It’s a Looney Labs twofer!
Today we finally take a closer look at Batallas Históricas Verdún 1916 from Runica Art Games. It’s a light 2 player game about trench war fare. Closed captions in Spanish. Subtítulos cerrados en Español,
So far we have been able to fund operations for our site all by ourselves. We are currently in a bit of a transition. Brandon is in grad school. Thanks, Brandon! We need to renew the webhosting for Spaghetti and Meeples and need your help. Please visit the Go Gund Me we have set up and donate what you can and please share this. We are only asking for exactly what we need to keep the site up. Thank you for your time! The link is below.
Brandon: Today we are joined by Levi Schneidewent of Trollworks. If you missed my review of two of his dice towers that I purchased you can read that here and then read the following interview, or read this interview first and then read the dice tower review. Either way. Enjoy!
Levi: When I was a kid my brother used to call me the little “Troll”. My workspace is in basement of a 1923 firehouse which happens to be a Fallout shelter; sort of a cave. It’s the home of Rockhead’s Comics and Games, it occupies the ground floor and the second story (9000 sq ft) (owned by my brother). When I was just starting the business my brother was kidding around and said, “Go to your cave little troll and get to work.”—Trollworks
How did you get started making game accessories?
Levi: I would like to tell you a happy story of how it all began, but I lost my job of 23 years due to the economy and I didn’t want to go back into daily grind; so, I took the opportunity to create a job just for myself.
What is your design process like? How do you come up with the pieces you make?
Levi: Many of my designs come from customer requests. If I feel the finished product is marketable I do a cost/time study, then a product offer.
What is your best seller?
Levi: The marketplace is flickered, at times I get lots of requests for Dice Towers or Movement Trays or Storage Systems. I don’t have enough market history yet to do any trend mapping. I sell a lot of dice towers during the Holidays, a lot of trays during Regional’s, and then storage system sales increase after the Holidays.
What is your favorite accessory that you make?
Levi: Design is what I like to do best; so my favorite accessory is coming up with new projects. In fact, that’s a weakness of mine. I have designed and built many more projects where only one gets built.
Do you do custom work or take requests for something to stock?
Levi: Yes, I do custom skins on many of my products (dice-towers, movement trays, storage units, movement markers, dice) and I also do custom scratch work. My rates are driven by the usual factors such as design time, material cost, amd product time, but I give discounts on the marketability of the project.
I make an FMTG storage case that was a customer request. The project should have been close to $100, but it had marketability, so I did the project for $50.00. I currently set said item for $50 on my Etsy shop.
How often do you design and add new items?
Levi: As needed/requested or when orders are slow. I build everything on demand, my turn around time is 3-5 order to ship
What tools and equipment do you use?
Levi: I am currently running 2 Universal Lasers, but I have a large compliment of support equipment (woodworking, paint booth, sandblaster, 3d printer). I have invested a lot into my equipment.
What games have you been playing lately?
Levi: Since I work in a game shop and live over a game shop I have plenty of opportunity for gaming:
RPG– Deadlands, D&D 5th ed, Shadowrun, Hackmaster online w20d
Miniature– 40K, Flames of War, Airdrome 1.0, D&D, Imperial Assault
BoardGames– we have 1200 library games.
Electronic– Civilization, Galactic Civilization, X-Com, Windward
What do you do when you aren’t making amazing dice towers?
Levi: I’m a lone wolf, coupled with the fact that I’m the boss/owner; I can come and go as I please. So, I travel in my Kia Soul conversion camper (kayak, bicycle, 5’8’” bed, attached canopy, off grid solar power, 12v refrigerator, lights, fans, low voltage charging station). So, travel, camping, cycling, and kayaking.
Levi is currently on a well deserved break after hitting GenCon, but can be found at this fine location:
Spaghetti & Meeples was able to play test Kaiju Conquest awhile back. It was just standees and home printed materials back then. Warren is looking to step things up so he can get review copies into the hot little fists of board game taste makers. Take a look at his Go Fund Me and see if you might want to help. The early stages of the game had some issues, but Warren has made changes and we are excited to see what’s next!
From The beginning the intention was to create a tribute to the 100 year commemoration of this battle. Also, it is a great theme to start a our Historical series of games. Verdun truly is a very important battle, so we decided it was the first of this series.
What is your design process?
Honestly, it was a very big problem because we were trying to design the game using photographs, but that didn’t work out. Then we illustrated them one by one, and that presented it’s own challenge because of the amount of illustrations needed, and some of the small lettering on the cards presented a printing issue, but researching the design of the newspapers of the time, we were able to reach the final design of the cards and successfully distribute it to many people here in Colombia. The result was incredible. We had to learn how to do sculpting to get the design of the ammunition tokens. We got the molds and produced all the tokens for the first edition, and we have the new mold for the second edition since the first sample is a little more complicated to produce and is the best that is the same material.
What are the challenges in marketing your own game?
The First is arranging payment for the games, internally in Colombia it is easy, but at the level of foreign countries it’s a very big problem because currently we can only use PayPal and to withdraw money is a big problem with banks.
