Sitting Down With Ninja; Interview with NP3 Productions
Earlier I had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Eric Hyland from NP3 Productions. They are promoting their upcoming Kickstarter campaign for their game Cho Han Sorcery, a game which I have reviewed earlier this year.
Thank you for your time. To start off, I guess you guys REALLY liked my review back in February, huh?
Eric: We enjoyed the positive review and we thought, might as well go with you for this.
Just to remind us all, what does NP3 stand for?
Eric: It started as a kind of a joke name that sorta stuck: Ninja Pirate Paladin Priest. Originally it was Ninja Pirate Paladin and then we added Priest later on, when our fourth friend joined in.
And which one are you?
Eric: Ninja. Each of the names has a story to go along with it. I have a black belt in Ninjustu, so I am an actual ninja. Pirate is a member of the Navy reserve. One of our friends is always playing the good guy in role-playing games, or always trying to do the right thing; so he gets to be Paladin. Our other friend is a practicing Lutheran and for a time he considered becoming a minister. So he gets to be Priest.
Since Cho Han Sorcery is the subject of your upcoming Kickstarter, can you remind us what it is about, as a brief synopsis?
Eric: Cho Han Sorcery is a game where you the player are a sorcerer. Your goal is to be the best and the last sorcerer standing. You roll two dice, then you have to guess whether the dice will come up even or odd. After finding out the result, you can play cards to alter what happens; you can cause reroll, add to the result of the dice, cause a player to take both dice of damage or even negate the damage altogether.
It is always an interesting experience seeing new strategies and tactics come out of it that you did not plan or design into the game.
How to Play: Cho Han Sorcery
So watching those unexpected results have got to be fun then.
Eric: Yeah, in fact one of those made it into the final product. During the alpha test of Cho Han, a friend of ours, Mark, found an interesting combination. He played an element card, changing the damage type, and then immediately played a Resist card to negate the damage coming his way. The rules did not explicitly state that this couldn’t be done and we even considered saying no to it; but we decided it was too clever and inventive not to allow. So now that rule has been added to the game under the heading “Markonian Sorcery” because of our friend Mark.
Why is NP3 going with Kickstarter for Cho Han Sorcery?
Eric: Because it is an all or nothing deal. We don’t want to promise something if we can’t deliver it. With other funding sources, like Indie GoGo, you often get to keep what you was pledged to you, even if you don’t get funded. And we don’t want to do that. We are doing this for the customers; and we want to make sure we deliver a quality product.
So why did you choose Cho Han Sorcery to go for Kickstarter, and not another one of your fine games?
Eric: Because this one has hit several age groups. It is a quick game and easy to learn; while still being tons of fun to play. It is a good starter game for everybody.
What are some of the rewards for pledges?
Eric: We have five levels. The bottom two are for those who wish to support, but cannot afford a lot. The Earth tier is a pledge for $1 and that gets you a “Special Thanks” on our site.
The next tier is Water and that is for pledges of $5; that gets you the Earth tier benefit as well as an avatar image that you can use for online profiles or whatever.
For pledges of $25, the Fire tier, you get a copy of the game as well as everything from the previous tiers.
The Wind tier is for $50 and you get everything from the previous tiers, plus a Kickstarter exclusive T-shirt. You will not get this shirt anywhere else.
The final tier is Void. For pledges of $100 you get all of the previous, plus an additional copy of the game; meaning you get two copies. You also get a set of customized wooden dice with kanji symbols.
What are some of the Stretch goals that you have in mind?
Eric: First a bit of a basis, our goal for this Kickstarter is $4000. Our first stretch goal is $9,000 and with that we are looking at an upgrade in print quality. This would include the game coming in a tube that you could use as a dice roller. The next stretch goal would be for $10,000 and there we would add-in an expansion for Cho Han Sorcery.
Oh? That sounds exciting, what can we expect from this expansion?
Eric: We have been doing some play testing on an expansion. I can’t go into too much detail, but I can say that it is themed around Kami and Oni; so we would be adding aspects of good and evil into the mix. We play tested ideas for: healing, card drawing, bringing players back from the dead, and even having more than one element being played onto an attack. Again, can’t get into too many details.
Some of it was influenced by player feedback about what they would like to see in the game. And it is all about the different experiences everyone has playing the game. Pirate for example, doesn’t play to win; he loves chaos and likes playing to mess with the rules and all. He sorta trolls the game as it were.
We have even tossed around the idea of adding alternate play styles or modes as well. For example, with the expansion you may get to draw cards, so why not allow players to get the cards from a player when they kill them?
When can we expect the Kickstarting to begin?
Eric: Right now, we are jumping through some hoops. Our current aim is to launch next week Wednesday, August 5th. We are even having a Kickstarter launch party at One Well Brewing in Kalamazoo, MI; well technically Portage, MI. They are even having a themed menu item for us and offering our guests $1 off of beer flights.
Well, let’s hope none of those hoops are flaming; or at least you have a Fire Resist handy.
Eric: *chuckles at my bad joke*
Besides games, what are other products coming out of NP3?
Eric: I personally have a story written, but that is not affiliated with NP3, at this time. It is an eBook on Amazon. Pirate is making a RPG system, that is very adaptable, as well as stories for it. Paladin is writing scripts and some film work. Priest is writing some background work on future games; some of it is conceptual and some of it is just background material for setting. We are also working on a role-playing game module for a contest.
A basis for reference . . .
What else can expect to come out of NP3 in the future, both near and far?
Eric: We are working on a Youtube channel. On there, we are thinking about introducing an interesting style of game review. The current tentative title is Gamer Shots. The idea is to have slightly inebriated gamers, both newbies and veterans of certain games doing reviews of the games and answering questions about them. It would be kind of like Drunk History, but for game reviewing.
We are also working on a RPG system that is very adaptable. We are also developing a military strategy game, because every company needs one. We are also continuing to write.
Besides what you talked about with Cho Han, are there any other expansions to your other games?
Eric: We have been working on potentially doing art re-skinning for Cryptid Catcher. For example, having variants like Corpse Catcher or Cthulhu Catcher. Not only would each be a stand-alone game, but we are considering ways of combining the variants.
Any closing comments or thoughts?
Eric: We just hope that southwest MI can continue support the gaming industry as well as our company. We are looking to make NP3 a much bigger part of the game industry and be an actual game design company located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Thank you Eric and NP3 for your time
- NinjaPiratePaladinPriest Productions - NP3 Productions: Gaming, Filming, & Writing
You can check out NP3 Procudtions website at the above link.