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Living By The Board's Interview with Fire Side Game's Justin De Witt

Published:  June 29, 2017

Check out this awesome interview by Living By The Board where they talk to Justin De Witt from Fire Side Games! 

 

1)Board gaming started out as hobby for you. At what point did you decide that this is what you wanted to do for a living?

After years of designing games in my spare time, we realized that the games I was coming up with were actually really good. Anne-Marie and I had always planned on running our own business of some kind and the more we learned about the hobby game industry, the more it made sense to move forward as a publisher. That was sometime around 2007 when Castle Panic was almost finished and my day job was going to be closing soon. We decided that rather than look for a new job we would take the leap and make Fireside my new job.
 
2)I understand that Castle Panic was the first game published by Fireside Games, but what was the first game you actually designed?
Ha! That’s a great question. Looking back I think the first game I ever designed would have been back in 1982. I remember coming back from seeing the movie “Tron” and being obsessed with it. We went to the local store a few days later where I just assumed I could by the Tron board game, but there was no such thing. I was shocked . . . so I went home and made my own. It was a light-cycle racing game and had a ton of these folded paper triangular pieces that you put behind your marker to represent the light wall as you moved. It was actually pretty good now that I think about it.
 
3)What is the inspiration behind the Panic Line and is the world going to get more expansions?
The whole idea behind Castle Panic was to find an authentic way to let players work together in a board game. This was back in the early 2000’s and there really weren’t any coop games back then, so it truly felt like an itch that wasn’t being scratched. I had some ideas for what that could be, such as players being the crew of a spaceship, or even different parts of a cell, working together to keep a body alive, but it wasn’t until I messed around with the idea of the players defending a castle together that it all clicked. A lot of trial and error later and I had an early version of what would become Castle Panic. As for expansions, yes we still have a few more surprises up our sleeves. I can’t say much right now, because there is still a lot of testing to be done, but look for a new expansion in 2018 that will give some fun new options for the players!
 
4)What is the first game you remember playing and what is the first game you played that sent you down the “rabbit hole” of the board game world?
First game ever? Maybe Tic-Tac-Toe or something like that, but I don’t think that’s what you’re really asking.  I remember being really impressed with Stratego as a kid and loving the tension of not knowing what those pieces would be until you flipped them around. The first real “rabbit hole” game would have to be Settlers of Catan. I first played it back in 2000 I think and it really opened my mind up to how far board games had come and reignited the design spark in me.
 
5)Do you ever grow weary of playing board games with it being your profession?
Surprisingly, no! I may get a bit tired of all the testing I have to do with my own games, but if I get the chance I’m always happy to try a new game, or an older game I may have missed. I still love playing games and honestly, I wish I had more time to play.
 
For the entire interview please click here
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