible? Ooo… that’s tough… I’m going to cop out and say that I love them all equally. They are all my babies after all. =)
• Favorite urban legend you wish was actually true? LOL! I don’t wish any were true! That’s just macabre! There are lots of fairy tales I wish were true though.
• Best part of an Oreo—Cookie or Stuffing? The 10 year old me would have said the stuffing, but the current me has grown an appreciation for the synergy that the stuffing and cookie have together.
• Favorite toy when you were a kid? Wow, that’s a hard question. I was big into toys as a kid, but I think I loved my Ninja Turtles and Jurassic Park collections the most.
• Name of your first RPG character? Jolene, a Paladin in D&D advanced 2nd edition. Also, the name of my mother and now my daughter. ROFL… wow I’m a geek, bad!
Michael, thanks so much for taking some time for us, and congratulations on all of your success so far!