The Second big problem is sending the games. Although it’s relatively inexpensive, it presents many problems with the arrival time. One game has taken longer than 70 days to get to one customer. That one still hasn’t been delivered.
(editor’s note: this was the copy Brandon purchased for Spaghetti & Meeples. Currently our copy is languishing in customs in Florida with neither the USPS nor US Customs able to locate the package. Runica Games has offered to replace our copy at no additional charge.)
What experience do you want players to have when they play Verdun 1916?
Like me, I want people to enjoy the game, just as they would any other game, but like everything in the world is always going to get good reviews and bad, constructive or destructive.
Where can one buy their own copy of Verdun 1916?
Only through mail order: firstname.lastname@example.org. Some people message us on Facebook as well.
What was your best experience in developing Verdun 1916?
The best was the first test of Verdun 1916, because I tried it with my 9 year old nephew. He crushed me and all my troops in seconds, lol, and the best part is there is video on our page of that game.
What do you like about gaming?
What strikes me is the way people care about different games.
What is the gaming community like in Bogota?
In general the Bogotana community is growing and it is thanks to people like Daniel Zarama and Juan Carlos Goyes who have generated spaces and who help grow the hobby. They meet weekly in various areas and have gatherings of about 100 people per week in all these places.
Will you have other games coming out?
Of course, at this moment we are working on Dead Road, a survival game set in a zombie apocalypse and we are also working on Empyrean, a space battles game.
What are your hopes for Verdun 1916?
Right now we are creating the crowdfunding project for Verdun 1916 on Verkami, and we hope that it will succeed so that we can keep living our dreams!
Do you have a website, Facebook, or other places on the internet that people can keep up with Runica Arts?
Of course, you can follow us on:
Location – US
922 N Killingsworth St. , Portland, OR 97217
Store Hours – Pacific Time (US & Canada)
Due to Brandon currently being neck deep in Student Teaching we were unable to do a video review as we intended. Instead, please enjoy this old timey textual teleplay script and do your own reader’s theater at home!
Brandon: You probably shouldn’t be playing Pawns.
Brandon: Pawns is a game wherein you control cute, but disgusting, little military men and try to destroy your opponent by farting on them or vomiting on them, only not really.
Tarehna: It’s pronounced “PONES” you dilettante!
Tarehna: P-W-N-S is pronounced “pones”. Like “to be pwnd”.
Brandon: Like your mom’s friend, Pone?
Brandon: That doesn’t make a lot of sense. You see I have these military men and they are like under my control and stuff. That makes them my pawns.
Brandon: Anyway, you have this board. Do we have a picture? And then you have these terrain tile thingies you put on the board, and then you place your pawns..
Brandon: …pawns on the terrain tiles. Not in the water though. You can’t really swim and if you get pushed in the water it hurts. Like you fell from a great height or had the wind knocked out of you, but then you got back up. Go ahead and put your Pawn…
Brandon: Exactly! Put your…military men on grass, dry grass, dirt, ice and fire. No! Not the fire. Fire bad! Then you have these cards you can play to attack or defend or heal. All this kind of stuff. Like, you can use a dead rabbit slingshot, or a dead rat slingshot, or a smelly bag of smells. It’s kind of a lot of gross stuff. One pawn…
Brandon: That bit keeps on being funny. One of the…dudes…is named Queasy. There’s this whole potty humor component, but it doesn’t run all the way through. There’s one card that’s just called “Reflector”, not potty humor at all.
Tarehna: Your point?
Brandon: Other than this review has gone on for awhile without saying much? This game was kind of blah. The components are nice and the look, feel, and theme are all solid and work together but it’s just kinda…
Tarehna: Awesome? Yes. I know! This game has “Leaky Bag of Leftovers” and “Scary Mask” and is 2-4 players. You’re not just moving your pieces and playing cards and having some sort of board game version of magic. There’s strategy; especially when you have four players. Sure you could just attack and hurt an opponent, or you could use the aforementioned “Scary Mask” and knock an opponent into water, fire, or even into the path of yet another opponent and start a fight between them. Did I mention that the terrain tiles allow for you to use different setups so you don’t all fall into the same ruts of attack and defend this way or that on this specific part of the board?
Brandon: I think you just did.
Tarehna: Go me! And, as you mentioned, the theme is cohesive and solidly put together. So, given all that, why do you think people shouldn’t play it?
Brandon: Oh I do. I had a lot of fun with this game. So did our friends. But Awry Games should really redo that instruction manual. How some things resolve was a little unclear and visually it’s a lot of boxes. Also, I’d prefer if the different characters had special abilities. I don’t get naming all of them if it’s just for flavor text.
Tarehna: Like King of Tokyo?
Brandon: Totally like King of Tokyo.
Tarehna: But other than those minor things you liked it and would play it again and would recommend that other people check it out.
Tarehna: You mean “totes”.
Tarehna: So if you like it then what’s with all of that rambling you did up above?
Brandon: Cheap literary device! You’ve been pawned!
Brandon: Always funny.
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