4LOGPC Interview: Tails and Tactics
We all love video games, no matter if you’re the casual player or the player that has a love for the culture; games ranging from simple puzzles to MMOs have always made a big splash but what about card games?
The trading card world is still strong as people are still playing a number of card series from the kid friendly rules of Pokémon to the complex world of Magic: The Gathering.
There’s still a big dedicated following when it comes to the trading card scene and Pedro “Reynard” Loustaunau, creator and lead developer of Tails and Tactics, is one of those people who are not only dedicated but has a passion for trading card games.
Tails and Tactics is strategy card game that uses familiar war time pieces with a small twist, soldiers are anthropomorphic animals and the humor is silly yet clever (at the time of this writing “series one” takes place during the WWII era).
Mr. Reynard took time out of his busy schedule and granted me an exclusive interview; it actually took him two in a half weeks before he could find time to do this and it’s much appreciated.
4logpc: Where did the idea for a military based card game come from?
Reynard: The idea’s been around since just before October , shortly after I began working on the game’s design.
4logpc: What was behind the decision to make the characters anthropomorphic animals instead of humans?
Reynard: Originally the game was meant to be much more serious than it is in its latest edition.
As I looked around for artists I came across Jan, I saw his art and instantly imagined his art in the card game.
As he began to draw the art and testing began, I realized the serious nature of the game wasn’t working and I began working on making it sillier, not only to make it more fun but to match the art style as well.
4logpc: I’m currently enjoying Jan’s art as well and was a little surprised when I found out he was involved in the art, how did the decision for Jan to be the artist come about?
Reynard: I came across his art in an ad for one of his comics. I sent him an email asking him if he’d be interested and when he replied I asked him for a sample of what he’d do (the sample being the art for one of the American cards). He sent me a sketch and I instantly saw the entire card game working perfectly with his artwork, at which point I asked him to be the Lead Artist and he joined the T&T Team.
4logpc: How many countries in total will be playable?
Reynard: At first, four countries will be playable. Series one will consist of Imperial Japan, Soviet Russia, Germany’s Third Reich and the United States of America.
Series 2 will include Great Britain among at least one other WWII faction. The plan, for now at least, is to add new factions each series.
4logpc: Are there any plans to do historic expansions like the cold war?
Reynard: series 2 might add cards from the Vietnam War and we’ll see about expanding further with each series.
4logpc: How exactly does the game’s testing phase’s works?
Reynard: It’s been about a year since the project started, (testing) consists of printing each starter deck in its current configuration and getting with my testers to play the game until we get sick of it.
How long it takes to get sick of it helps us gauge how good the game is but the bulk of the information is gathered during the gameplay.
As we play I take notes, often by writing on the cards, (we than) modify the rules and work on making the game run more smoothly and provide a competitive and fun environment.
We’re pretty excited about the current testing as it’s shown to be lots of fun and is just about where we want it.
4logpc: Who exactly is the target demographic for your game?
Reynard: Our target demographic is a little hard to define but that’s what happens when you work harder on the game than the marketing.
We’re appealing to players in their teens and towards young adults who enjoy card games, we’re trying to keep the game at a teen or below rating.
We’re also appealing to those who like historical games like this as well as fans of anthropomorphic artwork.
4logpc: Was T&T always planned to be a card based game?
Reynard: Tails and Tactics was set up as a card game from the very beginning, though the rules and cards have changed significantly since the first test version, the game has always been a card game and will likely stay that way.
4logpc: Is there a story to the game?
Reynard: The current series is about World War II and therefore the story to it is basically already written.
We might write our own story in the future but we’re saving that to be a special surprise.
4logpc: So does this mean each country will have individual stories in the future?
Reynard: We’ll see how that goes.
Writers note: Reynard was sure not to let anything slip about future installments, when I asked about them he would only mention that they were going to be “…very vague for now.”
4logpc: How many cards does each country have?
Reynard: It’s hard to give a number as we’re still changing the decks, each deck has thirty to thirty two different designs and I believe sixty to seventy cards, these numbers are the fastest changing part of the game.
4logpc: Can you tell us about “special features” each country has? I.e. does America or China have special unit cards that no other country has?
Reynard: We’re still working on making each faction have different characteristics. Our plans so far are as follows: The Americans are meant to be the balanced deck, the Japanese will have more Traps (which are exactly what they sound like, cards that screw up other player’s decisions), the Russians will be more about large masses of units, and the Germans will be about winning at all costs. These are some of the few remnants based on the original draft; each faction was known during the war for specific tactics and events. There are also specific cards that only certain countries will get in Series 1, such as the Russian “Twice as Tank!” and the American “Emergency Trampoline.”
4logpc: Mobile games are becoming very popular, are there any plans to make T&T a digital card game alongside the physical version?
Reynard: There are no plans for making a digital version of the card game; if we decide to do it it’ll be in the far future.
4logpc: How many players can play at once?
Reynard: The rules will be set to allow any number of players that may want to play simultaneously.
4logpc: Are there “modes” which allows co-op play?
Reynard: A large focus of the game will be to encourage co-op play. Cards often reference a team instead of a player (when it makes sense) in order to benefit your entire team or damage the entire enemy team. Especially due to the WWII theme, we’re really hoping to see battles occur out there with many players on each side. We’re hoping co-op will be enticing enough for players to play in groups.
4logpc: Will we see historic figures like Adolf Hitler?
Reynard: Series 1 doesn’t have any, though we’ve been considering the option for quite some time now. We’re still unsure about whether or not we’ll be adding any in Series 2, we’ll have to see.
4logpc: How are you planning on distributing the cards, will it be over the games’ site exclusively or will certain card game stores sell them as well?
Reynard: The current plan is to sell them over our website once we raise enough money (most likely through IndieGoGo) to print (and through the pledges on IndieGoGo of course). If a store contacts us asking to sell our product we’ll likely consider it, but until then we’ll just be selling through our online store.
4logpc: What will players need in order to play the game?
Reynard: Players will need a counter (there’s tons of apps for Android and Apple products that are free) or paper and pencil – to keep track of the player’s health, a coin for flipping – a few cards may require this, and counters to keep track of unit’s damage/health – though if you have very good memory you might do without.
4logpc: When can players expect to get their hands on the game?
Reynard: We’re hoping to release early 2013. Depending on when we get the funds we’ll have to adjust our timeline.
You can see more about Tails and Tactics on their website including updates and FAQs