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2014 ENnies interview #19: Crafty Games

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This interview is part of a series focusing on candidates in the running for the 2014 ENnie Awards. The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards (the “ENnies”) are an annual fan-based celebration of excellence in tabletop role-playing gaming, with voting beginning 7 a.m. Central on Sunday, July 20 through 7 p.m. Central on Wednesday, July 30. The winners will be announced at Gen Con, the Grand Hall at the Historic Union Station on Friday, August 15. To vote, see http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/. In this installment I interview Alex Flagg, partner at Crafty Games LLC.

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Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us about your company.

Alex Flagg (AF): Crafty Games is the publisher of a number of fine roleplaying and storytelling games, namely Little Wizards, Spycraft, Fantasy Craft, and Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Adventure Game. Co-owners Patrick Kapera and Alex Flagg have been working together for over 12 years, first at AEG on the Spycraft and Stargate SG-1 lines, then at Crafty since 2006.

MT: Crafty Games has been nominated a few times before, right?

AF: Yes, we have been nominated many times before, including I believe for the first year for Spycraft (first edition, for Best RPG of the year - 2002), Spycraft 2.0 (for Best Rules, Best Game, Best d20/OGL Product -2006) and Fantasy Craft (Best Writing, Honorable Mention for Best Product - 2010)

MT: As a parent raising two gamelings, introductory RPGs are a hot topic. Tell us about Little Wizards.

AF: Little Wizards is an introductory RPG for kids 6-10 and their families, where they play young sorcerers in a whimsical land of Coinworld. The game was designed by the legendary Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders, Ghost Stories, Tokaido) and originally published in France as Contes Ensorcelés by Le Septième Cercle. Amanda Valentine (Smallville, Marvel Superheroic Roleplyaing, Fate Accelerated Edition) was the developer on the updated English edition.

Unlike so many other intro RPGs on the market, Little Wizards focuses entirely on helping kids learn storytelling and roleplaying skills; there are literally no rules for combat or violence, and players are encouraged to use their magic in creative and problem solving ways.

The easy-to-learn system can be taught in less than 5 minutes, and stories can be played in under 2 hours. The book includes 3 full adventures as well as lots of resources for using those adventures as a springboard for more exploits in Coinworld!

MT: What distinguishes Little Wizards from the other nominees?

AF: While all of this year's competition is great company, we think Little Wizards stands out most because it is committed to teaching the magic of roleplaying to the next generation of gamers, using its classic tools - dice, paper, book, and imagination. As parents ourselves, our team worked tirelessly to make sure Little Wizards was 100% kid friendly, while still being engaging and fun for adults. And, like all of our games, Little Wizards equips adults and older kids with the tools they need to get started, right out of the gate, and dive into their first adventure.

MT: What products will you be producing for the remainder of this year?

AF: At Gen Con, we will have the next big supplement for our biggest line - Alloy of Law for the Mistborn Adventure Game, which brings the world of the fourth novel in Brandon Sanderson's epic series to the game table. Think "low powered superheroes in a steampunky Old West setting" and you're on the right track. And later this year, we'll be kickstarting our next RPG - Z-Corps.

MT: Are there any upcoming Kickstarters on the horizon?

AF: Shortly after Gen Con, in late August, we'll be running our first Kickstarter for another great foreign game - Z-Corps. Z-Corps is a game of paramilitary zombie horror. Rather than desperate survivors, in Z-Corps, players take the roles of badass military vets, gangsters, convicts, and other hardcases to take the world back from the undead menace. The game is in the late stages of editing now, and Z-Corps will be debuting in preview play sessions at Gen Con 2014.

MT: What do you think of the new edition of D&D?

AF: So far, I've been impressed with what I've seen of the D&D starter set. I'm a tremendous fan of Red Box D&D, and am running a campaign through the original Slave Lords/Temple of Elemental Evil/Queen of the Demonweb Pits series with my gaming group using Labyrinth Lord. It's great to see some of that old-school feel coming back to D&D, along with some more modern sensibilities about narrative and in-character play.

MT: Will you be at Gen Con? Where? Will any new products debut at Gen Con?

AF: Yep, we'll be at Gen Con in the Studio 2 block, booth #1317. Alloy of Law for the Mistborn Adventure Game (mentioned above) will be debuting at this show, along with pre-release demos of Z-Corps and the upcoming Spycraft Third Edition.

MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?

AF: Our website is http://www.crafty-games.com, and our Facebook page is www.facebook.com/craftygames. Folks who want to learn more about Little Wizards can go to http://www.littlewizardsrpg.com.

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