Developer Interviews #9: Vesuvius Media’s ‘Catapult Kingdoms’

This week I’ve changed things up a bit and got something exciting for all you board game fans! Catapult Kingdoms is an upcoming Castle Building board game from Vesuvius Media, well known for ‘Centauri Saga’ and the ‘Dwar7s’ series! I was lucky enough to have some questions answered by the Vesuvius Media team. Let’s jump in and find out more about Catapult Kingdoms!

Credit: Vesuvius Media

Firstly, can you explain the process of developing a new board game for us? How do you go through the process, from an idea, to a design, to Kickstarter and then to production?

‘This is a huge question. For each of our games, the process is very different, but our goal is always the same… create an awesome game! We work with many game designers, some are part of our core team and others we’ve met at conventions or at our local board game cafe. We work together to develop the game design, making sure the math is balanced, and play test… lots and lots of play testing. This process can take months or even years.’

‘When we finally decide to launch on Kickstarter, we are confident we have a game that we know our backers will enjoy. As we’ve published almost a dozen games so far, we’ve learned a lot along the way. We have partnered with some good manufacturers to help us make sure our games are made of quality components and in a timely manner.’

‘Covid-19 has definitely thrown some of our schedules off and added new costs, but we keep communication open with our community of players and do our best to deliver on time.’

Credit: Vesuvius Media

How did Vesuvius Media start? Can you give us a brief background on the company?

‘Vesuvius Media started out by creating browser-based online strategy games. Our first game was called Universe Online, which we later renamed to Centauri Saga (http://centaurisaga.com/). Konstantinos Manos, CEO of Vesuvius Media, is an avid gamer and dreamed of creating a board game… so he did. In 2015, he designed Centauri Saga the board game and we launched our first Kickstarter campaign. We had some experience with crowdfunding as we had already successfully funded the online game Nocturion (https://nocturion.vesuviusmedia.com/) on Indiegogo, but board games introduced us to a whole new world. We were hooked!’

‘Our core team has grown slightly since we started in 2014, but we have partners all over the world that help us create and publish a wide variety of games. Developing great partnerships, teaming up with awesome designers and artists, and building an amazing community of players is key to our success (and what makes it all worthwhile!).’

How many games have you done through Kickstarter?

‘We have launched 13 projects on Kickstarter (10 board games, 2 expansions and 1 for deluxe board game components/tokens).’

Credit: Vesuvius Media

Can you explain what you do in Catapult Kingdoms for our readers?

‘Catapult Kingdoms is a game of last person standing. Your objective is to knock down all your opponents troops.’

‘You start with a number of bricks, build your castle, place your troops, and then take turns launching boulders at each other’s castle! There are also action cards you can use for bonuses and, because of the success of the Kickstarter, we were able to add expansions, new weapons, different types of ammo (eg. a bee hive LOL) and more!’

What makes Catapult Kingdoms unique from other board games?

‘Catapult Kingdoms brings out the kid in all of us. It has nostalgic elements that make us reminisce about our childhood, but the designer and our game developers incorporated many new twists and fun additions, there’s something in it for everyone. With the expansions, or with multiple sets, you can even play-family style, with four players. That’s a lot of flying boulders! Also, technically speaking, Catapult Kingdoms is a combination between a “toy” and a “board game”, making it a very exciting product!’

Credit: Vesuvius Media

Vesuvius Media has spoken before about how the idea for Catapult Kingdoms stemmed from the childlike imagination that everyone has a kid, to build things up similar to legos and then imagine a big battle. Were there any other inspirations for the game?

‘Catapult Kingdoms is not the first game in this style/genre. There are many games/toys out there that we have all been exposed to growing up (for example Crossbows & Catapults, Weapons & Warriors, or more recently, Coconuts). Depending on where you grew up, somehow at some point, you likely ended up on the floor, with your friends or siblings, building castles with a combination of toys, and then attacking each other to bring everything down!’

‘We also loved the idea of introducing elements that attack all players. That’s how the Volcano and the Vikings expansions came to be, spicing the game play up and bringing something new and fresh on your battleground. Last but not least, we love to have different options during a battle. That’s why we introduced a special Action deck and a Tactics phase into the game. All these work to create a beautiful combination of toy elements and board game mechanics, in a really fun game!’

The Kickstarter was extremely successful. Were you surprised by this? What stretch goals did you add?

‘You never know with Kickstarter, as there are so many variables in play. We knew we had a fun game and did our best to make it accessible to as many people as possible (standard game $35 USD), but we blew through our planned stretch goals way faster than we expected!’

‘Thankfully, we have an awesome team, who worked 24/7 during the campaign to bring new ideas and new content to the game. Because of stretch goals, the Catapult Kingdoms Deluxe edition grew to three big boxes (Core game, Siege expansion, Artificer’s Tower expansion), with three different weapons and a variety of brick styles, all for only $60 USD. That was amazing! We were so happy we could offer this to our backers.’

Credit: Vesuvius Media

How does the team celebrate when you realise your new board game is a big hit?

‘Usually with cake, chocolate cake :)’

So the Kickstarter has now ended. Can readers still buy the game? Will the game be available in stores as well?

‘Limited late pledging is available: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vesuviusmedia/catapult-kingdoms

‘We had almost 100 retail stores back the project so you might have the chance to see the Kickstarter version of the game in some local stores worldwide. As for general distribution, we are in discussions with various publishers, but as you know these things take time and nothing is certain.’

‘That said, we don’t expect you’ll ever see a $60 USD price tag for Catapult Kingdoms with the Siege and Artificer’s Tower expansions ever again!’

What other projects do you currently have in the works? What’s next for Vesuvius Media?

‘Have you heard about our Dwar7s series of games? Dwar7s Fall, Dwar7s Winter, and Dwar7s Spring, which was recently delivered to backers. Can you guess what’s next in this series? Lol!’

‘We are also working on a new mafia game… you’ll just have to wait and see!’

Credit: Vesuvius Media

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